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Welling will bounce back from Dartford defeat - club secretary

PUBLISHED: 16:16 17 May 2012

Welling players collect their losers medals

Welling players collect their losers medals

Archant

Welling United will bounce back and overcome the disappointment of losing the biggest game in their recent history, says club secretary Barry Hobbins.

Barry, whose father Sydney founded the club in 1963 as a youth team for him and his brother Graham to play in, thinks the club’s future is secure despite missing out on a financial windfall.

Loyal fans

Victory would have seen them move up a division into a national league but they lost by one goal to local rivals Dartford in the Conference South play-off final on Sunday.

More than 1,000 loyal fans travelled to watch the team at Dartford’s Princes Park ground.

Bary, 69, said: “Spending another season at this level won’t hurt because moving up to the Conference will be a big jump, in terms of quality and everything else that comes from playing in a national league.

“A lot has changed in the 12 years since we were last there so if we can get promoted next season hopefully we’ll be more prepared.”

Welling’s Park View Road ground would have been the third smallest in the Conference and the majority of teams in the league are professional.

Barry praised the support of fans and reflected on the future as Welling head into their 50th year.

They were deducted five points and given a transfer embargo in 2010 due to financial irregularities but fans put their hands in their own pockets to save the club.

Barry said: “Since our problems at the start of last season the club has been completely transformed, both on and off the pitch.

“The fans raised £90,000 to keep us going and the club is well set up for future generations.”

The head of the supporters association, Matthew Mein, said United have a bright future after the club became a community interest club, effectively giving fans a seat on the board.

He said: “The club could have gone out of business without the fans and we’ve turned over a new leaf.

“Everyone has had to pull together and the journey we’ve been through both on and off the pitch has filled me with hope for the future.”

However fan Gary Mullan, 38, of River Drive, Strood, said of Saturday’s result: “It’s very disappointing and I think the team might disband. League clubs have been after our players.

“We’ve given this season a go but Dartford were stronger.

“It will be disappointing not to have that local derby next season.”

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