In less than 100 days Worksop Town have gone from a peniless club facing disaster, to an exciting fan funded outfit.
While there are still uncertainties about what the future – and the organisational structure – of the club will look like, it’s a good time to be a Tiger.
In the 13 weeks that have passed since owner Jason Clark announced he was no longer funding the club, the fans, local firms and Worksop residents have rallied to save the day.
A #Team500 Club initiative was set up, with members paying £200 to get a season ticket, and a host of discounts and benefits from local businesses.
To date, 314 memberships have been sold, and along with sponsorship deals, around £75,000 has been raised to allow the world’s fourth oldest club to continue their rich history.
The plight of the Tigers captured the imagination of Worksop’s most famous of exports.
Lee Westwood stepped forward to sponsor the new shirts.
Former England boss Graham Taylor, professional footballer Ian Bennett and golfer Mark Foster all signed up to the #Team500 Club.
And with money in the bank to cover the overheads, bring out a new kit, and sign a squad of footballers to wear it, Tigers took to the field on 9th August in their first ever NCEL Premier Division fixture.
What’s more, the young guns Mark Shaw put on the field came home from Armthorpe with three points following a 3-2 win.
But that was just a taste of what was to come, as the first home game of the season proved a glorious affair.
Almost 500 flooded through the turnstiles to see Shaw and his men stride out at Sandy Lane.
In what had the feel of a bright new dawn, the youngsters put on a show, winning a 5-3 thriller.
Regardless of what happens on the field between now and the final game of the season on 2nd May 2015, the Tigers are alive and roaring.
Thoughts are already turning toward fundraising for next season, and the one after that.
The club plan to develop their links with local businesses, schools and sports clubs – in order to carve out a permanent place for themselves in every day town life.
The club has been saved, in the short term, and now plans need to be put in place to build an organisation that can stand the test of time.
It will take hard work and more local support.
In the weeks to come, there has to be a new board put in place, with a substantial fan representation.
Although Clark is no longer putting in his money, he has retained his majority shareholding, and his involvement needs defining – clarity and transparency is the only way forward for Tigers.
Strong leadership is needed – all the ideas and fundraising strings must be pulled together and channeled.
But today the Worksop Guardian salutes those who secured a spot on the #Team500 Roll of Honour, and everyone who has worked so hard to ensure Tigers didn’t go quietly into the night.
Here’s to the 153rd and 154th year of Worksop Town Foootball Club, and many, many more.