Harrogate Town have announced that the Vanarama National League North club will operate on a full-time basis from the start of the 2017/18 season
Simon Weaver’s men narrowly missed out on a place in the final of the National League North play-off’s in 2015/16, and as such, the decision has been made that going full-time will help the club achieve its ambitions going forward.
Weaver believes the decision gives his side the best opportunity of progressing, regardless of what division we are in next season: “We are moving into a new era for the club and we strongly believe that now is the right moment to announce our intention to go full-time. We have spoken about if for a while, but now we have the infrastructure in place to make this step up.
“We already have a professional mindset here, and I want every player to also have that mentality of being a full-time footballer.
“As a club, we have been preparing for this transition for a while and as such it is important for us to be honest and open with everyone involved as early as we possibly can. Making our intentions known now gives our players, staff and supporters the best possible opportunity to adapt and prepare for the exciting change that is ahead of us.
“All the players have reacted positively to the news, and we are confident that each and every member of the squad will remain 100% committed to the cause for the duration of this season. We’re a close-knit, ambitious group right across the club and this further signals our intent to do things the right way.
“Ultimately, there are a number of clubs at this level that are already full-time, professional clubs, and you can clearly see the benefit of working with players on a daily basis. For me, you can’t underestimate how much of a massive leap in the right direction this is for our football club.
Managing Director Garry Plant commented: “This is a big decision for all of us. We understand the impact that moving to full-time will have on players, staff and supporters but, ultimately, we believe it to be the best course of action at this moment. We knew we would have to step up at some point in the near future, and with the club now progressing in almost every department, 2017/2018 felt like a natural point to make the move. This is a major signal of intent as we welcome a new era for both our football club and for the wider community of Harrogate.
“Everybody at the club wholeheartedly believes that this is an essential part of ensuring our club achieves its goals, and that we are standing our club in the best professional footing. Work has already begun on embedding the structure required to ensure it works out. Going forward, Simon and his team will have longer on the training pitch, and the lads will be able to focus solely on being professional footballers. We are all striving for promotion, and the club wants to give Simon and his team the best possible opportunity to achieve this”.