First Division South promotion chasers Rylands FC have made an excellent start to their inaugural season in Step Six, as the club looks to grow under ownership of Wayne Rooney’s agent, Paul Stretford.
Since recently re-acquainting with his former club having played for Rylands during the 1970’s, Stretford has invested into the Warrington-based club and helped secure their spot in the Hallmark Security League First Division South this season.
It’s the first time in the club’s 107-year history that Rylands are competing at this level, and 11 wins from their 15 league matches this season is an impressive way to assert their presence, making chairman Mark Pye very happy.
He explained: “The club is blooming at the moment. The first team managers Stuart Wellstead and Dave McNabb are absolutely fantastic.
“The first team coach Fraser Ablett is another great lad who’s brilliant to work with. I hope they stay with us into the future.
“Paul is really helpful too. Obviously, he’s a busy man, but he’s always there and provides us with support and guidance.”
The league’s top scorers also have a formidable goal difference of 35, having netted three goals or more in all except one of their wins this season and boasting the division's joint-best defensive record.
However, Pye expressed the importance of the club keeping its feet firmly on the ground, despite being top of the league by one point.
He stated: “We are just trying to grow at our own pace. We are not putting any pressure on ourselves as everyone is relaxed and enjoying it - that’s the environment we wanted to create.
“The first team are fantastic, supported by the reserves and under-21’s. We are doing really well, but also making sure that we take each step at a time.
“We said from the beginning that getting into the North West Counties League and establishing ourselves is the priority this year.”
With the current successes in Step Six, there is a promising future awaiting Rylands, which is something firmly in the minds of everyone at Gorsey Lane.
Pye added: “We are a community club and pride ourselves in recruiting kids from the local areas that could play for us. We are trying to home grow the players through to the first team.
“Since I took over two years ago, we’ve grown from just two senior squads to a variety of teams across different age groups. We are getting a lot of interest with junior players coming in their numbers, so it is all going well.
“The overriding ambition is to progress up the leagues, but it will take as long as it takes. We want to avoid doing anything rash and suffering for it later on.”