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 Post subject: Billingham Town: The Revival
PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 6:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:23 pm
Posts: 143
Billingham Town Chairman, Paul Beddow has been instrumental in the clubs dramatic change of fortunes over the last nine months. The clubs crest contains a ship carrying the flag of St Cuthbert but not everything has been plain sailing for Beddow or for the football club during that time. Back in March, the club were on the brink and treading water and at the time of writing - Billingham Town sit top of division two of the Northern League. How did this transformation come about and what are the long term objectives of a club who celebrated fifty years of existence in 2017 and yet came close to extinction in 2018?

Paul arrived at the club in 2016, ostensibly as the reserve team manager and also because of his son, Elliott who plays for the first team. However, the clubs fortunes took a drastic turn for the worse due to the mismanagement of the previous regime. The Billingham Town Supporters Trust, led by former club volunteers Neil Martin and Graham Hutchinson with further help from fellow supporter Anthony Shannon wrestled back control and they had only one man on their list as a future Chairman - Paul Beddow. However, the clubs finances made grim reading but there was a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Supporters had raised £5k in sponsorship money in an attempt to keep the club afloat but it would require a strong individual and a committee who could not only stay in existence but compete on the football pitch.

Paul Beddow was unanimously voted in as Chairman and wasted little time. A chief Superintendent of Durham’s Police Force, a force that has been universally acknowledged as well run, put his skills to good use. Unifying what had become a fractured club, Beddow worked hard in bringing in new investment - notably from Hartlepool’s Drive Vauxhall and other much valued sponsors. With a limited budget, Beddow decided to bring back former manager Barry Oliver who was a former fans favourite along with Paul Edwards as joint the managers. The results so far has seen a renaissance in form. By the beginning of November, the club were top of the league and unbeaten in fourteen games. The club were even able to attract Craig Hutchinson who had scored 59 goals during season 2016/17.

Ultimately, Beddow wanted to make sure the club was made secure long term. And plans are in place to obtain grants so the club can make continual ground improvements for the benefit of the community. The clubs support has gone up by 92%, thanks in part to the success on the pitch but also off it. New supporters such as Johnny Drummond have used twitter as a driving mechanism to garner new support and the club are reaping the benefits. Children under the age of sixteen get into games for free and the club now has more volunteers than ever before. The clubhouse, invariably is packed after games and its function is available to the public.

The club is in a healthy state and well placed for promotion. There is still a long way to go, but clearly, without Paul Beddow there wouldn’t be a Billingham Town Football Club in its current guise and also to its volunteers and supporters who all rallied round in its time of need. FAITH is the clubs motto - faith was enough to get through those dark days. Thankfully, the club is now ran on solid foundations and the flag of St Cuthbert still flies in all it’s glory!



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