Five years ago the future looked bleak for Hoxne FC.
The club had been relegated to Division Three of the Suffolk and Ipswich League, but off the pitch things were even worse - with just £12 in the bank and debts closing in on £1,000
But all that has changed over the past half-decade, thanks to a fantastic team effort.
Although Hoxne may remain a few quid behind Manchester City, the future looks bright for the club both on and off the pitch, with the first team challenging near the top of Division One and the bank balance a whole lot healthier.
“When I came in the club only had £12, and some rather large debts,” explained first-team manager Jamie Scales, who has since led his side to two promotions.
“On the pitch we started flying, but there were still a few financial problems.
“So we decided to start fundraising.”
Driven on by reserve team manager Ben Wilby, the club began hosting a series of events in the community to swell the coffers - including race nights, poker nights and bingo.
This new-found income helped Hoxne’s teams pay for the basics such as pitch hire, but as the club continued to rise through the divisions, off the field costs continued to mount.
In order to compete further up the footballing ladder, the club needed to invest in many of the things a number of clubs take for granted, such as new showers in the referees’ room costing £600, new dug-outs costing hundreds of pounds, £500-worth of goal nets and even a ride-on mower to ensure the turf was at the standards the club wanted.
So Hoxne decided to begin offering local business the chance to advertise themselves by sponsoring hoardings round the ground.
After some initial interest, chairman Paul Chapman began weaving his magic and a total of 15 sponsors can now see their names proudly displayed at the ground, with the aid of firm Sign It Designs, who put together the boards at cost price.
On November 14, the club held a sponsors day to pay tribute to those businesses who have shown their support to the club, prior to a 5-2 victory over Old Newton United.
“It’s been a great team effort,” Jamie added.
“The people at the club when I got there were all great people, and others have now come in from then.
“Looking around the ground was a proud moment. It looked fantastic.”
Tomorrow (Saturday) the club will hold another race night at Roydon Village Hall.
Doors will open at 7pm.