Grantham Town this week welcomed Paul Hardy to the boardroom as a non-executive firector.
Paul is a locally based solicitor who has an indirect contact with the board in that, along with director Michael Bird, he is connected to Bird & Co.
Paul was approached by Grantham Town’s former chairman Barrie Pierpoint to take on a role to develop the youth side of the club, together with the MCS Centre. Both areas are ones where Paul has some knowledge.
Paul said: “My son, Christopher, currently plays for the under-18s. He was with the under-12s a few years ago. That youth structure fell apart and he played for village sides for a few years. Now he has rejoined the club and hopefully will be around for a while. I want to do what I can to build some stability with the new structure.”
The emphasis of the club on the youth structure is something that Paul said he sees as being important to the whole future of the club, off the pitch as much as on it. The wider aspects of involving youngsters in the town with the club cannot be underestimated in his view.
He said: “We need to get the younger generation involved at Grantham Town. They are future supporters as well as players after all. The board sees youth as an important factor in the club and a big part of our integration with the community.
“It is a blank piece of paper as far as the development activities go. It may lead to an Academy, but I will be looking at short term, medium and long term goals together.
“I want to build a solid sustainable foundation that will be a legacy for Grantham Town.”
Youth football is only part of Paul’s new role. The MCS Centre is seen as crucial to the future of the club and Paul will be taking on the role that Matt Smith filled last season.
Paul said: “I am associated with the Grantham Business Club and will be looking to work with colleagues there to increase use of the MCS Centre.
“It is an under-used resource and one of the best in town. We definitely need to make the most of it.”
Keith Horton, CEO of Grantham Town, commented: “I am extremely pleased to welcome Paul to the football club and look forward to working with him over the coming months.
“The club is fully committed to integrating the youth set-up into the club and developing the number of teams at all age levels, from under-12s through to the under-21s.
“The future of the club is dependent upon a successful youth programme.”