SIX YEARS ago hopes of seeing a Bromsgrove side winning trophies and moving up the football ladder appeared to have been dashed when Rovers went into administration.
But thanks to the backing of John Teece and a group of supporters, a new team was formed which aimed to reignite people’s passion for non-league football in the town.
Teece has since witnessed Bromsgrove Sporting rise two divisions and win the Les James Challenge Cup, but last week he decided to step down as chairman.
So The Standard’s sports editor Geoff Berkeley spoke to the 74-year-old to reflect on his time at the helm of the football club.
Why have you decided to step down as chairman?
“This is my 75th year and I am acting as chief executive officer and chairman and do all the finances, so a lot is resting on my shoulders at the moment.
“When you get older, you can’t cope so easily with your workload – you get a bit slower, so I thought that now was a good time to step down.
“I do not think I could have done another full 12 months.
“I still will be here holding the purse strings, dealing with the manager on football matters and working on the commercial side.
“But I will be gradually releasing other things to the other 12 members of the board and then at the end of the year depending on how I feel I will carry on as a director, perhaps concentrating just on the finance side.
“We need to sort out a succession plan now. There has be no one coming forward in five years, unfortunately, but this will perhaps concentrate the minds of the directors and treat it as something we need to do.”
Are you proud of what you have achieved at Bromsgrove Sporting?
“When I look back at where we came from and where we are now, we have had two promotions, a sixth place and two second place finishes and we won the league cup this year.
“So we are not doing too bad.
“We have got a good board, a good manager, we are playing exciting football and the place is up to date.
“We should not have to spend much money on it for years and we have gradually turned it into more of a town amenity.
“We have a very lively social club. We are handling a lot of weddings and funerals, so we are building it up as a source of income other than just football. We are just getting it used by the town’s people, which is what the idea was.”
How impressed have you been with how the town has embraced the club?
“When we started Sporting six years ago, we were at rock bottom and when we were playing in that first year we were going to places where there were 20 spectators and a dog, whereas we were playing in front of 250 supporters.
“Most Saturdays our gate is almost equal to the rest of the teams put together. We had two 500 gates over New Year and Christmas. numerous 300-plus gates, which is fantastic.
“I remember when we played our first game at home. It was a wonderful summer’s day, we scored seven goals and we had 500 people turning up. That was a magic moment.”
Can you think of any other ‘magic moments’?
“I don’t get terribly excited about football. I try to treat it as a business because most problems in football are caused by people being either daft or romantic.
“But I think winning the grant was a magic moment and more recently I went to the annual dinner to get the League Cup and I thought that would be a nice photograph to end the chairmanship with.”
What do you make of manager Paul Smith and his side’s chances this season?
“I am optimistic because I am a great fan of Paul.
“I wanted him badly at the ground and, fortunately, he always wanted to come badly to us, so that’s a very good marriage.
“We have also got a super bunch of lads. A majority of them are re-joining us. We have already got some new ones signed up as well, so I am hopeful that it will be a good season.
“But you just never know. There are people coming in from a higher league and there are teams come up, so you just don’t know what is going to happen.
“All you need is one millionaire to throw money at it and the most unlikely team could win.”
What are your hopes for the future?
“I am not one of those who says I expect to be in the Premier League in ten years. I am realistic about it.
“But let’s put it this way, it took Rovers 100 years to get into the Conference and they were never once demoted, so it would be nice if we could have one or two advances in the next ten years.
“That doesn’t sound too exciting, but only one team goes up of 20 or 24 and all it needs is one goal to be disallowed and you are not going up and you have got to fight for another year.”