FA Cup spotlight leaves ambitious Ruislip team dreaming of more glory

FA Cup spotlight leaves ambitious Ruislip team dreaming of more glory James Boyes Flickr

By Bradley Hayden

The boss of Ruislip-based side Wealdstone FC has spoken of the club's great desire to reach the conference and become a full-time outfit – and admitted they would love more of the spotlight after their FA Cup exploits.

The team, which plays home games at Grosvenor Vale, is having a difficult season so far, with manager Gordon Bartlett describing it as his toughest yet. But that isn't stopping the club dreaming of more.

He said: “Hopefully, over the next couple of years, once we secure the lease on the new ground which is very important to us, our ambition has got to be to become full-time and go into the Conference, because so many teams at our level are now full-time and financially, we are quite a long way behind.

“Our ambition is not only to consolidate as a Conference South side. We want to then lay the foundations so that we can push on and hopefully become a Conference side and that’s what we’ve been trying to do, certainly during my tenure at the club. We’ve always tried to build some solid foundations for the next step and we continue to try and do that. But we need to secure our Conference South place, before we can push on. It’s massively important to us.”

The Stones boss said: “It is difficult because of the financial restrictions, but if we can keep having cup runs like we have done and hopefully win a couple of games, it could stand you in very good stead for the future.”

His team's recent FA Cup match against League One side Colchester United thrust them into the media spotlight, with BBC One show Football Focus presenting live from the ground before extended TV highlights later that day. A number of national newspapers also reported on the game.

Despite slumping to a 6-2 defeat, in which Bartlett believes his team didn't do itself justice, he said that the club would dearly like to experience a taste of the big time again.

He said: “We would love to but the only way that we are going to get the spotlight like that is by being successful on the pitch. From my point of view, that’s got to be our number one aim.”

The Stones are 16th in the National League South, with 19 points.

Bartlett said: “I can honestly say that this has been the most difficult season since I’ve been a manager, due to outside influences. It’s made it all the more difficult because of people being unavailable and things like that through no fault of their own. It’s been incredible. We’ve had injuries, players in intensive care and work commitments.”

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