Altrincham FC has announced it is to become a full-time professional club for the first time in its 131-year history.
The Robins, currently 14th in the National League with three games remaining, announced the move will take effect from the 2022-23 season.
Hailing a “new era” for the club, Co-Chairman Bill Waterson said: “As the most successful part-time club ever, we are always striving for success both on and off the pitch. We have bold and ambitious plans to grow and shoot for success – Alty leads the way, you win the day!
“In Phil Parkinson and Neil Sorvel, we already have great leadership on the pitch. However, what we’re asking our players to achieve on a part-time basis is becoming more and more challenging.
“With access to a high-level training facility from next season, we feel that now is the time for full-time and this is a massive step in the right direction, not just for the Club but also for our community as a whole.”
The move has been a few years in the planning. Parkinson, who has been at the helm since April 2017, was last summer appointed as the club’s first-ever full-time manager.
And in 2018, the Robins announced plans to become a full-time club “when the time is right” after admitting it was the only realistic way of getting out of non-league football.
Lawrence Looney, Co-Chairman of Altrincham Football Club, said the club would now be appointing its first ever CEO to ensure it has the “right infrastructure and leadership in place now, to enable our future growth”.
“We’ve done an incredible job over the past few seasons and things will continue to be challenging as we strive for success,” he added. “We’ve brought in new investments and developed relationships with businesses across our community to ensure we were in the best possible position financially to make the decision to go full-time, at the right time.
“Thanks to the continued loyalty and dedication of our fans, players, sponsors and incredible team of volunteers, we remain a robust and financially stable Club. Our destiny is in our own hands, and we owe it to our fans to take it to the next level if we are to push boundaries and reach our ambition of being promoted to the English Football League. We look forward to welcoming supporters from near and far as we continue to grow.”
“The move to a full-time model means that some players will be unable to make the transition due to other commitments and as a result, our playing squad will evolve. The management team has a plan in place to strengthen the squad ahead of the new season and the Club looks forward to keeping supporters updated as this process continues.”