Harrogate Railway Athletic’s new manager Brian Davey says that the club will face a “massive challenge” to stay afloat in the NCEL Premier Division next season.
The Starbeck outfit expected to be playing their football in Division One after finishing the 2017/18 campaign in the bottom three, but they have been handed a reprieve and no longer face relegation.
Tenth-placed Rainworth Miners Welfare opted to take voluntary demotion, meaning that the Railwaymen retain their spot after ending up the highest of the three sides in the Premier Division drop zone.
“It’s going to be hard work and a massive challenge, but we’re all up for it,” Davey said.
“We’re starting again from the bottom and although the committee have been working very hard to try and get some money coming into the club, we’ll have probably the smallest budget in the division.
“You only have to look at the three sides who have come up to realise that there will be no easy games next season in such a competitive league, however we just have to do our best to try and get this club moving in the right direction.
“We’re going local and want Harrogate lads in the side and people from the area coming to games and through the door of the clubhouse. We want to give Starbeck a team it can be proud of.”
Railway chairman Mike Edwards said that he was delighted that the club had retained its Premier Division status and backed Davey to get the Railwaymen back on track.
“Obviously we’re very pleased, this is the league we want to be playing in,” he said.
“The news came as a bit of a surprise because the FA had said that there would be no reprieves this time around, but it was them who took the decision rather than the NCEL.
“Probably the best thing about this situation is that we now have two big derby games with Knaresborough Town to look forward to. It’s been some years since we’ve played in a compeitive fixture against a local rival. It will be great for football in the area.
“Brian has a big job ahead of him, but I know he’s the right man for the task. He’s very well connected, he knows the players in and around Harrogate and he knows all about this league.
“His phone hasn’t stopped ringing since he took over. There are exciting times ahead.”