Sharpe upbeat on the blues

Wingate & Finchley chairman Aron Sharpe believes that the club is heading in the right direction following major changes implemented over the past 18 months.

Since taking over from Mark Martyn in November 2006, Sharpe has overseen a new board of directors, new management and coaches and a new style of development.

"We have been stagnant for many years and I hope over the next few seasons we can really drive the club forward," said Sharpe. "At the heart of our plan now is to create an infrastructure that would allow for players to come from within our development scheme and drive the club to higher success.

Criticised in some quarters for lacking Jewish representation, he said: "Although there are not as many players in the first team squad as there were, there is still a strong hub in the team.

"We are at the level where you need to have not only talent but the strength and dedication to play. Although we have some great Jewish players, there are fewer who are able to compete at this level. Many find it very hard to marry their studies with the time needed to train.

"We are now really trying to invest in the youth development. Next season, for the first time in the club's history, we will have youth teams at Under 14 and Under 16 who will compete in a senior club league.

"Within these teams we have the future of the club in our hands. Amongst these are many Jewish boys who will, with careful development, be playing at a level that they have not previously played. The goal has to be to ensure they reach the levels of former players Sam Sloma and Paul Hakim.

"I hope the community can take pride in the fact that a club like ours has Jewish boys playing at this level. The club are fully committed to ensure we uphold a sporting environment that produces not only Jewish kids to play at a high level but all creeds and colours, and that most importantly they play at a level in harmony together."

The chairman has also spoken about the Wingate's forthcoming pre-season friendly against Barnet at the Abrahams Stadium on July 29.

"The clubs have drifted apart over the years but manager Michael Stone has built a great relationship with counterpart Paul Fairclough."

    Last updated: 4:53pm, March 2 2009