Ebbsfleet United target Football League status ‘in five years’ after securing promotion

PUBLISHED: 14:06 16 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:42 16 May 2017

Ebbsfleet lift the throphy during the Vanarama National League South final between Ebbsfleet v Chelmsford City at Stonebridge Road (Photo by David Purday)

Ebbsfleet lift the throphy during the Vanarama National League South final between Ebbsfleet v Chelmsford City at Stonebridge Road (Photo by David Purday)

David Purday

General manager Dave Archer said the club was looking to grow its supporter base as people start to move into the nearby garden city

Ebbsfleet United are ready to compete with some of England’s biggest names after securing promotion to the top-tier of non-league football, according to the club’s general manager.

The Fleet finally clinched National League status on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Chelmsford City to banish the demons of 12 months ago when they were cruelly beaten on penalties in the play-offs against local rivals Maidstone United.

It means the club will now be just one step away from the glitz and glamour of the Football League next season, and will come up against household names like Leyton Orient, Tranmere Rovers and Wrexham.

And with substantial investment and development in the surrounding area with the Ebbsfleet Garden City and proposed London Paramount resort, club bosses say promotion has come just in time to expand its growing supporter base.

“Hopefully we’ve taken the first step,” general manager Dave Archer told us.

“It’s a little bit overdue but we got there in the end and we look forward to welcoming some big names next season.

“I always drive past the garden city and there’s something new there every day.

“With 15,000 new homes and such good travel links it gives us an opportunity to encourage more people to come and watch Ebbsfleet.”

Backed by Kuwaiti businessman Dr Abdulla Al-Humaidi - who also has his hand in the London Paramount project - the club is giving the main stand at its Stonebridge Road home a £5m facelift.

Meanwhile Gravesham Borough Council chiefs were also last night due to hear its application to renovate the Plough End of the ground, which is also set to incorporate a hotel development.

Mr Archer said he wanted to see the club break into the Football League within “five or six years” but was not setting specific targets for the coming campaign.

“You hear so many bad stories about club owners but he has been wonderful and he’s helping us generate revenue 365 days a year,” he said.

“If you are attracting young professionals you want a nice stadium and for them to feel comfortable.”

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