Chichester City are pleading with the local business community to help them put the club back on the football map.
They’re on the brink of a new era after rebuilding behind the scenes and preserving their Sussex League first-division status.
But now they need city-area firms to boost their bid for success.
They have written to scores of businesses offering them the chance to put their names in the hat to be their main shirt sponsor for just £100.
The idea of a sponsors’ draw is growing in popularity with non-league clubs - it’s something the Rocks have done up the road for some time. It is a way of attracting sponsors without asking for huge amounts of cash from any of them.
Vice-chairman Sean Forry said: “Instead of the usual sponsorship packages that have been sought in the past, we have decided to offer all of our senior men’s opportunities on a prize-draw basis, with each entry costing the sum of £100 plus VAT.
“The first prize will be the full sponsorship of the senior club with additional prizes made up of supplementary kit sponsorship, advertising boards, programmes, website, matchday and player sponsorships.
“All entrants will, at the least, have their name acknowledged - in the local press, matchday programmes, on shared signage within the ground and clubhouse, as well as on literature produced for any extended community activities.
“Two passes will also be issued, per entry, for free admission to senior men’s home matches and there will be opportunities to use club facilities at discounted rates. All entrants will also be invited to attend a mid-season networking event.
“Such a draw will, we believe, provide the opportunity for many more mutually-beneficial partnerships to be developed with more modest sums of money than traditional arrangements.”
Forry said officials were hoping for a good take-up of places in the draw.
He tells potential sponosrs: “I hope that, once you have seen where we have come from, what we are doing and what we intend to achieve, you will come to the conclusion that this draw represents a cost-effective way to link your business to a worthy community asset and, at the same time, put your name in front of a large, diverse audience.”
The deadline for firms to enter the draw is Wednesday, June 26. All entrants will be invited to a draw night at the Oaklands Way club in July.
City are one of England’s oldest established clubs with nearly a century and a half of football behind them.
The current ground and clubhouse facilities were finally completed in 2010 but, because of a number of well-publicised problems, the club have since struggled to survive in a period which has seen strained relationships with the local authorities and the Chichester community at large.
But Forry said things had changed in the past 18 months and now, with the clubhouse up and running, a new board of directors in place and all sections of the club united, there was a common and shared commitment to the vision of providing football opportunity to local people of any age, gender, race, ability, health or wealth.
He added: “Our relationship with Chichester District Council is repaired ... and direct links have been formed with Chichester’s University and College. Indeed, many of our players, staff and board attend or work in these institutions of education.”
There are five senior clubs playing at Oaklands - the men’s first team, who are looking forward to another season in Sussex division one, a development Ssquad in the Suburban League, the under-18s in the County League - they have been champions for the past three seasons - plus Chichester’s two ladies teams, with the first XI playing in the third tier of the national league.
The youth section contains 12 teams, featuring boys and girls aged six to 16.
Anyone wanting to get involved in the sponsors’ draw can email Sean Forry at firstname.lastname@example.org