Drayton Grange Football Club is now a community club, providing football and special oppurtunities for junior and senior male players, disabled players and junior and senior female players. It is a combination thet led to the club achieving FA Community Charter Status in December 2003.
Keith Spires, of the Ladies and Girls section at Drayton Grange said: "The club achieved the Community Standard in December 2003, 12 months after achieving the Development Standard. This took the club two years from the outset after starting down the trail of the normal club Charter Standard."
"It soon became very clear that the club had everything in place toachieve the second stage (development level) and was only going to be missin gthe girls and ladies section to gain full Community Standard. It was testament to the club as a whole, that people like Ken Barton, who had built the club on very firm footings, already did everything the FA wanted. It was just a matter of getting it down on paper to show how good we were."
"The Northants Football Association were surprised that we met all the criteria as no other junior club met these and, as far as I am aware, still do not in the county. Myself, Paul White, Phil Macefield and a few other people helped provide the push for Charter Status."
"Phil and Paul had all the informtaion. Paul and I attended the meetings and wrote the action plan, filled in the paper work and put it all together, turning it into a package we could present to first the committee and then to the FA. Achieving Charter Status is just the first hurdle, maintaining it for the coming years is now the next challenge." Keith said: "We now have to maintain the standards we have set out."
"This includes finance, facilities, development, behaviour, child protection, first aid, coaching, developingequal oppurtunities and discipline within the club. The last is not easy for a big club, as it includes every person in the club from the five-year-olds to thier grandparents. Temas have lost their Charter Standard through indiscipline."
"We have to reapply for Charter Statusevery three years. We have to prove our action plan and all the other things that we say we do." With only five clubs in Northamptonshire holding the Community Standard, Charter Status brings a number of benefits to Drayton Grange."
Keith said: "Benefits include discounted coaching courses, some free coaching ads, some free tickets for minor England games (ladies, U18, U19 etc), access to information at the Charter Standards meetings. We have failed to utilise the full benefits of the Charter Standard because we do not have our orwn facilities such as people like Woodford, who have their own ground and have received grants of hundreds of thousands of pounds to improve facilities and equipment."
The focus now is on the future of Drayton Grange and talk has turned to links with feeder clubs or other established senior teams in the town. Hieth said: "A feeder club is unlikely but not out of the question. Strong links with a senior club is a definite yes as this is part of the action plan which we have not yet fulfilled and the FA will look at thiswith our renewal. We need to give exit routes to clubs of a higher standard for the more talented players and we started talks with Daventry Town FC, but that fell through due to the uncertainty over thier future."
There is also a fear that a move into senior football could be detrimental to the foundations on which Drayton Grange was built - providing football oppurtunities for the town's youth. Keith said: "The club as a whole are very good at providing football for younger children, however there is a feeling that as weget into senior football, it could be detrimental to the junior side, with the seniors becoming the focus and not the younger ones."