Bright future for Mossley

NEW Mossley chair Stephen Porter believes a bright future lies ahead for the Lilywhites.

“The long-term plan and vision is to play one league higher than we are now, may be two,” explained the 52-year-old who described being “humbled and honoured” to be elected to the post.

Mossley AFC interim chairman Stephen Porter

Mr Porter, who believes the club has the infrastructure in place to bring success to Seel Park, added the immediate priority is to get through the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We were lucky to have seven consecutive home games and most were 400 sell-outs. The income should enable us to get through this turbulent period,” he said.

Mossley has prided itself on being a club at the heart of the community which Mr Porter is keen to continue, adding growth has to be sustainable and matched by income increasing.

Though Mr Porter becomes Mossley’s third chairman in 12 months – fourth if you count Callum Irving’s spell in interim charge – he maintains the club is stable at boardroom level.

Gary Dean left because his business was expanding and he was spending time overseas, successor Ray Moreland, who lives in Shropshire, stood down because he was past retirement age and he is still a senior partner in a Stoke-on-Trent criminal law firm and Mr Irving again ruled out taking the job because of work and family commitments.

After having a brief stint as interim chair, Mr Porter was given the job permanently following a board meeting.

Mr Porter, who has been following the Lilywhites since the late 1970s, said: “If you’d told me as a nine-year-old when I stood on the Seel Park terraces cheering on my heroes that one day I’d have the opportunity to be chair of Mossley AFC, I’d have thought you had lost you mind.

“But here I am, Mossley born and bred, and now in that post. I feel extremely honoured and humbled by the private messages, emails, texts and phone calls saying I was the right man for the job and the club will be in safe hands.”

Mr Porter, who was raised on Back Cecil Street and went to Livingstone Primary and West Hill High School, was a regular with brother Christopher from the late 1970s and for the glory years under Bob Murphy.

His father took him and his two other brothers, to Wembley in 1980 to watch Mossley play Dagenham in the final of the FA Trophy.

Mr Porter, a business development manager for a Blackburn-based company, admitted he stopped watching Mossley for a spell when he had a season ticket at Manchester United.

“I became disillusioned with the Premier League, the money at that level and being just one of a number and returned to Mossley,” he said.

Mr Porter, who lives on Stockport Road, was invited to join the committee about a decade ago and was put in charge of matchday hospitality.

He was invited on to the board of directors several years ago with the remit of deal with sponsors and to build relationships and partnerships with local companies.

Mr Porter, who is married to Andrea and has two daughters and four grandchildren, is delighted to have Mr Bull alongside him as vice-chair as they are friends as well as both being junior coaches at Micklehurst Cricket Club.

Mr Bull, 38, a qualified accountant, works as a consultant in business and finance.

He has lived in Mossley for more than 10 years and initially went to games simply as a new-found fan.

“There was a vacancy for a new finance director, and I had a chat about that role and was invited to join the board as a director,” he explained.

Mr Bull also spoke of the dynamics with the new chair, continuing: “Stephen and I have a good working relationship and speak to each other regularly.

“We bounce ideas off each other as well as challenging one another. And we both have the interests of the club at heart.

“Across the board, we have local business owners and senior people in business and a good mix of skills to help move the club forward.”

Mr Bull, who lives in Bottom Mossley with wife Carly and children George, 10, and Matilda, 8, was born in Nottingham and is Forest fan.

He grew up in Bournemouth where he watched the Cherries when they were a team languishing in the lower divisions.

After studying at university in Hull, he moved to Manchester for work.

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