PORTLAND United chairman Matt Lucas is “really proud” of the Blues’ progress this season.
Lucas has helped oversee a massive shift towards youth development as the Islanders create a pathway from Under-18 to first-team football.
This has resulted in impressive seasons for the Under-18s and the men’s reserve team, while a young and improving first team struggles in the Wessex League Premier Division.
Lucas told Echosport: “I’m really proud of everyone connected with the club.
“It is well documented that we wanted to establish a path of development within the club.
READ MORE: Portland United v Bashley – match preview
“We all know how successful Portland have been in the past, but in many ways it’s been done with an aging team.
“Like any club, we have to constantly evolve. We made a conscious decision to enter an Under-18 team and we wouldn’t be afraid to play with players from our reserves.
“It was wonderful to see so many of our players, even those who played under-16 football last year, playing in the first team, like youngster Harry Thomas, who just turned 17.
“It’s really whetted the appetite for next season that, if we can keep the core players at our club, we feel really buoyant in terms of what we could achieve.”
He added: “There is a real bond, everyone is of the same opinion, of the same opinion on what we should do at the club.
“Everyone is behind this path, there’s a great base of support and I’m loving every minute of it.”