St Ives Town chief Ricky Marheineke sets survival target as historic season starts with home clash

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke celebrates their Southern League Division One (Central) play-o

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke celebrates their Southern League Division One (Central) play-off final triumph last season. Picture: DUNCAN LAMONT - Credit: Archant

St Ives Town boss Ricky Marheineke wants the new season to go down in history for all the right reasons.

The Saints will play at Step 3 level for the first time after winning promotion to the Southern League Premier Division through the Division One (Central) play-offs at the end of last term.

A thrilling extra-time final triumph against AFC Rushden & Diamonds, in front of more than 1,500 supporters in a Bank Holiday Monday downpour back in May, is still fresh in the memory.

But much has changed in the three months since with a host of new arrivals and departures meaning a very different squad will kick-off the new campaign with a home clash against Stratford Town at ProEdge Westwood Road tomorrow (Saturday), 3pm.

Marheineke said: “Our first-ever game at Step 3 level is a big occasion for the club. Hopefully the fans will turn out in force as we will need them behind us week in, week out. We have showed we can be successful with their backing.

“Winning promotion was a great achievement and will always provide some fantastic memories, but you’re not remembered in football for things done in the past.

“It is all about the present and the future, and our aim is now to become a stable Southern League Premier Division club which grows off the pitch to catch up with the level it is at on the pitch.

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“It is probably no secret that we’ll have the smallest budget and worst playing surface in the division, but it has been a rapid rise of two promotions in four seasons.

“It will take time to adjust for a self-sufficient club that doesn’t rely on a wealthy backer pumping in lots of money.

“The goal is to get to 48 points, which we believe will be enough to secure survival, sooner rather than later and I’m confident we can do that.

“We have recruited a lot of good players who are also good people.”