Magpies’ legend Barnes buzzing to be back as Dereham Town chairman

Simon Barnes, pictured in 2003, has returned to the Aldiss Park hot seat. Picture: Graham Corney.

Simon Barnes, pictured in 2003, has returned to the Aldiss Park hot seat. Picture: Graham Corney. - Credit: Archant Ltd.

Magpies' legend Simon Barnes admits he is excited by the prospect of being Dereham Town's chairman again.

The club stalwart has replaced Mike Baldry at the Aldiss Park helm after he called time on his three-year spell in charge for personal reasons.

And Barnes believes it will be business as usual as he steps into the hot seat for the first time since 2010.

He said: 'I'm coming in to help the club out for as long as it takes to find the right person to take the us on again.

'It could be a year, or four or five years, but the main thing is to keep that stability with everything that is happening. Who would have thought 25 years ago that Dereham would be where they are now on and off the pitch? It's an unbelievable achievement.

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'I know everybody as I'm a regular down the club. I know all the players and Matt (Henman, first-team boss) and I have a brilliant relationship. I've always been at the end of the phone and I'm ready to just step in and take on the title of being chairman.

'I'm excited. We had an excellent committee meeting and most of the sponsorship opportunities have been filled, which is tremendous news for the club. Hopefully we'll have more news on that front in the next couple of days. Everything is so, so positive I'm just looking forward to it. I've got a little bit of that buzz back again and I can't wait for the season to start.'

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Barnes played for Dereham in the 1980s and has also managed the club. He was chairman for five years, from 2005, before taking a break. During Baldry's tenure he was also vice-chairman for a year.

The Town chief returns with Dereham's first team plying their trade at their highest-ever level of the non-league pyramid – Step Four.

The reserves are also playing in the Thurlow Nunn First Division while an exciting under-18s team, and new scholarship scheme, are set to provide another pathway for more exciting homegrown talent to progress.

'Matt had a five-year plan and he's met it,' said Barnes.

'We now probably need a season or two of stability on the pitch as there's a lot going on behind the scenes.

'We've got one of the best grounds in the county but we will need to do a little bit of work to it. The Academy will be marvellous and it's a great thing for the town.

'A lot of lads have progressed through the ranks into the first team and we want that to continue. But we do need the people of Dereham to come out and support the lads.'

The club have also announced they will have three season ticket options next term. A first-team season ticket (£160 adults, £80 concessions, under-16s and over-65s, 23 fixtures), a reserve-team season ticket (£60 and £30, 19 matches) and a combined one (£200 and £100, 42 games). They guarantee admission for league games. Match prices for the 2013/14 campaign are as follows: First team (adults £8, concessions £4), reserves (£4 and £2) and under-18s (£3 and £2).

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