By Jonny Bray

Workington Reds chairman Phil Norman hopes a wide array of exciting initiatives and the thrill of promotion can inspire a new generation to visit Borough Park.

Norman has been a supporter of the Reds for 45 years and is hoping to bring down average age of the club’s crowd following promotion to the Pitching In Northern Premier League Premier Division.

They earned promotion by defeating Runcorn Linnets 2-1 in extra-time of the Northern Premier League West play-off final, which was played in front of a crowd of 2,506 at Workington’s long-serving home.

And, ahead of their opening game of the new season against Ashton United this weekend, Norman hopes the new initiatives will keep the Reds on their upward trajectory.

"We are trying to bring a new generation of football supporters in,” he said.

"We celebrated our centenary last year. It was supposed to be during the Covid-19 pandemic, but we celebrated it last year by providing every junior school kid in the area with a free pass to get in.

"I think we could see our fan base was potentially getting older, so we wanted that new generation involved and engaged.

"Hopefully some of those kids that got in with the free pass will still be coming when they're 17, 27, and 37, etc.

"That is how most of us who are here now started."

Norman was a director for three and a half years before becoming chairman just over a year ago.

News and Star: Danny Grainger led Reds to their first promotion since 2005Danny Grainger led Reds to their first promotion since 2005 (Image: Barbara Abbott)

Workington's promotion under Danny Grainger last season was their first since 2005, and now the former Football League club are looking ahead to an exciting campaign amongst high-profile opposition.

"We are optimistic, we finally got our promotion after coming close for a couple of seasons," he said.

"We have been targeting this for five years at least.

"Geographically, we are a little bit isolated, but we will have our fixture against Macclesfield, and we are looking forward to playing FC United, who we have come across before.

"We came very close to beating Macclesfield on two occasions last year so we certainly hope we can hold our own against them this season."

Norman is proud to play such a key role at a club he has supported since he was a boy and is one of a loyal band of volunteers who act as the unsung heroes behind the scenes.

Opportunities to get involved at non-league clubs across the country are available to discover through the Pitching In Volunteer Hub and Norman hopes a new fanbase could also lead to an upturn in those willing to help out.

"I wanted to get involved because I am a lifelong supporter," he added.

"I saw an opportunity to do it, I was asked to help, and I did.

"I used to come with my dad, he brought me as a child when we were a football league club."

Find volunteering opportunities at your local club by visiting