As proud sponsors of AFC St Austell, AvantiGas had a bigger presence than usual at Saturday’s home game against Newquay, thanks to a ‘personal appearance’ by a 15-tonne LPG tanker driven by footie fan Dave Gilbert.
AFC St Austell play in the Premier division of the South West Peninsula League and we wanted to make a gesture to signal our sixth season as one of the club’s main sponsors – so Dave’s tanker seemed the most visible way to do it.
Club Chairman James Hutchings said: “Dave is a regular supporter and he’s there for most games along with his son Ryan.”
Dave (far left) is pictured next to James along with his truck, flanked by the entire First Team squad and club physio Lauren Lyndon-Hill before Saturday’s match, which St Austell won 2-1 after a Newquay own goal and a late penalty.
“It was a bit of a scrappy game but we got the right result in the end,” said Dave. The sponsorship deal first started when Dan Nancarrow, the son AvantiGas St Austell depot supervisor Tony Nancarrow, was First Team Manager of the club. It has carried on for six seasons so far, making AFC St Austell the longest-running sponsorship arrangement in the company’s history. “AvantiGas is very generous with what they offer to AFC St Austell each season,” said James. “Everyone at the club is very grateful for what they do for us. The support we get from the AvantiGas team is second-to-none and the company has been tremendous in helping us to continue and develop as a Premier Division football club.
“As the main first team sponsor, the AvantiGas sponsorship goes into the club generally but also goes a long way towards renewing the kit each year, so it does allow us to have one of the nicest kits in the range. The players and management always look very smart and more and more people are recognising the brand and their association with AFC St Austell. The future of the football club is looking very bright and we all look forward to continuing the positive link we have.”
AvantiGas Brand and Marketing Executive Abi Martin said: “The tie-up with the club has been a great way to give something back to the community where we have so many customers and it has coincided with a run of real successes for the club, so we couldn’t be more pleased.”
The 2014/15 season was arguably the most successful in the club’s history, winning the South West Peninsula League Premier Division with three games to spare, achieving a run of 24 consecutive victories in all competitions and retaining the Cornwall Senior Cup. The Lillywhites – the club’s nickname - also reached the Semi-Final of the FA Vase after facing higher league opposition in every round of the competition from Round 2 onwards.
Facilities at Poltair Park have been improving in recent years too, enabling the club to meet the criteria for their league and the stringent standards required to play in national competitions such as the FA Vase and the FA Cup.
“We also have plans to further develop the ground over the next few years, said James. “It’s a case of continuing development as a club. We’ve got a very good player base to choose from at the moment. We’ve got an excellent first team as well as a reserve team with a very high level of quality where players are continuing their own personal development with some now becoming regular fixtures amongst the first team. We like to promote from within and to give our reserve team players an opportunity to progress.”
James was a player for the club’s reserve team himself until injury cruelly cut short his playing career. He joined the club’s committee to stay involved and two years later, in 2010, he was elected chairman, a post he has held ever since.
“I think I was one of the youngest football club chairmen in the country when I was first voted into the role – I was only 25, and here we are seven years down the line and I still have the same passion for the club as I’ve always had. I had some good people around me offering support which was a huge help, particularly from club people who wanted a younger generation to take the reins and steer the club in a fresh direction.
“I will always be grateful. It really has been a team effort all round. Results haven’t been quite what we would’ve liked at times this season, but you can’t have the rub of the green all the time.
“We’ve been really unlucky at times but things are certainly on the up now. The new management team are implementing their own style which the players are reacting well to, and there’s a real positive buzz around the place. The club’s in a good place and the future is certainly looking bright for us and everyone connected with the club.
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