Brayshaw up to the challenge at Boambee
By GREG WHITE
AFTER a four-year grooming process, Neil Brayshaw is on the verge of his most exciting football challenge.
The former Korora captain and Coffs United Lions star will be figurehead of the new Boambee men's team, aiming for a maiden season in second division.
"It will be the end result of a heck of a lot of hard work," Brayshaw said. "But like anything created from scratch, it will be worth it."
Brayshaw's backstop is Gordon Barton, a figure in the game for whom he has enormous respect.
"Without Gordon, I may not have got involved.
"He's got rare vision and is close to the most outstanding man I've known through football."
Barton's regard for Brayshaw is mutual.
"We've spent four years working together and Neil is someone who'll graduate from top line player to great coach," Barton said.
The Eagles have always had strength in junior and women's competitions, but without a senior men's grade have watched their graduates drift off to other clubs or out of the game entirely.
While the ultimate target is premier league, both Barton and Brayshaw agree short-term goals must be realistic.
"Three years at least till we contemplate the top level, and that's only if what we are planning now is achieved," Barton said.
At the age of 37, Brayshaw's passion for football remains as strong as ever.
Still, it's no certainty he'll be a player for the new outfit.
"I'll have my boots and if they need me, I'll be available," he said.
"The core group of players are likely to be aged between 16 and 20, plus some who've been out of the game and are looking to return.
"It's those who I'd prefer to be wearing the shirts on game day."
Brayshaw is also enthused at the prospect of Ayrshire Park developing into a major football venue.
"The new lighting will allow night games while I hear moves are being made to lengthen the pitch.
"There's talk of renovations to the canteen and new seating.
"With Boambee a population growth centre it makes sense that football should help guide the way in developing the region."
The master and student are into solid planning for the new venture.