OUTGOING Poole Town chairman Clive Robbins says successor Chris Reeves is taking over with the club "on the verge of the big time".

Robbins, who, along with dad Arthur and former vice-chairman Reeves, rescued the club from liquidation in 1991, is stepping down after 26 "bittersweet" years, saying it is time to allow somebody else a crack at the top job.

His remarkable tenure has seen the club promoted from the boondocks of Hampshire League football right up to National South, where they finished fifth last term.

All this has been achieved against the backdrop of Dolphins' ongoing fight to find a home to call their own after being kicked out of Poole Stadium in 1994.

Now settled in their Black Gold Stadium, which underwent a significant facelift during the past season, they are poised to continue their rise under boss Tom Killick.

Robbins told the Daily Echo: "I have done it long enough and I felt the time was right to give somebody else a crack.

"Chris has been an absolute star, working with me over the 26 years. He was keen to put his own stamp on the club and I had no objections to that.

"It is a poisoned chalice in a way, because we have had so much success and now Chris has to replicate that, which is probably unfair on him because he has been partly responsible for that success anyway.

"We have had many years of slow reconstruction and Chris is taking over the chairmanship just as we are on the verge of the big time. That will be difficult because the next jump is huge."

Robbins is convinced Poole would have scaled even greater heights had his gang of three not assumed control with the club in such dire straits.

"It felt like a disaster when we went down to the Hampshire League in 1996," says Robbins, who will remain a director and shareholder of the club.

"But we had to do that to get back up again. Then we found Tatnam and appointed Tom and those things were the catalysts for our success.

"It is bittersweet, really. If we had put the same effort into, say, Dorchester or Weymouth, then we would be much higher up the ladder than we are.

"But you play with the cards you are dealt and that was the position we were in at Poole."

Robbins cites the multiple promotions under Killick as his most treasured memories, his only regret being that dad Arthur was not around to witness his beloved club really take off.

"Those nights of celebration were the highlights," he says. "And seeing the delight on my dad’s face after a few of the early successes. He was the main architect of keeping the club solvent.

"He died 12 years ago and our success effectively started then, which he would have found quite humorous. He loved the club and he loved the town.

"I have loved it, too, and I will continue to love it."