CHAIRMAN Chris Reeves is, quite rightly, full of positive platitudes.

After all, Poole Town recently sailed through a wonderful National South season following promotion from the Southern League the previous term.

A 4-0 opening-day defeat to Ebbsfleet proved wildly misleading. With Tom Killick at the helm, Dolphins' talented squad was not only equipped to stay afloat in non-league's second tier, it was able to compete at the top end, consistently.

Getting the stadium up to scratch, on the other hand, proved more of a challenge.

Poole had until the end of March to make extensive improvements just to maintain their status. These included installing low-level terracing, re-positioning a floodlight and putting in extra turnstiles, at a total cost of around £170,000.

The newly-christened Black Gold Stadium was subsequently recommended for a category B grading, the elation of a superb achievement tempered by the knowledge the club would not compete in the National South play-offs due to a shortage of covered seating. An appeal failed.

Fast-forward to the present day and Poole are one great season – and 500 covered seats – away from the National League.

It is not that easy, of course. Aside from the considerable task of the football itself, funding that change requires careful planning and an awful lot of effort. There is no magic money tree.

The $64,000 question as the new season approaches, then, is would Poole go up if they found themselves in the position to?

"I think the answer to that is yes. A year is a long time in football," said Reeves, who recently stepped up from vice-chairman.

"If in 12 months we earn promotion, then we'll take it and I'd like to think we'd make a good fist of it. If we then got relegated from the National League, I would expect our supporters to be very respectful of the fact we gave it a good crack.

"Even then, we would be coming back to National South, a level of football we would not have dreamed possible going back a few years. It sounds negative but I'm not being negative, I'm being realistic.

"The leap from Southern Premier to National South was huge in all aspects and the jump from National South to the National League is probably even greater.

"Our players have full-time jobs. To contemplate going into the National League, they would have to be prepared to travel on Friday morning to play Barrow on a Saturday, get home in the early hours of Sunday and then possibly travel for a midweek game.

"You are up against full-time clubs like Tranmere and Wrexham who are playing in front of four-figure gates and the financial cost of upgrading our ground is huge.

"In the past 13 years, we have progressed from being not even on the pyramid to Step Two and have transformed the Black Gold from a school playing field to a Step Two football ground.

"To go to the next level demands the club is in the right state to progress. I know that's a politician's answer but that has to be the reality."

So what is the next step for a club whose meteoric rise has mirrored that of Cherries, albeit at a lower level?

"I want to make people aware of just how far we've come," said Reeves, who is hoping local businesses will take advantage of sponsorship opportunities in 2017-18.

"We started to achieve that in a meaningful way towards the end of last season, thanks to the way the team performed, the coverage we received in the Echo and the way we transformed the ground.

"When we did the pay what you like game, we had a great crowd and attendances thereafter were in the 700s and 800s.

"That was a huge step in the direction of making people aware of us who perhaps were not aware beforehand. That is going to be critical to our success going forward.

"We need the people of Poole and the wider conurbation to be aware of the alternative to AFC Bournemouth which they have on their doorstep.

"The reality is we are only a couple of decent golf shots away from the professional game. And if history is the predictor of the future, then our journey hasn't finished."