Shawbridge re-shuffle sees Paul Atkinson jump on board with the Blues

Interim chairman Lee Sharples (left) welcomes new commercial manager Paul'Atkinson to Shawbridge.
Interim chairman Lee Sharples (left) welcomes new commercial manager Paul'Atkinson to Shawbridge.

Clitheroe Football Club have appointed Paul Atkinson as new Commercial Manager.

Atkinson joins the Blues as part of a re-shuffle on and off the pitch designed to make the club more competitive in the Evo-Stik West Division.

Atkinson – a former deputy head teacher who now runs his own sportswear firm in the town – will be looking to increase commercial revenue and foster more of a community spirit behind the Shawbridge-based club.

He has previously been heavily involved in transforming the fortunes of Clitheroe Cricket Club, the former Lancashire League champions whose support and revenue streams have soared in recent seasons.

“The cricket club has become very successful and we will be aiming to do something similar at Clitheroe Football Club,” said Atkinson.

“I’m very excited about it and I see incredible potential. As far as I am concerned, the only way is up.

“I’ve already had a lot of interest from businesses in the town, who are keen to get involved, and that’s something I want to grow.

“It’s important to get the town and the community behind the club and make it a place supporters – and their families – want to come and watch football.

“As it I see it, bringing in more money leads to success and that’s what we want.”

After spending 26 years in teaching, Atkinson set up JPA Sports – supplying sportswear, workwear and school uniforms – in Clitheroe with business partner John Wharton.

He has also forged closed links with Blackburn Rovers, setting up business group JPA 90 MINUTE Group to provide business and sponsorship opportunities with the Rovers’ Academy set-up.

Atkinson’s appointment follows changes at board level and behind the scenes, with Lee Sharples set to formally take over as Clitheroe chairman, while ex-Lancaster City boss Phil Brown has been appointed as the Blues’ new manager.

Former Lancaster City vice-chairman Mark Knight has also joined a new working group, while there have been changes to the club’s media and communications set-up.

“I’d like to welcome Paul on board and look forward to the positive impact his presence in and around the town will have,” said Sharples, whose position is set to be confirmed at the club’s AGM on June 13th.

“We need the people of Clitheroe to know that the club is here for them and we need their support for us to take the next step.

“Some I spoke to at the back end of last season had fallen out of love a bit with the club, due to poor playing performances and a lack of communication.

“We are addressing both of these issues with the people we are bringing into the club and, as well as improving the team’s playing fortunes, we very much want to re-connect with Clitheroe.”