AS his takeover of Rylands FC nears its completion, Paul Stretford has assured everyone involved with all aspects of the club that he is in it for the long haul.

Sports agent Stretford, whose clients include former England captain Wayne Rooney, has overseen an improvement in the facilities at Gorsey Lane by upgrading various aspects of the ground.

The 59-year-old, himself a former Rylands player from the 1970s and 1980s, says he is not allowing himself to get too excited just yet but says the greater club community, including Rylands Sharks ARLFC can “absolutely bank” on his full support.

“It’s taken me two years to get to this point,” he told the Guardian.

“I’m not in the business of taking two years to get somewhere before throwing it under the bus.

“What I would say, though, is that it is not just about me. It’s about the community supporting it.

“As long as I get the support back from the community, then they can absolutely bank on my support.

“I’m excited about the opportunity, but we have to make sure everything is right.

“We’ve been given the green light by the club committee and the trustees of the club. That was the most important step.

“There are some things that we now have to put in place and we need to make sure that is done the right way.

“That will all take another four weeks or so. Once that’s then completed fully, then I’ll allow myself to get a bit more excited.

“As a former player, it is great to have the chance to put something back in and get the place back to its former glory.

“It’s extremely important to me that the rugby team are a part of this.

“They had a national league team only a year ago, which unfortunately had to disband as they weren’t certain on the facilities.

“I’m hoping that, by doing what we’re doing, it gives them an opportunity to get back to that level.

“It’s only by having a greater sporting and social community that the facility will fulfil the potential it has.”

Recent improvements at Rylands Recreation Club have seen a seated stand, turnstiles and changing facilities established.

The club are also in the process of undergoing construction work for standing areas on all four sides of the ground, while floodlights are also hoped to be in place by the start of the 2018-19 season.

Further in the future, Stretford says it would be “a dream” to take Blues into the Football League, seven tiers above the Cheshire League Premier Division in which they currently compete.

A more immediate aim, however, is to successfully apply to join the newly-expanded North West Counties League for next season.

On that front, Stretford says all they can currently do is wait.

“We’re reliant on getting the appropriate sign-offs from the powers that be,” he said.

“We needed to make the right improvements to the facilities, which we have done, and we’ve made adjustments that need to be made.

“We have to wait on them now. We’ve done as much as we can do.

“To go from where we are to the Football League is a massive, massive stride, but that’s what dreams are for.”

Warrington Town, four tiers above Blues, are currently the town’s highest-ranked football team, plying their trade three divisions below the Football League.

Stretford hailed the work Yellows have done as “absolutely magnificent” but says Rylands may be better placed to provide Warrington with a Football League club in the future.

“I wouldn’t be disparaging of Warrington Town in any way, shape or form,” he said.

“What they have done, and continue to do, under their management is absolutely magnificent.

“I don’t think it would be any bad thing for the town in general, however, to have two clubs with the same aim of playing as high up the pyramid as they possibly can and creating that competition.

“Within that, may the best man win.

“Warrington Town are of course the higher level team, but the opportunity that sits within Rylands is a better one purely because of the facilities and land that’s available to develop.

“That isn’t within the gift of Warrington Town.

“I would say that Warrington Town, in its current ground, isn’t capable of becoming a Football League club.

“Someone has to go and make a big change to how football is put on in this town for that to happen.

“It would need the support of not just people like myself and the community, but also the council, the parish councils and local MPs because these things don’t happen out of thin air.

“This town is capable of hosting professional sport. Warrington Wolves are the pinnacle of that.

“If you look at this town, the majority are playing football and are leaving the town to go and watch other clubs like Liverpool, Everton, Manchester United and Manchester City.

“There is a population there that wants the best football it can get.”