TAUNTON Town are currently riding high at the top of the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division South table, in their first season at that level.

But they would not have reached this point without their support, particularly from the volunteers who give up their time to help the club prosper on and off the pitch.

Nathan Smith spoke to Kevin Sturmey, club chairman, and Dan Franklin, bar manager and kit man, to get a behind-the-scenes view of the club.

When asked what sets Taunton apart from other clubs, Sturmey said: “Ultimately, all the directors and volunteers are fans, so we all support the club from the terraces through to the boardroom.

“All directors have a role on match days, and we are certainly not here to be waited on with prawn sandwiches and vol au vents!”

Still, the responsibility carried by Sturmey and his fellow directors is a great one, with Non-League football clubs living a hand-to-mouth existence financially.

He said: “In 2009 we set up a group called the Management Committee which became the Development Committee.

“It was about 15 of us and we knew the club was struggling, so with [then chairman, now president] Tom Harris' blessing, we set this up and I became chairman.

“We helped raise money, did some sponsorship and generally tried to improve the club but we didn't know how much debt there was and how much trouble the club was in.”

Two long, and financially rewarding, FA Cup runs in the last three seasons have certainly helped get the club on an even keel, but there is no doubting the hard work put in by the directors and volunteers to get to this point.

When asked about the experience of being chairman, Sturmey replied: “It’s hard work but enjoyable!

“I am very competitive and I believe anything is achievable with hard work and perseverance, and sometimes you have to think ‘outside the box’ to achieve success.”

Franklin has been involved with the club for about four years now, having come down to the Viridor Stadium almost by chance.

He said: “I first came down just as a supporter, walked past one day and saw a match on, really enjoyed myself and went to more matches.”

On a match day you will see many volunteers keeping everything running smoothly – so why do they do it?

“You put a lot of hours in, but it’s purely through passion for the club,” said Franklin.

“It’s a very family-oriented club, people do stuff just to help each other out, and that’s the main reason.

“It’s [match day] a really good, friendly environment.

“You get the same sort of characters that have been coming here for years, and you’ll get people that have just started coming down in the last two to three seasons.”

Sturmey added: “For fans, it's a great atmosphere with ages ranging from toddlers to people in their early 90s.

“We feel we are inclusive and hope everyone feels comfortable regardless of age, sex or race.”

Taunton Town are always looking for more volunteers – see the club website for details.

With the Peacocks’ home match with Beaconsfield Town, scheduled for this afternoon, being called off due to a waterlogged pitch, their next fixture is against Harrow Borough, again at the Viridor Stadium, next Saturday, December 8 (ko 3pm).