CHAIRMAN David Faulkner says Redditch United’s financial ability to secure the futures of skipper Tom Rankin and fellow key man Kieran Day is a sign of the club’s growing support base.
Manager Matt Clarke is delighted to have the beating heart of his midfield tied down on contract after the pair signed on contract for the 2021-22 season.
And the Reds chairman Faulkner feels it’s a reflection of the growing feelgood factor at the Trico Stadium.
“We are delighted to be able to reward Tom and Kie with a commitment from the club,” he said. “Both were fantastic for us last season and I am very happy to be able to have them with us as we aim to build again.
“This is a reward for our supporters too. Securing them on a contract for the season shows our commitment to stability but this commitment had to come from our support first. Our gates last season and the fact we have already sold 100 season tickets for the coming year enables us to be able to make decisions like this.
“With the town behind us we can continue to grow.”
Rankin, aged 25 joined the Reds in 2019 from Bromsgrove Sporting and has become an ever-present in the Reds’ revival. One-time Cradley Town player Day was one of the finds last season, stepping up from Step Six and forming an influential partnership with Rankin.
“I think it’s really positive, handing contracts to Tom and Kieran. They were both mainstays of our success last season,” said Clarke.
“Tom has been here for a long time now and really epitomises what Redditch is all about.
“With Kieran, when I first walked into the building, I had never heard of him! Within about a week I could tell he was going to be very important for us. He’s progressed, got better and better and he is now a top player at this level”.
On Saturday, Redditch will be hoping to see more evidence of the burgeoning support when it opens its doors for Freedom Day for the pre-season friendly against former boss Darren Byfield’s Walsall Wood. Admission to the family day is free, with a bouncy castle, ice cream stalls and bars. Gates open at 1pm, with the match kicking off at 3pm.
The Reds heads into the tie with last season’s FA Vase semi-finalists after a narrow 2-1 defeat at Romulus on Monday and a 1-1 draw with Hereford last weekend.
The match at Roms’ Castle Vale home was marred by a serious injury to Reds F&E Scholar Jordan Kondo, who had to be taken to hospital.
Redditch struck first on 32 minutes with a trialist slotting home from a Dan Sweeney free-kick but Roms levelled on 54 minutes through Jonathan Haynes. Moments after the game restarted after Kondo’s injury, the hosts grabbed the winner with Trea Bertie’s powerful shot.
On Saturday Curtis Hutson’s late equaliser earned Clarke’s men a deserved 1-1 draw against Step Two Hereford.
The Bulls had broken through in first half injury time after Luke Haines turned the ball into the net from Toby Raison’s knockdown from a corner.
But Redditch looked the more likely scorers in the second period, Chay Tilt firing over and Hutson missing by inches, but the latter got his reward five minutes from time with a low shot past the keeper.