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EXCLUSIVE: Glenn Tamplin, Billericay Town and his Football League Dream

Glenn Tamplin wants to take non-league Billericay Town to the Football League.

The club's enigmatic owner has recruited the likes of former West Ham United defender Paul Konchesky and ex-Tottenham midfielder Jamie O'Hara to try and take the Essex-club to heights nobody could of imagined six months ago.

A self made millionaire, who generated his fortune through a successful steel business, Tamplin had been searching for a club to call his own for sometime - 18 months to be exact - but none seemed to match all of his criteria.

"Either the fans weren't alright or the club wasn't alright or the percentage of ownership wasn't right," Tamplin told Tribalfootball.

"When I went to Billericay [Town], the price was right, the area was right, the fans were right, everything was right. It just seemed the right place to to go at the right time."

Billericay - a town with a population of close to 28,000 - was soon taken over by what Tamplin calls a 'revolution'.

Since Tamplin's takeover in December, the support from the local community has grown at a rapid rate, which is something the 45-year old wasn't expecting.

"It has surprised me. I went into Billericay to improve it and to maybe get crowds from 200 to 400, 500 to maybe make the budget for the team from 2000 to maybe 3500 to 4000, to sell a few more beers and get a better atmosphere and that was pretty much where i was going with it," explains Tamplin.

The motivation for Tamplin to become an owner of a football club, other than for leisure, was his love for football and his disillusionment with the business that he believes has taken over the top professional leagues.

"One thing that people get wrong in non-league football, in any level of football, one thing that chairman and owners get wrong, is they [forget] the club is only as successful as the fans," claims Tamplin.

"So, I had a fans forum and what I said to them was look, you give me a pound of your flesh and I'll give ten pounds of my flesh, but if you just take, take, take and give me nothing, I will give you nothing and this club will be back where it was six months ago. So I made it very clear what my intentions were.

"Well, the fans have given me ten times what I ever thought they would, we've gone from a fan base of 200 to 2000 in just four months, and for this level, at non-league football, is crazy.

"Now they've got all of me. I went into the football as a hobby to start with, but now it has consumed me. I'm at the club seven days a week, probably eight hours a day and it has got all of me. It has got every part of me."

The money that Tamplin has injected into the club is unrivalled in the Isthmian Premier League, which lays seven leagues below England's top flight.

The former Leyton Orient youth player speaks passionately about the club's new shops and revamped New Lodge stadium; all improvements that Tamplin believes will elevate the club into another sphere above other non-league clubs.

"We have posh supermarkets and cheap supermarkets in England. A posh one would be something say like Marks and Spencer, and a cheap one would be something like Iceland. We also get one's called Waitrose, Sainsbury's and Tesco, which are sort of middle of the road.

"So what I've said is, every non-league club is Iceland and every premier club is Marks & Spencer, and I'm going to create a Sainsbury's of non-league football and that's what I've done.

"I've taken off the middle and people are saying its better than the Premier League because we've got six shops, we've [got a] food court with 8 different cuisines and a 150 seat restaurant with roof terrace to watch the game.

"I've ripped up the rule book of non-league football and done it to a high, high level. So what my passion is, what my drive is, I'm making this so 4000, 5000 people can come out [to watch Billericay] and to build the community. We're getting the whole community together and galvanising it."

The investment off the field has been enormous, but it's the investment on the field that has attracted the attention of the national media, most notably, the signing of ex-Premier League players, Paul Konchesky and Jamie O'Hara.

The decision on whether to sign Konchesky - who has played for Liverpool, West Ham United, Fulham and Leicester City - put Tamplin at a crossroads on what the future of Billericay would be.

"Paul trains down the same gym as I do and he mentioned to me about Billericay, and [he asked me] how's it going and I said yeh good and he said I'm leaving Gillingham, and the wages he was asking for were quite scary," says Tamplin.

"That's when I had to make a decision. Am I going for league one for pro football? Or am I just going to sit down here and improve things a little bit?

"And once I made the decision to sign Paul and pay him his wages, that was when I knew I had to go all out. Someone like him you either take on and you go for it or you don't.

"All of a sudden I'm paying someone £150 to paying them £1000, £2000. It's a big difference for one player because then what happens is you've got to go get similar players too him because its no good just having him in the team."

Then there was O'Hara.

The former Tottenham midfielder last played professionally for Gillingham before being released from his contract prematurely due to injury.

The 30-year old, who had stints with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Blackpool and Fulham after leaving Spurs, has credited Tamplin with allowing him a platform to reignite his footballing career.

Speaking to the Independent after playing for the Blues in March, O'Hara expressed his delight at being back playing football: "I still believe that I can play in the professional game. But this is an opportunity for me to show people what I am about, to show I am still committed to football and that I want to play. It is just good to get back out on the pitch."

Tamplin was connected to O'Hara through part owner and TOWIE star Mark Wright.

"It was very obvious that he [O'Hara] wanted to get back into football, he was looking for a route in, he knew was unfit and he knew he wanted to become fit," says Tamplin.

"I love his attitude, his attitude was fantastic and I could soon see from talking to him [that he was committed]."

Unfortunately for Billericay, their injection of talent wasn't enough for them to clinch promotion last season.

However, in April, the club won their first ever Isthmian League Cup - now known as the Alan Turvey Trophy - when they demolished Tonbridge Angels 8-3 in the final.

For next season, Tamplin is dedicated and determined to get his club moving up the leagues.

"I've already got my squad a 21 man squad [for next season]," Tamplin explains.

"The betting people have made us 10-1 on to win the league. Its never been known in any football club. Thats horrendous.

"Its because I've signed 7 or 8 extreme good players captains and leaders from two levels up. What I've gone and done is, I've gone and got players from League Two and the National Conference League. so it's two or three levels up and I've gone and got the best players at those levels.

Can Billericay go into the Premier League one day?

"I know my limits," said Tamplin. "I think I could get us to League One, comfortably. If I wanted to take it on, I'd need a backer, somebody who has multi, multi millions."

About the author

Freddie Taylor

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