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WATCH Curzon CEO explains reasons for leaving the club
Wednesday 10th January 2018 @ 13:44 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Curzon Ashton Football Club have announced that CEO, Natalie Atkinson, is set to leave the club this month to join Southport FC.

Natalie joined the club 18 months ago and has helped it to grow from strength-to-strength, raising the club’s profile within the community through several forward-thinking initiatives.

In a bid to entice the next generation of supporters to the Tameside Stadium, Natalie launched a ticket initiative over the summer of 2017, where every child under the age of 11 with a Tameside postcode could gain a free season ticket for every league home match in the National League North for the 2017/18 campaign.

What’s more, Natalie, who previously worked for the Manchester FA, also helped the club gain national acclaim during the FA Cup adventure in 2016.

Although it ended in disappointment in the cruellest of fashions against AFC Wimbledon on BT Sports One, Natalie had nothing but positive things to say about the journey.

In fact, she says it ranks in her top five memories at club. She said: “To be part of that FA Cup journey, I can’t tell you how tremendous it was.

“Even though we lost in those last few minutes, I will never forget the build-up.

“We worked incredibly hard to put on a show – yes, BT Sports helped in providing exposure and helped us move forward as a club – but I just hope they can go on that journey again – and I hope I’m on that journey with Southport.”.

Having created such brilliant memories in such a short period, why is Natalie leaving the club? She said: “It’s been an incredible place to work with incredible people, and I’ve really grown to love Tameside, but it’s a huge challenge for me personally in my career.

“Southport want to go places, and it’s a great time to be part of the club.

“It’s a statement of intent, employing manager Kevin Davies, and it’s a great leap forward in employing another CEO at the club, so I just hope we can replicate what I’ve done at Curzon and help them move forward.”

Natalie admitted that the prospect of working alongside Davies, a former England and Bolton Wanderers striker, was exciting on a personal level. She added: “The exposure he’s had within the higher echelons of football can only support what we want to do at Southport, so to be guided and to be part of his vision of the squad going forward, is really exciting for me.”

During her period in charge at the Tameside Stadium, Natalie has undoubtedly put Curzon on the map.

And while she will leave with a smile on her face, she does have one last issue to deal with.

Commenting on the latest developments regarding the artificial pitch at the Tameside Stadium, Natalie said: “It’s being heard by a panel on Thursday in London.

“It’s a nervous 24-48 hours for the club. It’s nervous for me personally, because I want to leave knowing I’ve secured that grant for the club.

“Everybody has worked so hard to achieving this, in raising the partnership funding, putting the business plans together, and it will be a great legacy for me, personally, but it will also be great for the club to have a new fantastic facility.”

Natalie’s last game in charge of the club arrives on Saturday, January 20 against Kidderminster Harriers at home.

Ironically, Kidderminster were the same team Curzon played during her first day in charge.

She is hoping for one final victory on the day – not just for herself, but for the loyal band of supporters who have helped her on her way. She said: “A huge thanks from the bottom of my heart. It has been one of the best jobs I’ve ever had, and I want to say a huge thanks to everyone for their support.

“They’re a great bunch of supporters who are very loyal to the club, and I just hope that continues.”