RADCLIFFE chairman Paul Hilton has revealed his big ambition is to turn the club professional.

After a season of success, culminating in promotion to the Evo-Stik Premier League, Boro have already added Danny Mitchley and Lanre Olapade to last season’s squad and re-signed key members such as Ben Wharton, Rick Smith and Scott Metcalfe.

Refurbishment work continues at the Neuven Stadium to improve the matchday atmosphere for supporters, and Hilton believes the progress currently being made on and off the pitch could make pro football a reality in the not-too-distant future.

Salford City’s meteoric rise was accomplished with a major financial benefactor, while FC United could bank on boosted support, which enabled them to move into a purpose-built stadium via a share scheme and fundraising.

Boro are aiming at taking the same route as their local rivals, and Hilton sees no reason why they cannot give themselves a boost with back-to-back promotions.

“The challenge is now to plan for next season, making sure we are as competitive as the last eight months. We want to take this club professional, as quickly as possible.

“And I say that with no ego, it’s just that the opportunity is here if we build it right,” he said.

“We have to build it organically. Let’s be clear, we are not Salford (City FC), we aren’t FC United (of Manchester). We haven’t got those little bits and boosts that they had – plus all the little niches like money or a cause to build with that speed.

“We’ve been building this project for the past few years, organically, and were going to carry on doing that.

“One thing for sure is that we aren’t going to just sit in that Premier Division and try to stay in it – I tell you that now. We are going into that Premier Division to try and win it.”

Hilton feels there is a demand for football in the town, which has been proved by rising attendances at the stadium last season.

“Radcliffe is a town of 35,000 people and that for me is a good set of people,” he said. “We are right in the heart of the community. The first thing we identified all those years ago was that we can be the thing that the town can shout about, but it’s going to take time.

“The reason why is that we were in decline for a long time. The people who were and still are here have done a great job of keeping this place (Boro) afloat. We had that chance to turn it into something good, and together, that is what we have done – and continue to do.

“There is an on-tap resource here, and we believe we have really woken it up with the things we are trying to do.”