Football: Bowers looking for footie fanatic to take over his Dominoes legacy
STONE Dominoes are looking for a new chairman to continue one of the most remarkable success stories in non-league football.
The club celebrate their 25th anniversary this year, having been originally set up by Bob Bowers so his son, Daniel ,and pals would have a team to play for.
From youth football, Dominoes climbed the FA ladder and have been in the North West Counties League for the last 13 years.
Bowers stepped down as chairman in 2005 and current incumbent Phil Bath is also ready to relinquish control if the right person can be found.
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Now Bowers is hoping someone will fancy taking on a club whose former youth players include Stoke star Andy Wilkinson, ex-Crewe and England striker Dean Ashton, former Port Vale captain George Pilkington and Everton and Plymouth striker Nick Chadwick.
He said: "I feel I have done my bit and Phil Bath has also been a hero, but the club needs support now and I am hoping some local football fanatics will step forward.
"We need a chairman, someone who will buy into the ethos we have here.
"At this level it costs £20,000 to run a North West Counties side, even if you don't pay wages. Kits, referees and transport all add up.
"But I would have loved it 20 years ago if someone had said to me, 'here's a club, for £20,000 a year'."
Instead, Bowers, did it the hard way, setting up the club from scratch and developing the Springbank Park ground at Yarnfield.
He paid wages to players towards the end of his time as chairman, but then decided that went against the community ethos of the club.
He said: "I paid wages for two years, but it turned me off. I felt it didn't fit the club's Corinthian spirit.
"In the end it was a question of paying wages to 20 people or making sure the whole community had a stadium and facilities to be proud of. It was a no brainer."
The 62-year-old will remain the owner of the ground, which is to be renamed Wellbeing Park this summer after his family's new health, nutrition and fitness business.
Bowers sold his previous business, Springbank Vending, in 2008.
He said: "I bought the land for the ground from Lord Stafford and have put £1.5m into it, which I don't expect to see back.
"But the population of North Staffordshire supported us by buying our services for years, so I feel I am putting something back.
"Now we have a beautiful club house, floodlit stadium and training arena.
"We give the whole facility free of charge. The only rental is paid to groundsman Dave Rhodes so he can maintain the wonderful pitches he produces."
The 26-acre site is used by six different clubs, including 18 junior teams.
Bowers added: "Around 40,000 people used the facilities last year. It is a field of dreams. We built it and boy did they come."