MALMESBURY Victoria manager Wayne Kibble has paid tribute to the role the local community played in helping his club safeguard their future.

The Vics came within a whisker of going out of business last season after months of flooding at their Flying Monk Ground ravaged the club’s finances, pushing them to the edge of ruin.

Malmesbury subsequently opted to drop down from the Hellenic League to the Wiltshire League, with former player Kibble stepping up from his job as reserve boss to replace departing manager Gareth Davies.

And new chief Kibble is sensing a bright future for his team, who are enjoying an old pal’s act after a host of local ex-players returned to the club.

“We couldn’t let a club with a history of 100 years plus go bust, so dropping down from the Hellenic League was the only way that we could carry on,” said Kibble.

“That was a shame but if we have a few good seasons in the Wilts Prem, who knows – we might well be able to go back up because we’re only one level away.

“I’ve got to say that the local community have been fantastic with all of the fund-raising events that they’ve been a part of. There have been all kinds of outside events going on over the summer and I think that things are looking really positive for us now.

“We’ve had to get a brand new side together this season because of all of the players that left but it’s actually been a good thing for us because now we’ve got a team made up of local Malmesbury lads.

“A lot of ex-players have come back to the club, like Sam Jenner, Jordan Mathews, Paul Bains, Ant Brown and Max Sparrow and it’s good because they’re all friends and a lot of them spend all of their time outside of football together.

“Having a local team there is great for the supporters because we’ve got families coming along to games to watch brothers, uncles and nephews.

“I’m from Malmesbury and I’ve been involved with the club for 25 years, so it’s good to see.”

Malmesbury open the new season on Saturday with a home clash against Shrewton United.

In order to retain its Step 7 status within the National League System, the Wiltshire League will be running a single division this season, comprising of an increased compliment of 18 teams.

Last season’s Division One champions Melksham Town Reserves have been promoted alongside Wootton Bassett Development and Sarum Youth while Westbury United Reserves and Trowbridge Wanderers have come up from the Trowbridge & District League.

The league have established a new five-team U21s Division and taken over the running of the Thursday night U18s Floodlit Division.