PROUD Harwich and Parkeston chairman Tony Armstrong has described the club's revival as an "absolute revelation".

The Shrimpers are back in senior football, playing in Thurlow Nunn League division one south, and kicked-off with an encouraging 3-3 draw at home to White Ensign on Saturday.

They then pulled in a crowd of nearly 300 - something Armstrong thought would never happen again - for Tuesday's entertaining 1-1 draw at home to Tendring neighbours Holland FC.

It represents a dramatic transformation for the famous Royal Oak club, who have spent recent seasons languishing in the Essex and Suffolk Border League.

And Armstrong, who says the turning point was the club's amalgamation with Dovercourt Vipers, says weeks like this one make all the hard work worthwhile, keeping the club alive during "a very dark period".

“After 20 years in the doldrums, the future of the club now looks really positive," he said.

“We’ve kept it going through a very dark period but when you see that many people at a game, you’ve got to be upbeat about the future.

“To get a crowd of 300 was fantastic, for a match that a few years ago, in the Border League, might have drawn 40.

“It’s an absolute revelation.

“It just shows that the people of the town are getting behind us and if it continues, it’s going to give us the resources to be competitive.

“It’s been lovely hearing all the comments from everyone.

“People have said how much they enjoyed it and we’ve had two games here now – a 3-3 draw and a 1-1 draw.

“There’s been excitement right until the final whistle and good quality goals being scored.

“Everyone’s going home happy and if the management and players can keep providing that level of entertainment, people will keep coming.

“I never, ever thought we’d have nights like that again.

“Obviously the gods shone on us when we were invited to be part of the new step six league (as opposed to gaining promotion from the Border League).

“But now we’ve got a structure in place and couldn't ask for more.

“We’ve just got to carry on working and improving and fingers crossed, we’ll keep moving in the right direction."

After two home fixtures, Harwich hit the road on Saturday for a division one south fixture at May and Baker.

Due to the state of the hosts' pitch, the match has been switched from their regular base at Dagenham Rugby Club to Barking Football Club.

Armstrong hopes his side can build on their encouraging start and believes there is plenty of talent and ability within the squad.

“We look like we’ve got a decent side," he said.

“We move the ball around well and have a lot of ability within the team, which means we’re going into games feeling confident we can get a result.

“Compare that to the end of last season when we were really struggling player-wise.

“(Former manager) Glenn (Eldridge) did a good job for two years on a zero budget but we had to go in a different direction and these fellas (boss Kieron Shelley and assistant Mike Wallace) are so enthusiastic. It makes all that effort worthwhile.”