Matt Bad­cock gets ex­clu­sive ac­cess to Bil­ler­icay Town and am­bi­tious owner Glenn Tam­plin

The Non-League Football Paper - - NEWS - By MATT BAD­COCK


THE FIRST thing to say about Bil­ler­icay Town is, what­ever your taste, the mu­rals that adorn the back of the new stand, the chang­ing rooms and tun­nel area, are ar­tis­ti­cally im­pres­sive.

The sec­ond thing is that the place has been com­pletely and un­de­ni­ably trans­formed in a short space of time.

New ter­rac­ing and seat­ing has leapt up, the pitch is im­mac­u­late, the food and drink stalls im­proved and an area be­hind one stand is be­ing hur­riedly pre­pared for a 3G fa­cil­ity and park­ing.

The Es­sex club has gen­er­ated more col­umn inches and so­cial me­dia posts than any other Non-League out­fit in a long time be­cause of one man, mil­lion­aire owner Glenn Tam­plin.

The lo­cal busi­ness­man has poured £2 mil­lion into the club since tak­ing over part­way through last sea­son, in­stalled him­self as man­ager, caused con­tro­versy with out­ra­geous post­ings on twit­ter, and up­set a lot of peo­ple do­ing it.

The singing, the team-talks, the flash cars, the big-name ex-Pre­mier League sign­ings, the wages, the bold pre­dic­tions to reach the Foot­ball League.

But he has, so far, done ev­ery­thing he said he would. Even if there is just 18 months left on the lease and, he says, the coun­cil are ig­nor­ing their at­tempts to dis­cuss re­new­ing. So what is be­hind the car­i­ca­ture that has got every­one in Non­League foot­ball talk­ing? In­side his of­fice he’s wel­com­ing, in­tro­duces his wife Bliss and son Archie, ges­tures grandly, is raw, funny, di­rect, hon­est, openly says how his mis­takes saw some of his com­pa­nies go bust, and is clearly pas­sion­ate about what he’s do­ing.

“What frus­trates me is this gets so much more than my money,” he says, a few hours be­fore they main­tain their lead at the top of the Bostik Pre­mier af­ter beat­ing Brightlingsea Re­gent. “It gets ev­ery minute of my time. It gets all of my heart, all of my pas­sion. It gets ev­ery bit of me. Money is the last thing it gets. The last thing.

“And it’s the eas­i­est thing to give. It would be eas­ier for you to get £5 out of your pocket now and give it to some­one than an hour of your time. This is where peo­ple get me wrong. I give peo­ple and this club my time. That’s noth­ing to do with money.”


The of­fice we sit in has had a sim­i­lar re­design to the chang­ing rooms. Tam­plin gives a guided tour of the lions on the wall be­hind his desk, who rep­re­sent him and his fam­ily. “You look around this room now and peo­ple will say, ‘Oh, it’s a cir­cus’. Well, no, this isn’t a cir­cus,” he says. “If you look at it, this be­hind you here is my fam­ily. That’s me, the king of the jun­gle, this is my li­on­ess Bliss, these are my kids – I have a tat­too on my arm here of lions and tigers. It ba­si­cally says I thought about quit­ting be­fore I re­alised who was watch­ing.

“When, ten years ago, I was in a bad place and I tried to take my life three times, I had a four-year-old boy, Archie, and a one-year-old girl, Gra­cie. There was a slo­gan that had a lion sit­ting there with a cub look­ing at him say­ing, ‘Daddy, help, help’. It was, ‘I thought about quit­ting un­til I re­alised who was watch­ing me’. I re­alised my cubs needed me.”

Tam­plin, 45, says there’s lots of things peo­ple have wrong with him. He ex­plains how he grew up on a coun­cil es­tate with no fa­ther, how he found his first bride-to-be hav­ing an af­fair with her boss two weeks be­fore their wed­ding and how that led to throw­ing him­self into busi­ness.

Ul­ti­mately, ten years later, he burnt out and couldn’t cope un­til he lifted him­self from the ‘devil’s pit’ with the help of faith and Chris­tian­ity.

“All I’m say­ing is, my life has not been a bed of roses,” he says. “All I’m do­ing when I come to this foot­ball club is say, ‘Here’s all of me. But with me comes my past, my be­liefs, comes what I be­lieve we all need to know, comes to­tal trans­parency. You’re go­ing to get all of me’.

“That’s why ev­ery­body knows my story. Why do I tell peo­ple my story? Be­cause we have pastors here to help peo­ple. I be­lieve it is my pur­pose to help peo­ple in the Bil­ler­icay com­mu­nity. Help peo­ple get well, help peo­ple with is­sues.

“Win­ning the league and tak­ing this club up is some­thing I want to do – but that’s as well as help­ing the com­mu­nity. If you said I had to pick be­tween the two, I don’t know which one I would pick. Be­cause if we win all the leagues and go up to League Two, but I haven’t helped any­one in the com­mu­nity, then I would say I’ve failed.”

‘Sex sells’

Tam­plin ac­cepts he has made mis­judge­ments on twit­ter and his sug­ges­tion for his “haters” to get in touch with one of a num­ber of men­tal health or drug ad­dic­tion char­i­ties – for which he apol­o­gised – is a con­tra­dic­tion to the good work he ap­pears to be do­ing.

He’s funded an oper­a­tion for a young boy called Harry Parker to walk again. A team of six street pas-

tors will be at games – they plan be­tween them to come to games at all lev­els of the club – to of­fer sup­port for any­one who may need it.

Phil Nor­ton, Lead Street Pas­tor, says: “We’re build­ing re­la­tion­ships at the mo­ment, let­ting peo­ple know who we are and what we’re about and, most im­por­tantly, who we’re not. What we aren’t is lo­cal Christian peo­ple evan­ge­lis­ing or com­ing with a very heavy Christian mes­sage.

“We’re ac­tu­ally say­ing, ‘This is who we are, this is what we be­lieve and, within that, can we of­fer you some pas­toral needs. How are you get­ting on in life? What are you go­ing through? Are you go­ing

LOOK OF THE LODGE: L-R: Glenn and Matt in his uniquely dec­o­rated of­fice, the equally stun­ning chang­ing rooms and the Harry Parker Stand

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