NEW Vale of Leven boss Brian Brown insists promotion is the aim as he prepares to take the reigns at Millburn Park.

The Vale finished the Central Second Division in sixth spot with 33 points, and the new boss is keen to go one better next season.

The mid-table finish means the Vale are consigned to their sixth consecutive season in the bottom tier of junior football, a run Brown is keen to avenge next season.

He said: “The number one priority for us has to be to try and get out of this league this season.

“We weren’t a million miles away last season, and hopefully with the players we’ve brought in we’ll be able to build in what we’ve got.”

“We’ve signed up nearly the full squad from last season which is excellent.

“I’m really happy all the boys have decided to stay on. We missed promotion by about five points and we’ve added another eight players, four outwith the Juniors and four from the under-21s”.

Brown has already started to bolster his squad for the new campaign, adding Allan MacPherson from Haldane Amateurs, Ritchie Stewart and former Clydebank goalkeeper Robert Tiropoulos and striker Andy Biddulph.

They join quartet Robbie Dolan, Greg Ross, Ben Craig, and David Madden who make the step up from the Vale’s U21 set-up.

Brown added: “I’m hoping there will be more signings to be made.

“Some of the teams still have some games to be played, but we’re hoping to bring some more experienced juniors players to add to the young squad.

“In one of the games last year, the average age of the team was only about 22.5 years old.

“With junior football, and that league, you need a certain knowledge of how it works – so we need to add that.

“The only one that’s not going to sign at the moment is Charles Smith the goalkeeper. He’ll hopefully still be here for pre-season.”

Brown added: “It’s a two-way street, the players have shown faith in me as a new manager, and I’ve got nothing but faith in them.”

Brown admitted it was going to be tough taking over the reins from Hugh Hamill at Vale of Leven.

He said: “I have absolutely nothing but respect for Shug [Hugh Hamill] for the time and effort he’s given to it. 

“I hope he’ll still be down there in some capacity, it would be a shame just for him to walk away and leave it.

“I can’t wait to get going, I’m just desperate to get started. I’ve been going in and out of Millburn for about 33 years now. 

“I was down there as a five-year-old, my dad was the manager, my granddad was the caretaker. My partner’s a season ticket holder, two of my uncles played and my brother was a captain for a while, so it’s a family.

“It’s something I’ve been involved with for 33 years, so I care deeply for the Vale.

“I was the under-21s manager for two seasons before that and Shug and Angus [Wallace] asked me to come on board with a view to taking on the first team at some point.

“It was always the plan, I just wasn’t sure it was going to be this season.”

Brown also revealed his side’s pre-season plans, with the Vale scheduled to play West Calder United at Millburn Park on Saturday, July 15, before travelling to take on Oban Saints the following weekend, July 22, with more to be arranged.