To start, my answer to both is yes. Given the size of this town & the expansion that will be coming in the immediate future, it would be a nonsense if we couldn't support a club playing at the highest level of non league football. But as we know, size & catchment area guarantee nothing: Bath, Worcester, Gloucester & (of course) Maidstone now all play at a level well below their "status," having once boasted teams more poweful than those we could put out against them. You have to have good financial resources, given by reliable providers and the business sense not to waste what you've got.
There's no doubt that when we won promotion it was against all expectations. Things started to go pear shaped for Canvey after Stimson revealed he'd already signed for Grays for the next season and Aldershot, at the time, were managed by a maniac (just a coincidence that Hornchurch hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons after their FA Cup exit?) This aside, Andy & Phil, did a wonderful job, guididng us to the championship against clubs whose resources far outweighed ours.
When we went up, there's no doubt we weren't really equipped to stay long. Financially we couldn't compete & that was too apparent, as Andy has pointed out, during last summer, when we lost Jimmy Jackson & Mark Bentley and sold Liam Hatch, with no replacement on the horizon. Our inability to hold onto Adam Miller just rubbed in how precarious our position was.
Now, of course, we have resources: some much welcome income from the cup run & a decent sponsorship deal, which those running the club have compared to the kind of backing enjoyed by the better Conference clubs. The trouble is, are there going to be decent players available for a permament move at this stage in the season? It's all very well yelling about going out & getting the players we need, but surely they are almost inevitably going to be locked into contracts, at least until the end of the season.
My feeling is, we'll probably have to mix & match it this season & hang on to survive above the bottom 3. That may well mean taking on other loan players when we can. My feeling is we're just about good enough to do it. The real test will be next close season when we see how we shape up to building a strong squad with more financial clout at our disposal. If that can be done, then I truly believe we need to aim for a settled nucleus of good quality players, who can keep possession and play a passing game.
The chopping & changing doesn't suit anyone & certainly doesn't make for a cohesive & organized pattern of play. At the moment though, I fear we might well have to put up with it for a bit longer.