Kings Langley have doubled their budget from last season and already signed three players as they prepare for their first season in the Southern League Premier Division.

The village club were one of the lowest payers in Division One Central last term but upset the odds to win the title and clinch their third promotion in as many seasons with a dramatic final-day win at Petersfield Town.

Paul Hughes and Ritchie Hanlon’s side face another uphill battle next season as they compete at Step Three for the first time in the club’s history.

The former Chelsea pair will do so armed with a budget roughly twice the size of last season’s, which is understood to have been just three figures per week. They cannot rely on bringing in vast sums from gate receipts thanks to an average attendance of less than 100, meaning every penny must be spent carefully.

Some of the budget has been put towards re-signing former Stevenage and Wealdstone striker Connor Calcutt, who started his career at Kings Langley scoring once in three games, ex-Berkhamsted attacker Josh Chamberlain and Aylesbury United centre-back Kyle Anthony.

“We’ve got more money than last season but it’s still very little,” said Hughes. “We’ve been able to double our budget but that’s from a low starting point. For this league it’s still a miniscule amount but we will cope.”

Hughes believes there is a benefit to that, however, as there are no egos in the Gaywood Park dressing room. No-one playing for the village club is doing so to get rich quick.

“We’ve got players here who love football and want to do well,” said Hughes.

“No-one is making a living from football at this level. Instead they get a lot out of it socially and the plus point of being part of a tight-knit squad.”

One man who could be forgiven for arriving with a high opinion of himself is striker Calcutt.

The 22-year-old from Watford played for Kings, Berkhamsted and St Albans City before earning a move to League Two side Stevenage in 2014. He appeared just eight times as a substitute for Boro – scoring once – before joining Wealdstone at the start of last season.

“We think he’s a bit of a coup,” admitted Hughes. “He’s seen how well we’ve done and he wants to be part of that ride.

“He’s very good in the air and he’s a strong, physical player. We will need more of those in this league. We’ve never had that – someone good in the air who can attack free-kicks or corners and holds the ball up.”

Centre-back Anthony is another who fits that bracket.

The 30-year-old has previously turned out for Hemel Hempstead Town and Chesham United and brings experience to Kings Langley.

“He’s a leader,” said Hughes. “He’s very experienced, a reliable character and very committed.

“We needed that type; a very physical presence. We lost Callum Adebiyi to Hemel Hempstead so we needed someone to replace him.”

Former Berkhamsted attacker Chamberlain is an entirely different proposition.

He became a viral hit last season when he scored from just inside the opposition’s half in a 3-1 FA Vase win at AFC Kempston Rovers – a goal picked up by the BBC among others.

“He’s our type of player,” explained Hughes. “He is very creative and has great technique; he makes things happen.”

Things are happening off the field too. The club are holding a sponsorship raffle for local businesses with the prize being naming rights to their Gaywood Park home.

For a £500 fee entrants will get a pitchside advertising hoarding, an advert in the matchday programme and two season tickets, as well as being entered into the draw to have the ground named after their business.

Around 15 businesses have already pledged their money with co-managers Hughes and Hanlon likely to receive a portion to boost their transfer coffers.

“We’ve got to be fair to them with the playing budget and support that as much as we can,” said chairman Derry Edgar.

“We won’t have the biggest budget in that league but we will give them a sporting chance to consolidate – though I know they will have more ambitious targets because of what they have achieved in the past.”