CLUB FOCUS

The Non-League Football Paper - - NEWS - By HUGO VAR­LEY

With FA Cup and FA Tro­phy suc­cess in the mem­ory bank, Nantwich Town are eye­ing an­other his­toric sea­son

IN HIS four years as chair­man of Nantwich Town, Tony Dav­i­son has cer­tainly en­joyed some mem­o­rable mo­ments.

Last sea­son’s run to the FA Cup first round proper fol­lowed on from the re­mark­able ex­ploits of reach­ing the semi-fi­nals of the FA Tro­phy, un­der the guid­ance of Phil Parkin­son.

Now, as things stand, an­other his­toric cam­paign could well be in the off­ing.

Ahead of yes­ter­day’s game at Whitby, Nantwich Town were the in-form side in the North­ern Premier League hav­ing fallen to just one de­feat in their last 15 matches – a run which had seen the Dabbers move to within a point of ta­ble-toppers Scar­bor­ough Ath­letic.

“It’s a sea­son which has re­ally sur­passed all ex­pec­ta­tions so far!” Dav­i­son told The NLP.

“We def­i­nitely had one eye on pos­si­bly mount­ing a pro­mo­tion push but we never ex­pected to be sit­ting in sec­ond place as the cam­paign rolled into De­cem­ber.

“I feel very for­tu­nate to have been on the board dur­ing what has ar­guably been one of the most suc­cess­ful pe­ri­ods of the club’s 134-year his­tory.

Mo­men­tum

“At the mo­ment, the FA Tro­phy run in 2016 stands out as my favourite mo­ment but that could all change if we can achieve pro­mo­tion this sea­son.”

The Dabbers’ pro­gres­sion to the semi-fi­nals of the FA Tro­phy saw them top­ple a plethora of high­class op­po­si­tion in­clud­ing the likes of Stock­port County and Dover Ath­letic.

While Nantwich’s ad­ven­ture was even­tu­ally ended by FC Hal­i­fax Town, Dav­i­son ad­mits that he con­tin­ues to cher­ish mem­o­ries of the club’s cup jour­ney.

“There was such an amaz­ing at­mos­phere around the place that year,” he added.

“The game against Dover was bril­liant be­cause the scores were tied at 1-1 un­til vir­tu­ally the fi­nal minute.

“I can re­mem­ber sit­ting in the stands think­ing ‘A trip down to Dover for a replay on a Tuesday night is go­ing to be an ab­so­lute lo­gis­ti­cal night­mare’ but thankmo­men­tum fully we snatched a goal right at the death and the whole place went nuts!

“The home leg of the semi­fi­nal brought a huge at­ten­dance and was a bril­liant oc­ca­sion to be a part of. We lost 4-2 on ag­gre­gate but we more than held our own and, to be hon­est, I felt as though we pos­si­bly de­served more than the score­line sug­gests.”

Af­ter reach­ing the play-offs in the fol­low­ing sea­son, Nantwich’s was dra­mat­i­cally put into jeop­ardy with the sud­den de­par­ture of then-boss Parkin­son. He de­parted the Weaver Sta­dium for Al­trin­cham in the sum­mer of 2017 and took much of his his­tory-mak­ing Nantwich side to Greater Manch­ester with him. “Phil’s de­ci­sion to leave was a big shock” said Dav­i­son. “It was sad to see a lot of the team leave as well but ul­ti­mately that is the na­ture of Non-League foot­ball and we got straight back to work try­ing to re­build what we once had. “We brought in Dave Cooke as man­ager, who has real ex­pe­ri­ence at this level and knows a lot about the club.”

Un­der the guid­ance of Cooke, who has had two pre­vi­ous spells in the dugout with Nantwich, for­tunes on the pitch have con­tin­ued to look bright and with a po­ten­tial pro­mo­tion push now in the off­ing, ex­cite­ment is quickly build­ing. The Nantwich boss told The

NLP: “I quite en­joyed the op­por­tu­nity of cre­at­ing a new team al­most en­tirely from scratch.

“We are very for­tu­nate in hav­ing a lot of big teams in the lo­cal area so there are plenty of high qual­ity young play­ers about.

“For ex­am­ple, at least six of our cur­rent squad have come through the youth ranks at Crewe Alexan­dra, where they were coached by Terry McPhillips, who is now man­ager at Black­pool. “If you have your ear to the ground then you can keep tabs on play­ers that may have slipped through the net at some of the big­ger teams around us.

“We have man­aged to re­cruit a great group here. Last sea­son was all about con­sol­i­da­tion and it was great to have a nice FA Cup run but this year we are keen to progress in the league.

Dream

“Things have started bril­liantly and the thought of Nantwich Town play­ing against teams like York City and Ch­ester is re­ally amaz­ing but we can’t get too car­ried away just yet.”

When speak­ing to both the chair­man and man­ager, the sense of am­bi­tion at Nantwich is im­me­di­ately ev­i­dent. Asked of his plans for the next few years, Dav­i­son is un­equiv­o­cal about what he hopes the club can achieve.

“In many re­spects we are punch­ing above our weight al­ready. Lots of the sides around us have far big­ger bud­gets than us but we be­lieve that we can push on even fur­ther,” he added.

“My dream is to one day see Nantwich Town in the Na­tional League. We cer­tainly have the in­fra­struc­ture and de­ter­mi­na­tion to get there.

“First of all, we need to get out of this divi­sion which is go­ing to be one hell of a chal­lenge.

“How­ever, this is a very good group of play­ers and I have real con­fi­dence that they are more than ca­pa­ble of cre­at­ing many more spe­cial mem­o­ries!”

YABBA DABBER DO! Nantwich Town are rid­ing high in the Evo-Stik Premier un­der man­ager Dave Cooke, in­set

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.