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.
“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.
“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