Worksop Town manager Craig Denton has been in the job for just short of six months after leaving Rainworth MW at the end of last season – and from the outset he has always been honest, truthful and wore his heart of his sleeve.
Last Saturday’s loss to Hemsworth MW left The Tigers 8th in the NCEL Premier Division but some fans have been less than impressed so far, some even calling for his head when other local clubs have chosen longevity rather than swapping and changing managers.
“The person who really feels it the most is me because I pick the team and I pick how we’re going to play etc. I have to remember that the lads who play for Worksop Town are human. They are players on whom we put a lot of pressure because, when someone plays for Worksop Town and you’ve got 400-500 fantastic fans getting behind them, there’s an element of pressure there.
“It’s high stakes, playing for Worksop because it’s a huge club and it should be further up the leagues but it takes time, along with a lot of patience and a lot of planning. I don’t think it’s fair on the management team, nor is it fair on the club or the players that we expect an overnight miracle to happen. You look at great examples like Penistone and Hemsworth, who have longevity in their managers. You look at the stability of players and I think it’s testament to clubs like those who then reap the rewards. That’s our sort of picture, it’s where I want to be as a manager, someone who is taking those small steps to big success.”
With just one league loss in 54 days Denton wasn’t too keen on some fans calling for the sword, “I do take a bit of an exception. When people say it’s a big club and it’s a tough job, this is one of the factors because of those high levels of expectation. There is nobody more than myself who puts pressure on winning and doing well! If somebody came up to me and said “you need to walk” or “you need to be sacked” or anything like that, it’s something in which I’d be disappointed but I know I’ve got the full backing of Paul Williams and the football club.
“Comments like that disappoint me but that’s certainly a small, small minority of the Worksop fans. They’re entitled to their opinion because they pay their money and they’re a Worksop Town fan. There are a hell of a lot of Worksop fans whom I speak to and they are fully behind myself, the club and the players and they’re really happy with what they see on the pitch and where we are in the league table.
“I don’t know where we are in the league – I’ve not checked this week – but we’ve five games in hand, you know, and we’ve lost against Brid, we lost against Hansdworth Parramore in the last minute and we lost 3-2 against a very good Hemsworth side. Yes, I would be disappointed if somebody highlighted that I should be sacked or should walk but that’s certainly not what I would believe to be the right choice. I also know that’s not what the club would want to happen.”
“There’s always going to be pressure if you’re the Worksop Town manager. There’s always pressure at a youth club with high expectations.
“The most pressure comes from myself! I put a lot of pressure on myself and the management team. We have got a great support network in regard to Paul Williams. We have great football guys who are working really hard behind the scenes and they have got my full backing in what they’re doing and vice versa. It’s a great, positive working relationship, with the owners, with the Chairman so, yes, it’s really positive.”
A certain topic dicussed by Tigers fans was Denton’s change in tactics recently, “Of course everyone’s going to do that! When I watch Sheffield Wednesday against Sheffield United I’d be suggesting why has he not done this or why has he not done that? That’s what happens. Everybody who watches a game of football has an opinion and I guess that’s why it’s such a brilliant game to be involved in. I have to accept peoples’ opinions and I do! If somebody’s not happy, they voice their opinion and they’re entitled to do that.
“As it stands, I’m the football manager at Worksop Town FC, I’m the one who works closely with our management group and how we’re going to scout, how we feel we need to play and what changes with our tactics. The proof’s going to be in the pudding, depending on how I do as a Manager. I think I should be judged towards the end of the campaign and where we are next season.
You have Penistone away next… second versus eighth. Would you say it’s a “must win” game?
“It is a “must win” game. Every game I want to win so every game is a “must win” game. I want to be there, right at the top of the league. My issue when it comes to saying it’s a “must win” game is knowing it adds lots of pressure to my players. I sometimes have to protect my players because we’ve had a couple of knocks, a couple of injuries and a couple of suspensions and I’ve got to make sure that my players are going into the game with the right frame of mind.
“I know they’re going to give 110% on Saturday but I also know that Penistone are an exceptional team and are a hard working side. I think we’ve got to see a good performance and, if our lads perform, we will reap our rewards. One of my focuses is getting back into quality performances. If you put performances on the table you’ll pick up your points and what you deserve.”
Any message for the fans?
“Be patient with us! We’re working really hard. We’ve got the fans’ support, home and away. It’s so important to the lads who are playing on that pitch so back us all the way and I’ll guarantee our players, myself and everybody else will continue to keep fighting and keep working hard at this wonderful football club.”