When seventeenth-placed Hall Road Rangers head over the Humber Bridge on Saturday to face seventh-placed Bottesford Town at Birkdale Park, it will follow a difficult few days for the Haworth Park club and their popular Manager, Bill Gill. As our regular readers will know, Bill is a great fan of squad progression and the encouragement of young players – but when that younger talent sees – maybe – the greener grass away from Dawson Drive, Bill accepts it as a credit to his club rather than a further dilution of his squad, writes Colin Muncie.
“It’s been a tough four weeks behind the results and press coverage,” Bill admitted. “We have had a win, a couple of draws, a couple of losses and we’ve progressed in the League Cup – which given the circumstances is a good achievement overall.”
Bill provided TBG with some insight into the realities of Non-League Management. “It’s difficult for every manager trying to juggle injuries and holidays with a squad of 18 players,” he told us, “and added to that, we have had three players leave for reasons of ambition. It has put further pressure on games and results – and disrupts planning and team ethos. The club objective was to develop a squad over the next two or three seasons to be able to compete with the Top Six sides in the division; this would include a mixture of young, local talented players with huge potential, but would also mean a small group of experienced players to balance out the team’s philosophy and application.”
Bill spelt out the realities of a successful youth policy. “What we didn’t factor in was that some of the younger players have progressed quickly under the good management team we have,” he acknowledged, “and their accelerated development has resulted in other clubs’ interest – which has led to players leaving us.”
“I’m a big believer in players’ development and progress,” Bill reminded us, “and have proven that over the last three seasons as several players developed within the environment we created, and progressed to higher levels of football. The risk with this is seeing some of those players lose out on playing time – which is the biggest development driver for me. Whilst I appreciate that every club has different goals and ambitions, we have to consider their playing time and confidence at that young development age.”
“We can only hope that the players who leave us succeed and go onto play higher levels of football and achieve their goals,” Bill emphasised.
“That’s the biggest reward for me as a Manager and Coach.”