It has been a momentous season for Craig Denton and Worksop Town and after their slender 2-1 win over Eccleshill yesterday at Sandy Lane, they lifted the NCEL Premier Division trophy much to the delight of their young manager. (Main photograph by Lewis Pickersgill)
Your eighteenth win in a row. You’ve won the League by a clear eight points. This management malarkey’s quite easy for you, isn’t it?
Certainly not! It’s been a long season! It started months before we’d even really kicked a ball. I know that all of the non-league managers are in the same position where you don’t really rest or have a break. You continue to plan for next season and you’re trying to get one step ahead of your opponents by planning your pre-season, your pre-season fixtures, player recruitment etc. It’s all down to that work by everybody at the football club: myself, my assistant manager, the management team and staff… everybody at the club. It’s certainly not easy!
Yesterday you beat Eccleshill 2-1. How did the game go? Was it as tight as the score line suggests?
It was, actually. The conditions were terrible and the gale force winds didn’t suit any of us, either ourselves or Eccleshill. For large spells Eccleshill played really well and it certainly wasn’t our best day at the office but we took our chances. Eccleshill had probably more chances and the better chances. We were a little bit sloppy in our defending and we created a lot of mistakes to provide Eccleshill with chances to put the ball into the back of the net.
First, I’d like to say a big thank you to Eccleshill for the guard of honour as we came out. It was a lovely gesture from the guys at Eccleshill and Sean Regan congratulated us on several occasions and their players have been fantastic. A really humble manager and a great set of players and you can see how well the group has done so well in terms of where they’ve finished this season.
It wasn’t the greatest of games but we ground out a win. To be honest, I think the media will probably say a point at the end of the day would have been a fair result.
Off the field, you’ve ended the season with an average of 512 fans – about 37.5% increase on last season. You know how I love the stats! You’re ranked 83rd in non-league football for your attendance and that’s throughout all the steps. That’s a testament to your fans and the area.
Absolutely! Everybody’s aware of the huge support Worksop Town have and I always said when we start winning games, it creates a buzz around town. People come down and they may choose Worksop Town over Sheffield Wednesday or Sheffield United. In the recent seasons in the NCEL not all supporters have done that but there’s been a large group following Worksop – as I would call them, the Barmy Army of Worksop Town – who would stick with the club through thick and thin. It’s amazing how this season that those attendances at any level.
I think the increase in supporters has just been fantastic and it shows that they’re not just backing the players and us on the pitch but they’re backing the football club, which is the most important. When they buy a drink or something to eat, at the turnstiles and paying on the gate, that really supports the football club massively so that’s the main thing.
You’ve done superbly well this season and probably better than you could have imagined. Is that a fair assumption?
Yes! You know in the Northern Counties if you get a good run you find yourself up there and challenging. It wasn’t the greatest of starts to the season for us. There were ups and downs but we were putting a brand new team and a brand new side together. When we started putting long runs of wins together you find yourself up there and you’re in with a chance. Then you win the games that you need to win and it’s in your hands towards the end of the season.
The players have stood up and been counted for so the fans will be absolutely delighted with their football club. They’ve got this football club from the Northern Counties up into the EvoStik. It’s just absolutely tremendous!
And now EvoStik football! What’s the plan for the next few weeks? Is it taking a bit of a rest or is it plan on and plough on for next season?
We’ll do what we have done every other week of the season: we’ve got a game on Tuesday night. We’ll regroup and focus on that game. It’s going to be a really tough game against a well-organised quality side in Hemsworth. We know that we’ll have our work cut out and it’ll be a tough day at the office. We’re going to make sure that we try and finish on a high but we know certainly that Hemsworth are going to be standing in our way. We’ll prepare for Tuesday night and hopefully we’ll put a performance in where we can try and overcome Hemsworth. We certainly know it’s going to be a tough ask!
Is that something you want to end on at the Distant Future Stadium and lifting another trophy?
That would be absolutely amazing to get to a final but we need to beat Hemsworth first. We know that’s going to be a big, tough ask because we know they’ve got bags of quality and I just think if we can overcome Hemsworth then what an amazing day it would be to finish off the season in ultimate style and winning the League Cup.