It wasn’t a complete surprise when The FA Step 5 allocations came out last month and we saw that Silsden had been moved from the North West Counties to the NCEL – and it didn’t take us long to sit down with their manager Danny Forrest for a chat. (Main photograph by David Brett)
- How long have you been Manager at Silsden? Any previous clubs?
I’ve been Manager at Silsden two and a half years. It’s my first job in semi professional football although I did run Ilkley Dynamos open age Sunday league team for five years prior to that. I’ve been lucky enough to play under some fantastic managers, and be lead by some great leaders in the dressing rooms I’ve been involved in. I think this has been my inspiration to do what I’m doing now. I got in to it because I thought I’d enjoy it and felt with the experiences I’ve had I could help players become better. Like any other Manager I enjoy winning and the satisfaction it brings. So I make sure we do everything in our power to give us the best possible chance every week.
- Little bit about your playing career? How did that end?
I was an apprentice and professional at Bradford City for five years until 2006 before moving on to Halifax Town, Crawley Town and Barrow. I managed to do 11 seasons as a full time footballer then another 5 part time playing for Guiseley, Harrogate Town and Gainsborough Trinity in the Conference North. I had persistent hamstring injuries and tendonitis in my achilles towards the back end, my game suffered and they were becoming hard to manage. I got frustrated at not being able to play to my potential sodecided to call it a day at that level in 2015. I had chance to stay at a higher level but I really wanted to go to a club where I could manage myself with a little more freedom, have less stress on the body and also still be able to impact games when I played which is why I joined Silsden in the North West Counties. After putting the miles in for many years I felt I could positively input a club local to me, and who probably needed it at the time. Technically I still haven’t retired but my playing days have definitely slowed down! I started four games last season and made various sub appearances, who knows if I feel ok in pre season I may turn out a little more. You’re a long time retired as they say.
- Silsden been in North West for a number of years, are the club happy coming over? Do you see it as a positive step?
The general feeling was from the club we’d have been happy to stay where we were. But I think as soon as we got wind that a move was possible everyone embraced it and really saw the positives. I think people sometimes forget we’re situated in West Yorkshire, just 15 minutes or so the other side of Bradford. So geographically moving over makes a lot of sense for us. We now have 7 clubs within 30 miles of us. Personally I’m very excited by the move. Myself and Craig (Bentham, Assistant Manager) spent a lot of our careers at clubs in Yorkshire so in terms of our personal networks it probably opens a few doors, we know more managers, coaching staff, players etc who are situated in the NCEL region. Pat McGuire is a good friend of mine and I know Lee Elam well as we used to travel in together when we were at Harrogate Town. We have a bigger pool of players to consider due to our knowledge and that can only be a good thing. I feel the move puts the whole club in a stronger position in terms of building a team and also raising the profile of the club.
- Silsden have played numerous NCEL sides in the past, will the standard be similar?
We actually did really well against NCEL sides last season in the FA Vase. Myself and the other coaching staff watched plenty of NCEL football towards the end of the season in preparation for the possible move. I think the standard will be very similar to NWCFL. City of Liverpool, Bootle and Northwich Victoria I felt were the stand out teams last season, they were almost super powers in that league. And I’m sure its the same in the NCEL, but you only have to look down the league and there seems to be quality running all the way through. There’s a lot of teams that will fancy their chances and have optimism especially at this time of the year.