Well here we are at the end of another season and it has been one of the poorest on record.
I said at the start of this campaign that money would be tight and players would have to face up to this and that’s exactly how it turned out. Clubs simply haven’t the money coming in that they once had and Hallam were the first to announce that they would not be paying players during this season and likewise at Dinnington Town.
I applauded them for their stance because surely the club must come before any individual but to play in the Kool Sports North Counties East League Premier Division without money, simply was a cocktail for relegation and sadly that’s how it turned out.
Hallam was well noted last week, with Kenny Geelan simply having no chance of saving the club and he left in January while new manager Julian Watts, despite a valiant fight, saw his players relegated on the last day of their season.
Dinnington Town after 10 years of success, in which they won a trophy or were promoted, suddenly found themselves relegated as bottom club after a run of 25 league games without a win. They won just three league games and only drew five all season, while conceding 109 goals in what was their worst season ever, both on and off the field. It’s always been a family club, with manager Steve Toyne and the players building it up to the great standards they have today at Phoenix Park. However, with no money available, the players trickled away and Steve was left to find players, who despite being willing and keen, simply had not got the skills and relegation was inevitable.
The club though are far from despondent as their highly respected secretary Chris Dearnes was quick to point out: “The club are far from dead and while we have lost our major sponsor, other irons are in the fire, and our tie up with Sheffield Colleges could save us up to £7,500. We also have a new shirt sponsor who will also help with ground maintenance and travelling costs.”
Maltby Main on the other hand had their best season for years, as manager Stevie Adams produced a good young footballing side, with three of their new Under-19s squad coming through. Their 11th position was five places higher than last season and they did it without a wage bill of any great shapes. The three big successes this season surround Parkgate, Staveley and Handsworth.
Parkgate, who under new manager Doug Shelley and his assistant Wilf Race, played some great football to finish runners-up in a very strong league. Doug surprised many, by his assurance in his first season at this level, and with a tighter defence, they may even have taken the title but 77 points, 23 wins and eight draws is no mean achievement. Add a Senior Cup Final appearance, their first for many years and it proves how good a side he has gathered together.
They were outstanding up front with 126 league and cup goals. Andy Worsfold hit 29 and Swindells 23, while Senior and Lipka were superb in mid- field. They played 12 cup games and had a long hard season but rewrote many club records.
In Division One Staveley also had a record-breaking season. They led the table virtually from start to finish and were worthy champions. They bagged 95 league goals, plus 47 in the cups, 26 league wins, only six defeats with just one at home, and a run of 14 cup matches.
Ryan Damms scored 39 goals, again a club record, with Coy 16, Fox 15, Smith 10 and my outstanding Player of the Season Tahar hitting 21 from midfield.
Their progress off the field is also truly amazing and by the time they start life in the Premier Division next season, their ground will be one of the top two in our area.