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Note that this page is from our Gresley Rovers archive.
It may not be related to the new club Gresley FC.
Story posted: Saturday, 2nd March 2002

Fans Forum Answers
The answers you've all been waiting for, from the forum on Friday 1st March at the Moat Ground.
Q. How are we doing with the finances?

A. (Mark Evans) We are progressing well. Gresley continually face pressures from its creditors. This has been a difficult year in terms of continuing what weíve started for lots of reasons, the weather and the funny distribution home fixtures.

The good news is that we have no statutory debt and we have reduced our bank overdraft significantly and the finances have improved but nevertheless itís getting harder. When we needed help we went out and asked people for money and we got a huge amount of money in but you canít then go back to the same people in a short space of time and ask them for some more. We have had to work harder this year to try and bring people to the club to give us more money in the form of sponsorship.

We have one of the highest gates in our league but that income would not cover half the playerís wages in a full year so as a club we have to go out and get sponsorship and it is getting increasingly difficult but we are getting better all the time.

It is a long-term plan we still have a long long way to go.

Q. From a financial point of view has moving the midweek games to Wednesday helped?

A. (ME) John and I are going to do a bit more analysis on it. The reason for the change of day was that it would allow John and the management to go and see players and other teams. We didnít anticipate any change in attendance when we did it but we know some people have altered their lives to fit around Tuesday games and we didnít anticipate that. But what we are going to do between now and the end of the season is to compare last years Tuesday attendances with this years Wednesday attendances and see what is the difference. There are a lot of games played now on both Tuesdays and Wednesdays because of the European matches and also Burton Albion and Derby County play their midweek matches on a Tuesday and we were hoping to gain a few more local supporters who would come and watch us.

Q. How many more players do you think you need to get to the squad you want.

A. (John McGinlay) You want the strongest squad possible. There have been times when we have been down to the bare bones and although we have some good young players who are going to be a great benefit for us over the next two years. There are some who are not quite ready and to throw them into the deep end could ruin them. All they need is a couple of defeats and they lose their confidence. We can only go as far as the budget will allow and the chairman is working on trying to get that increased for next year. We will have a squad of possibly 15 or 16 for next season because we cannot afford any more and thatís why we are relying on the boys coming through the reserves. Thatís what we want.

Q. Why donít you play yourself more?

A. (JMG) Iím not fit enough itís as simple as that. I would be happy if I didnít pull a pair of boots on next year because that means we are doing well.

Q. Will Richard Wardle be getting a testimonial?

A. (ME) This is something that has concerned the directors. We tried to get Nottingham Forest but they never bothered to return my calls. What I can confirm is that on Wednesday 24th April Richard will have a testimonial and it will be against Notts County who have promised to send their first team. Richard is at present assembling his side and it will include some ex players who have played alongside him over the years.

Q. (via the website) How do the two ďfringeĒ players keep their fitness up when they are not playing?

A. (JMG) Itís been the down to circumstances. Weíve been short of players and Iíve asked them to come on the bench. Take Wednesdayís game for example. We decided just before half time to bring both Matt Moran and Lee Withers on after about 15 minutes of the second half. But then Cirencester scored and things changed. They came out after the break and scored again and we were biting our fingernails. I would have liked to have played them but it would not have been fair to have played them in circumstances like that. There has been instances of them being on the bench but that was because we were short. The two boys attitude has been spot on they have never moaned they have just been pleased to be involved. The only thing affected is their fitness and thatís not their fault itís mine because weíve been short of players.
Tomorrow Matt should have a full 90 minutes with the reserves and Lee will probably be on the bench for us and hopefully he will see some of the match.

Q. Are you happy with the teamís discipline?

A. (JMG) Iím happy but it could be better. Certain players have learned to control their tempers and there is now competition for places which helps. Teams respect us again now. They know that if they allow us to play football we will destroy them and so there are a few tasty tackles in some of the games that tests any playerís self control.

Q. How close are you to finalising the squad for next season?

A. (JMG) We have started to talk to players now. Iím hopeful that before the end of this month we will have the majority tied up for next season. If there are to be any changes there wonít be too many. I still think we need to bring two or three players in different areas.
I hope most will stay because we have a great dressing room now. When I first came to the club there were four or five little cliques and if you have that in your dressing room you wonít do anything. Now the dressing room is one. People work together and it really is a joy to go in to. They are together as a team, they work for each other and play for each other and it shows on the park. They are a great set of boys.

Q. A few weeks ago we would have given in when the opposition scored two like they did on Wednesday we donít now. What do you put that down to?

A. (JMG) We nearly did !! No, I think itís because we have better players at the club now. More resilient people who will not accept defeat. And that shows on the park. It goes back to the spirit in the dressing room. They now want to work for each other and help each other. If one of the players is not having a good game the others will work and help him because they know it might be them who needs their team mates help next time.

Q. Are we in a position to put more players on a contract?

A. (JMG) We do have a few players on contracts but Iím hoping for a few more. Ideally you need your backbone of the team on contracts, your two centre backs, midfield and strikers. But it will depend on the budget. Itís good that now we have players ringing us up and asking to play because they have heard good things about Gresley Rovers and that we play good football. Last year the phone didnít ring once!

I donít think we will need more than two players next season. Hopefully, the players we have will see what is happening and will want to stay.
So, by the end of this season we will have most players signed. We have some players who could play at a higher level and we need to get them on contracts, if not someone could come and put in seven days for one of our players and they could walk out and the club get nothing.

Q. Any chance of promotion this season?

A. (JMG) No. Weíve drawn too many home games this season. We do well against the top sides but not so well against those in the lower positions of our league. I think we have left ourselves too much to do.

Q. Could we make use of the new local facilities for training?

A. (ME) We do use Repton School, Shobnall, Pingle School and Ashby and hopefully we will be using Stapenhillís ground also. We are in constant discussions with South Derbyshire District Council about the lack of suitable floodlit training facilities. They are aware of our frustration in not having suitable facilities for training.

Q. Next year we are hopefully going for promotion and if we are successful where will that leave the club with regards joining the Dr Martens Premier or would we be looking to join the Unibond League?

A. (ME) The directors and the club management have no plans to go into the Unibond as it would not be in the best interest for the club. There is a proposed National restructuring of non-league football planed and Unibond League are not as well placed as the other Leagues in their negotiations with the FA and clubs are applying to join the Southern League. We are more than aware of our geographic location and aware of the restructuring going on. Gresley needs to continue on what itís doing now playing good football, attracting good crowds and controlling its finances. Restructuring when it comes in probably two years time will be based on a number of factors. The ability of the club to survive, people through the turnstiles, how it is structured, how itís financial base is let alone its footballing ability. We are very conscious of that. At the moment we will certainly qualify for a Midlands Division which would give us the opportunity to get into a semi-national league if we won that. There is an outside chance that we could qualify straightaway for a semi-national league depending on how well we continue to develop between now and when the new structure comes in.

With regards to the Moat Ground, we have to maintain a measured approach with what we do. There are still legal issues surrounding this ground and all but signing a piece of paper that is resolved and our future here is intact. That will then put us in a position to move forwards with regards to the Moat Ground. We believe there is a minimal amount we need to do to this ground to achieve the grading to go up into the Dr Martens Premier League. If we are talking about the Conference then Gresley would need to move. That move would need money which Gresley doesnít have at present. Our immediate concerns are for the continual development of this football club both financially and on the field and by doing what we can to this ground to ensure we take the measured steps we need to take. The immediate future is the Moat Ground.

Q. What have been the high and low points of your time at Gresley?

A. (JMC) When I came I could have got rid of twenty players easily. Some did not care whether we won or lost. The 5-0 home defeat against Solihull broke my heart Ė I couldnít believe it. I can take a defeat but itís the manner in how you get beat. To be honest I canít see anyone beating us 5-0 again.
The high point was the final whistle in the final game at the end of last season. I was pleased we had survived in this league.

Q. How has your job progressed on a personal level? Was it what you expected?

A. (JMG) It is harder than I thought. One of the hardest things a manager has to do is get rid of players and I had so many in a short time. I like to talk to them face to face, just as I do when Iím signing players, I like to look them in the eye to see if they mean what they are saying. You do get attached to some players. You try not to but you do. And itís really hard to tell them that they have to leave the club.

Q. What are your aims for next year? And are loan players vital or a bonus?

A. (JMG) Loan players are essential. We need to have them in an emergency when you have a player injured for a few weeks. It helps the loan player as much as it helps us because they come in and play against a good standard and it toughens them up. We have a good relationship with Notts County and they will help us out if need be. What pleased me was how the players played when they came in. You donít know what these loan playersí attitudes will be on coming down to Gresleyís level of football from a professional club like Notts County or Derby County. But the ones we have had have been great and an asset to the club.
Next season. Who knows? You have to weigh up who is coming down from the Premier division are they financially strong and will they spend to get back up? Or will they cut their budget and become a mid table side? So we donít know how strong the league will be.

I believe that the cream rises to the top during the season so our lads have done really well up to now but there is a long way to go. They have got to work really heard for the rest of the season to stay in the top six.
Iím looking for an improvement next season. But what is an improvement? If we finish sixth this year. then fifth next year that would be an improvement. It depends on the players we keep, the financial situation and of course the support. The directors, players, management and supporters all need to get involved.
We can beat anyone in this league but also anyone can beat us so we need consistency. We are not far away from being a good side.

Mark Evans closed the evening with a statement:

This is an important time in the history of Gresley Rovers. We are at a crossroads we could go forwards or we could go backwards. The directors understand that there are enormous pressures on football clubs to sort out their finances with the FA requiring clubs to have audits, present plans; having financial stability is a factor going forward. We are subject to that test as much as other clubs and we are well on the way. We are into the second year and Gresley are up to date and on time with that process. We have fulfilled all the criteria that has been asked of us by the FA and our own league and we are one of few clubs that have reached that stage; many clubs have failed to comply.
With regards to the league, they now recognise that Gresley means business from an administrative and management point of view.

When I first got involeved I went to social and offical meetings and I had to put up with constant outspoken criticsm of this football club and I didnít know anything about it then and I was quite shocked. People within the FA and our own league critisied this club because we had renaged on many promises. But over the last two years we have proved ourselves but we still have a lot to do. There are still some people within those organisations who are just waiting for us to trip up and we could so easily trip up. While me and the rest of the directors will not take our eyes of the ball it is becoming increasingly hard to control.

We are now entering a competitive market. We donít just compete against other football clubs, we compete with shopping centres and cinemas for people to come through our turnstiles.

We have to keep improving; we cannot afford to stagnate. If we do then we will lose managers and players and we will lose the supporters. We will then go into a decline and there have been some big teams that have done just that.

At Gresley Rovers we are prepared to try new things. We started a junior section and we are hoping to increase that next season. The juniors are bringing in new people to the club.

I love this club and we need to match what John, Alan and Andy are doing on the park. John wants to take this club forward and we all need to pull together.

The one thing we have at this club in abundance is a passion and a determination.
We have all done so much but there is still so much more to do.
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League Position
  Team P GD Pts
12 Belper Town 34 -23 42
13 Loughborough Dynamo 35 -20 37
14 Spalding United 31 -10 36
15 Carlton Town 26 5 33
16 Peterborough Sports 33 -16 32
17 Kidsgrove Athletic 30 -14 31
18 Newcastle Town 33 -19 31
19 Gresley 29 -18 30
20 Market Drayton Town 32 -35 29
21 Romulus 34 -35 28
22 Sheffield FC 31 -20 27

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Sheffield FC
Sat, 24th Mar 2018, 3.00pm (Home)
Newcastle Town
Tue, 27th Mar 2018, 7.45pm (Home)
Spalding United
Thu, 29th Mar 2018, 7.45pm (Home)
Carlton Town
Sat, 31st Mar 2018, 3.00pm (Home)
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