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Story posted: Friday, 1st August 2003

Gary Norton new first team manager
Gary Norton & Mark Evans

Gary Norton & Mark Evans

Gresley Rovers Football Club is pleased to announce the appointment of Gary Norton as first team manager. Gary, the reserve team manager was appointed caretaker manager after the resignation of Jon Newsome.
Chairman Mark Evans said at today's press conference: "We received 16 applications for the manager's post. The board of directors then made a short list of six, of which Gary was one, and authorised me to carry out private interviews with the candidates prior to the full board interviews at which all directors were present and fully involved.

"Those interviews were rigorous and afterwards there was a brief discussion between the directors. After which followed a unanimous decision that Gary should be offered the appointment. We are delighted that he has accepted and we believe it demonstrates quite clearly to everyone involved in the club that succession and progression is something that is achievable and possible and sends out a message that people can be all they want to be.

"We've seen that over the last couple of seasons with the progress that's been made with players moving from the reserves to the first team.

"I think we are very fortunate to have within our ranks somebody who is not only willing to take over as manager but someone who is very proud to take over as manager of Gresley Rovers Football Club.

"We are more than happy that Gary has the relevant experience, management skills and tactical knowledge to develop Gresley Rovers further.

"When Jon Newsome resigned it was only fair that Gary should be considered for the position. He has, without doubt, over the last years shown a great promise and he's achieved a great amount within the reserves. We have seen players move through the reserves and are now holding regular places in the first team. Not because of injuries but because they are there on their own skill. Gary has shown that he has management skills within the reserves, he's developed a fantastic team spirit among those players and we would want to see that in the first team.

"He has playing experience having played over 150 games at levels similar to Gresley's. We initially asked him to become the caretaker manager and we were conscious that we were in a pre-season environment and that there needed to be a very quick decision and transition into pre-season. Training needed to be done; coaching needed to be done and obviously players needed to be brought to the club to strengthen the squad.

"At no time was it a foregone conclusion. The day Jon resigned the board met and a discussion was held on the caretaker position and that was agreed straightaway and we then decided to advertise the post. I'd spoken to Gary and suggested he apply but he had not made a decision at point whether to apply. Another director spoke with him and convinced him he should. We received the applications a copy of which went to every director and interviews arranged. On the basis of those interviews, and they were all good interviews and very good candidates, the board unanimously agreed to pick Gary. The decision was made last weekend and during this week Gary and I have met to discuss the role and the things we want to change within it.

"Obviously the reserve team will be saddened to lose their manager but I know that they will be delighted and will congratulate Gary on his promotion. We will have a short review between ourselves to see how we will proceed with the reserves etc. It is envisaged that Simon Van de Broucke will assume the position of Reserve Team manager and Bob Corner will be the manager of the Youth Team.

"The one thing that will be different this year, which we started to see during the last two seasons, is that the reserves and the first team will train together. We will formally introduce a squad type approach to training. That will give not only the manager the opportunity to see the potential talent available but will also encourage those players that are in the reserves that they have the opportunity to catch the manager's eye.

Gary Norton's remarks

"I've been down to the thick skin shop which I think I will need. I know it's going to be a massive challenge and realise there will be a few sceptics which gives me even more determination to succeed. The coaching side of things is not an issue. You've only got to ask the players about pre-season. They've thoroughly enjoyed it and in the pre-season games to date we look a far fitter side and people have commented on that.

"As Mark has already said, I was initially asked to become caretaker manager which was a surprise in it's self. I was honoured to do it and as we got into pre-season I got more and more enthusiastic about actually applying but I was still sitting on the fence. I spoke to Alan Titterton and a few others and then I got a call from one of the directors just to say 'give it a go and see what happens' and since then I've thrown everything into training and I'm really looking forward to it.

"I don't have to justify my appointment to anybody only the board and the players. I want us to have a good start to the season and to establish ourselves in the league and demonstrate to the sceptics that it is a good appointment. I've go no doubts whatsoever about it.

"I was a little unsure as to whether to apply because of the lack of experience in management at this level. I was hearing 'Gary hasn't got the experience of this and that' and I discussed it with Mark and I thought about it long and hard myself. In my career I done very well at a young age and I see this job not necessarily the experience of playing at this level or higher, but as a man management skill. I have a skilled resource who are the players and I got to manage those guys to get the best out of them. I have to plan training and other things to bring the squad together and it's a skill I'm very good at.

"I've learned a lot off Jon Newsome and John McGinlay in past seasons picking bit and bobs up from them. And even Brian Kenning when I was brought in to help Alan with the reserves. Alans been a great help to me in the five years I've been here helping in the reserves. I learn and I pick things up very quickly but I know I'm going to make mistakes.
"I spoke to Jon Newsome earlier in the week and he was an ex-professional footballer who's won things at the top and he's made many mistakes and he told me not to be scared to make mistakes but to learn from them.

"I told the board that I will make mistakes as anyone does whether they be ex-professionals or established at this level and I'm not scared of doing the same and learning from them.

"The players were also influential in my decision to apply for the job. I was pleased and very surprised at the number of players who phoned me personally or took me to one side at training and encouraged me to apply. Several of the senior players at the club said they would stay if I was involved in any way which gave me the spur to apply.

"Now that the position is official I've got the chance to start and put my own stamp of authority on the team. I think the guys will respond to it. I've got management techniques for every occasion; it's similar in a working environment and in life. It's the same in the dressing room. We will give the players respect. Neither Alan or myself are bombastic people or teacup throwers. There will be people we will need to have an arm around their shoulders and encourage and some we will need to be stern with at times. The players know this and respect those views. I've spoken to all the squad at length about selection for pre-season and they understand the reason behind what we are doing.

"At the end of the day every decision made in the football team will be for the best of Gresley Rovers in my opinion. And the players understand that.

"I feel that the pre-season couldn't have gone much better. Alan and Mick Lonergan in particular have been a massive help. I spoke to the players at the start of and during pre-season and thanked them for their efforts because it has been difficult with the uncertainty around the club. The players that have stuck with the club have given an indication of how the pre-season has gone. We have lost, to date, Stuart Evans and Mark Peters who both indicated at the end of last season when we met with the players that they would not be returning to the club and James Lindley who needed to find a club nearer home because of his work situation.

"There was speculation that we'd lose Chris Gray and Gary White and I was delighted when they both decided to sign along with Richard Wardle and Ian Bluck because it demonstrated confidence in what we were trying to do at the club.

"With the contacts that Alan has we've been able to bring in players this summer. Alan tried to get defender John Williamson to the club last season but he was recovering from an operation on his foot but he's signed now and he'll be a great addition to the club. He's back in training and he's looked awesome in the air. Matt Smith is a massive signing for us. We began talking to Matt before Jon resigned and it's a tribute to Mark and Alan professionalism in their negotiations that they still got his signature. Matt could have quite easily said 'I'll wait to see what happens'. We've lost Stuart Evans but added both Matt and John to the defence.

"It was blow to lose Mark Peters, and good luck to him, but I think we've got more strength and depth in midfield now.

"Up front is still an issue. Neil Kitching has come back and looks a different player, fitter than he has been for the last two seasons. He's hungry and we hope he steers clear of injury. Ian Pitts come in. There are many sceptics to that decision. Yes, there were issues surround his last spell here like joining Burton Albion. But if he scores goals for Gresley Rovers then he will soon win the fans back round. He scored two on his debut and the few that were making negative comments were clapping him when he got his second! But that's football for you.

"Steve Rutter has left us to join Chattam. We had a chat with him earlier this week and he'd decided to join them. To be honest we weren’t planning too much around Steve. He had agreed to play in the next two friendlies and had been training with Maidstone. But in honesty Alan and I had discounted him. We are still on the look out for forwards. We've got one or two triallists and there are lads in the reserves who we are looking at as well. But I feel we need to bring in one more experienced guy in.

"Now that the appointment's been made Mark, Alan and myself need to sit down and look at the budget. I've got significantly less than the budget Jon Newsome had but that's not an issue to me at all. We are judged on results and the league table and you won't hear me moaning about the budget.

"We've gone through it and I've spoken to many of the players and they understand the situation and they want to play for Gresley Rovers Football Club. We've brought more triallists in this year than in the past couple of years. There are players we've been talking to who, because of the management situation, wouldn't commit to coming or even entertain coming because a new manager may want to bring in his own players and they are out in the cold. Now it's official we'll be working very hard over the next couple of weeks to bring people in.

"If not I think we are in a fairly decent shape at the moment for the start of the season, but we will be working hard to bring in people in.

"There are still a few players who have yet to sign and we'll be sitting down with them over the next few days.

"We've discussed what constitutes a satisfactory season because I'm very much a person who sets targets and goals. I do have my goal for the club but I won't reveal that. I have it at home written down and in an envelope. Logically to finish higher than last year with a budget significantly less would, in some people's eyes, be a successful season. But I've set my eyes a little bit higher than that. We know it's going to be tough and I got a very steep learning curve. But we'll be giving it our best shot and I'm proud to be the manager of Gresley Rovers. I'll be giving it 1000 percent and anyone who knows me knows that I throw myself head and shoulders into anything. I have the full support of my family and they know what a big commitment it is and I'll be working tirelessly to ensure we do as well as we can."
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League Position
  Team P GD Pts
10 Marske United 23 13 34
11 Cleethorpes Town 23 6 33
12 Lincoln United 26 -9 33
13 Frickley Athletic 24 -11 29
14 Wisbech Town 23 -5 25
15 Pickering Town 22 -11 24
16 Spalding United 25 -15 24
17 Carlton Town 24 -8 23
18 Stocksbridge Park Steels 24 -17 23
19 AFC Mansfield 23 -15 22
20 Gresley 24 -33 21

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Forthcoming Fixtures
Ossett United
Sat, 26th Jan 2019, 3.00pm (Home)
Pickering Town
Sat, 2nd Feb 2019, 3.00pm (Home)
Ossett United
Sat, 9th Feb 2019, 3.00pm (Away)
Stamford AFC
Sat, 16th Feb 2019, 3.00pm (Away)
Morpeth Town Action
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