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Story posted: Friday, 25th June 2004

Fans Forum Transcript
The abridged transcript from the recent Fans Forum is now online.
Held on Friday 25th June 2004 in the Social Club.

Q: Gary, what are you expectations for next season?

Gary Norton (GN): I would like to think we could finish in the top six for a play-off place at the very least. Obviously I'd prefer to finish in the top two so we don't have to be involved in the play-offs.

Q: How are things progressing with regards to signing new players?

GN: Things are going very well. You've probably seen in the local press that we have already signed Matt Smith, Carl Slater, Richard Wardle, Ian Bluck, Jamie Hood and Gary White. We have also signed Justin Rowe, a striker who was on Telford's books last season and played in a few game for us on loan at the end of the season. He was made offers from other clubs but said he wanted to join us and I'm delighted. Justin will score goals but I don't want to heap all the responsibilities on his shoulders so we are still looking for another forward.

We have signed another couple of players who will be revealed shortly and we are still talking to other members of last season's squad so things are going well at present.

We start training Saturday and there will be a few players who will be there to have a look at us as well as we having a look at them.

Q: Are you expecting a more physical type of football in the UniBond league?

GN: A lot has been said about the physical nature of the game in the Northern League and yes, I'm expecting to meet some physical sides who will have two big defenders, two big midfielders and a big forward to bang in the goals as the spine of their team. Other teams will, however, try and play football. We played a couple in the cup competitions last season and they all tried to play football.

Q: Did you learn much from last season?

GN: Yes, an awful lot. As I've already said before last season was a very steep learning curve for me. I was surprised and honoured to be asked to become the manager of Gresley Rovers last summer and yes I made a few mistakes. I acknowledged those mistakes and learnt from them and I feel the experience will stand me in good stead for this season.

Q: How is the purchase of the Moat Ground going?

Mark Evans (ME): The contracts are with the lawyers at present who are ensuring that everything is correct and watertight for Gresley Rovers football club. We need to be 100 per cent sure that there is nothing that could possibly come back to haunt us in the future.

I'm hoping that contracts will be exchanged around the middle of July and that we will own the Moat Ground before the season begins.

Q: Is sponsorship still coming in?

ME: Yes, I'm pleased to say. It's going well with more sponsors coming on board and I'm in discussions with the existing sponsors and with some potential sponsors. I will be announcing them as the pre-season progresses.

It is difficult to attract sponsors in the current financial climate but I'm encouraged at the positive response I'm getting from businesses.

Q: I've heard that some clubs in our league are increasing the entrance fee. Are Gresley?

ME: Our entrance fees for the new season have not yet been decided. These, along with season ticket prices, will be discussed at the next board meeting. The league set a minimum entrance fee but there is no maximum set.

There are a lot of issues to be taken in to account when setting those prices and we will announce the entrance fees shortly.

Q: Are you looking forward to the Bass Vase match against Burton Albion?

GN: Yes, very much so. It's good to play our local teams and especially Burton. I'd love to think that at some stage in the future we play regular competitive games against them again but that's not for now.

We will take the Bass Vase game seriously but we will not be going in with all guns blazing as I'm sure Nigel Clough won't. It is only a pre-season friendly and while we would all like to get one over on them I don't want to end up with injuries, etc, before the season starts.

I would like us to play a regular friendly with our neighbours as I feel it would be good for both clubs and both sets of supporters would enjoy it.

Nigel sent a strong side to the Moat Ground last September in a friendly to help us settle in the new players we'd brought in after our disastrous start to last season and I was extremely grateful for that. It was still good to beat them, though, after they had beaten us 3-0 previously at their place.

Q: Is it correct that the UniBond league only permit 3 subs?

GN: Yes, for UniBond matches they only allow 3 subs although for the FA Cup and Trophy 5 are allowed.

So, when we make the team selection we will have to ensure that all eventualities are taken into account.

Q: Will the UniBond cups be played in the same format as last season?

ME: We don't know as yet what format the cup competitions will take as the UniBond league has yet to decide.

Q: When can we expect to receive the fixtures?

ME: The fixtures should be published by the end of next week or early the following week.
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League Position
  Team P GD Pts
10 Highgate United 29 -3 38
11 South Normanton Athletic 26 0 37
12 Worcester City 26 11 36
13 AFC Wulfunians 31 -6 36
14 Coventry Sphinx 25 -19 34
15 Tividale 23 -4 27
16 Haughmond 29 -29 26
17 Racing Club Warwick 24 -29 24
18 Lye Town 28 -31 18
19 Gresley 26 -22 16
20 Selston 25 -38 13

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