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Story posted: Wednesday, 22nd December 2004

Manager's Christmas message
Gary Norton

Gary Norton

As we are near the end of the year most of us will be thinking about the Christmas season and the festivities that this time of year brings. For a very short period of time, we will all place football on the back burner and enjoy the day with our families.
On behalf of the players, backroom staff and myself I would like to offer all our supporters an excellent Christmas followed by a peaceful and prosperous new year. I hope you all enjoy the love of your family, the support and warmth of your friends and the magic of this special time of year.

We are almost at the half way point of our league season and I think most will agree that we are doing reasonably well. Anyone connected with the club would have taken the position we are in at this stage if offered it at the start of the season. The hardest part will be to ensure we maintain things and stay up there with the leading pack.

Some of our rivals have shown their ambitions by splashing out recently on strengthening their squads ready for the second half of the campaign. In comparison we have assembled an excellent squad this season on a modest budget and it's one to be proud of. I know that the majority of players here are capable of earning much more elsewhere playing their football at a higher level. You only have to recall the amount of interest we have had in members of our squad this season so far. To date we have lost only Karl Brown, Jimmy Turner and Chris Gray to clubs from higher leagues things could have been much, much worse as several other players have had other clubs trying to tempt them away. It is indeed the most frustrating part of the job but one that I have become used to on a day-to-day basis. Whilst I would love to be able to place all our top players on contracts and indeed start planning for next season, the clubs finances dictate what we are and are not able to do and if we want a club at all to support in the future then we must stick to the forecasts and budgets prudently set by the Chairman and his board. Whilst a few other sides can go out and do what they want with money no object we simply can't and have to rely on wheeling and dealing the best we can with a small squad of hardworking, committed, quality players sometimes complimented, when we get injuries, with youngsters from the club's other sides or short term loan signings.

For good reason in press and post match interviews we have spoken so far this season only about our promotion ambitions in terms of our target of a top 6 finish. Even now I still think in those terms but the players and my backroom staff and I are fully aware that the expectation levels around the place have been rising for some time after our good start. However, I feel it important that we continue to try and keep our feet on the ground and not get complacent. We have achieved nothing yet and how often in the past have good starts counted for nothing. It's a marathon and not a sprint and we are just about to complete the first lap. We will take things game by game and see where that approach gets us.

In the New Year, we not only have our league ambitions to think about and look forward too. In mid January, we have the exciting prospect of a 3rd round FA Trophy tie at Nationwide Conference Tamworth. This should be a fantastic day and will be a huge challenge for the Players and Management. We will give absolutely everything on the day to ensure that we come out of the day with pride and our heads held high. Many of you will recall the Southport experience a few short seasons ago and I will be using that example to the players in the build up to the game because you never know what can happen in football. That's one of the reasons we all love it so much. Towards the end of the month we also have a home tie in the Semi-Final of the Derbyshire Senior Cup against Glossop as we bid to go one step further than last year in the competition. It would be fantastic if we could get to the final, especially after going out of the competition at this stage last term.

In conclusion, the season has so far been a good one both on and off on the pitch. You can rest assured that everyone at the club will be trying our hardest to try and maintain things in the second half of the season. It isn't going to be easy and we will no doubt have sticky patches along the way as most teams do. The key is to try and minimise our bad patches if and when they happen. Your support on the terraces and at the clubs social events not only plays a huge part in our success but it is vital to the club as a whole. With your continued support next year lets hope that it ends up being a season we can all look back on with good memories.

Best wishes to you all for Christmas and the New Year.

Gary Norton
Manager, Gresley Rovers Football Club
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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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