Belper United face many changes in the new season having moved into the the seventh tier of the league pyramid for the first time in their history.
They have left behind the Midland Regional Alliance and gone into the Central Midlands League South.
This is a big leap for the club, both in terms of standard of football and standard of facilities, plus a higher level of professionalism in both league structure and the clubs they will be playing.
Steve Watson formerly of Belper Town, and lately Holbrook St Michael’s, becomes joint manager with Steve Polombo and will be bringing vast experience to the club.
And physio, Chris Bridges, will remain to aid the first team.
Many new players have expressed an interest to join the club when pre-season starts on June 21, with several from the leading MRA clubs, wishing to make the step up to Central Midlands football.
Pre-season friendlies have been arranged against Dronfield Town, Stapenhill, with the club also defending the Stan Brewster Charity Competition which begins for Belper on Thursday, July 7.
Off the field, plans are afoot for a catering unit located at Milton Manor, alongside a small covered stand both of which are requirements for the league.
United’s loyal ‘Green Army’ following will need no longer need to stand in the rain.
Phil Carter without whom the club would not function, will continue his role on match days, although after many years of being involved, brother Glyn Carter, has reduced his involvement due to work commitments.
New secretary, Colin Davies, has settled in well and the club looks stronger off the field than for many years.
The reserves have joined the Central Midlands Reserve Premier League, and will compete against Basford Reserves, Bulwell Town Reserves, Calverton MW Reserves, Clipstone MW Reserves, Harworth Colliery Reserves, Kirkby Town Reserves, Kniveton Park Reserves, Newark Town Reserves, Nottingham United Reserves, Ollerton Town Reserves, Parkhouse Reserves, Southwell City Reserves, Thorseby CW Reserves and Matlock Town Reserves, so they also will be expecting a big step up in standard.
Neil Bamford has stepped down as Steve Marshall’s assistant, but replacing him is Mark Bailey, who previously played for united and is involved with youth football. Ron Buzzard joins the club as his physio, giving the reserves a very strong management team, who hope to repeat the successors of the previous couple of years.
For the first time United are organising a five-a-side tournament to be held on Saturday, July 2, at Belper Rugby Club, and 24 teams have already entered.
The club hope to make this an annual event with a presentation of trophies directly after the event.
Also on Monday, June 20, the club hold a presentation evening at the Welcome Tavern, Mill Lane, for the respective charities to benefit from the Nursing Cup, of which United retained in May.
Exciting times ahead for United, with the hope to consolidate, then go on and be successful in the Central Midlands League, the Club works hard to make the move with Darren Mayes, Mat Herrett and John Taylor all helping out in differing roles.
The other teams in the new league with Belper are AFC Hucknall, Basford United, Barlborough Pelican, Blidworth MW, Bulwell Town, Calverton MW, Clifton FC, Clipstone MW, Kimberley Town, Kirkby Town, Newark Town, Notts Police, Pinxton FC, Real United, South Normanton FC, Southwell City, Sutton Town and Whatton United