‘Feel good factor around Belper Town’ - Grant Black

Belper Town manager Grant Black.
Belper Town manager Grant Black.

Nailers boss Grant Black says he can feel a buzz around the town following his first season in charge.

Belper Town finished the 2018/19 campaign on a high with a five-game unbeaten run for a ninth-placed finish in the Evo-Stik NPL East Division.

Work continues during the off-season in adding the few players of quality to Black’s squad to help their push for the play-offs next time around.

While there have been notable improvements around the ground and more planned with a new pitch and refurbishment of the dressing rooms and board room to follow.

Black said: “There were a few eyebrows raised when we took the job, based on a few other clubs we’d turned down at the time, but we knew the potential the club has and we knew the ideas the club had.

“This chairman is relentless.

“He’s not chucking money at it but he’s pushing standards. The club sells itself. We get players to come down and have a look round and it’s a done deal the majority of the time, and they’re looking to improve that more.

“It’s exciting times. We’ve seen the attendance double this season. There’s a buzz around the town and if we can get off to a good start then that will only increase and that’s what we want. We want that feel-good factor and that will spread on to the pitch.

“We’re all pulling in the same direction from board room level to playing level - that gives us half a chance to start with. Fans have liked what they’ve seen this year.”

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And added: “Players have got family and friends coming to more games now.

“There is a welcoming feel about the club and that really does help to get more fans through the gate, or to persuade a player to come instead of another club.

“All these things add up to help get players over the line and as long as we can keep doing the business on the pitch - we want to do even better next year - then we’ll be aiming for the play-offs. If we can get what we want in then there’s no reason why we can’t push for promotion.”

Danny South, George Milner, Derry Robson, Danny Gordon, Cameron Clark, Nathan Curtis, Sam Colbear, Liam Owen, Leigh Overton and Alex Peterson have already committed to next season.

While Black was delighted to secure another piece of business, in the arrival of central midfielder Sam Wright from Sheffield FC.

Wright, who Black and assistant Mick Norbury know well from their time at Ossett, was part of the Sheffield side which reached the play-offs last season.

He is described as a “hard working midfielder who loves a tackle, works box-to-box really well and his arrival will certainly add qulity to the Nailers’s squad.”