Building on the last two years is at the forefront of Thackley manager Paddy McGuire’s mind as the start of the Toolstation NCEL Premier Division season looms.
Thackley have made steady progress under their young manager who has a very loyal band of players who have stuck by the club through thick-and-thin.
McGuire hopes the brick-by-brick approach will stand Thackley, who kick off their league campaign with the the local derby with Albion Sports at Dennyfield next Tuesday, in good stead.
“We will say just progression (for our aspirations),” McGuire told Non League Yorkshire.
“We look to build each year and improve each year. It would be foolish to say we’re going to this that or the other because every year every team changes quite drastically.
“Some have good a influx of money and get a group of players in and some might lose some money and players might move on.
“I thought this year might be a more level playing field, but it seems to be the absolute opposite. There’s some really large amounts of money flying about in our league which we can nowhere compete with.
“I know individual players are getting paid more than my entire weekly budget for the whole squad. That will bring its own pressures in the sense we may be a better side than we were last year, but that may not reflect that way in league positions.
“However, I don’t concern myself with what anyone else is doing or what money is being spent. I like to concentrate on us and making our team better.
“What we have got is a lot of young lads who have now played a lot of football together so for them they will all become better players this year. It is another year of following the way we want to play so everyone should be clued in which I’m hoping may give us a head-start on teams who maybe have brought in eight or nine players in.
“In my head I’ve got goals of where I’d like us to be and sort of points total I’d like to achieve, but obviously I’m not going to say them publicly. The players know exactly where I want us to be and it is down to us to try and achieve that over the course of a long and tough season.”
The new Premier Division campaign is tipped to be the most exciting since the 2014/15 season when Shaw Lane Aquaforce, Worksop Town, Tadcaster Albion and Cleethorpes Town were involved in a gripping title race.
McGuire agrees that it has all the hallmarks of a potentially captivating year.
He said: “Usually you look at the league table and you think ‘they’re going to be up there, they’re going to be down there, where are we going to fit into this’?
“I was looking at the league table the other day and you cannot pick where someone is going to end up. Teams who have been struggling last year have improved and got good players in.
“There’s usually someone way off struggling at the bottom of the league, but it doesn’t look like it will be the case at all. I think it is going to be a very competitive league and it will come down to consistency.
“I think three going up makes it more competitive and it makes everyone have a sniff right through the year. With one going up, the league is done by Christmas and it is about ‘can you finish as high you can’?
“It will be interesting, but I’d prefer it if two went up and there were play-offs. I think that would make it even more competitive and it would be a great addition to our league.”
Thackley’s First Five Fixtures (from the official start date)
September 18th – Durham City (A) – FA Vase
September 22nd – Albion Sports (H)
September 26th – Bridlington Town (A)
October 3rd – Maltby Main (H)
October 8th – Hemsworth Miners Welfare (H)
If you have enjoyed reading Non League Yorkshire over the past few months, please consider making a donation to the not-for-profit organisation NLY Community Sport which provides sport for children and adults with disabilities and learning difficulties. CLICK HERE to visit the JustGiving page. There is a video at the bottom of the page showing our work.
NLY Community Sport, run by James Grayson and Connor Rollinson, has always had combatting social isolation at the top of our objectives when running our Disability Football teams. As we slowly return to ‘action’, our work will play an important role in reintroducing our players, who have disabilities and learning difficulties, back into society.
We have six teams, a mixture of Junior and Adult teams – Nostell MW DFC, Pontefract Pirates, Selby Disability Football Club and the South Yorkshire Superheroes (Barnsley) – across Yorkshire.
We have enjoyed great success over the past three years. Several of our players have represented Mencap GB in Geneva, including Billy Hobson from Selby and Greg Smith, whose story is quite inspiring.
Like most organisations, we have been affected financially by the Coronavirus and because of the cancelled Lucille Rollinson Memorial Tournament, we are down on projected income for the year and we have incurred losses in the last few months.
We have not been hit as badly as other organisations, but we do need raise £2000 to put us back at the level we were at in mid-March and enable us to make a difference once again to our players’ lives in the future, without having financial worries. Several of our players are suffering from effects of the lockdown and we are determined to be in the strongest position possible to provide services for them.
Any amount raised above £2000 will be put towards new projects (when the world returns to normal) designed to further benefit people with disabilities and learning difficulties. You can learn more about the organisation HERE and on our Facebook page.
Watch the video below to see highlights from our three years as an organisation. The video was produced for our players at the end of March to remind them of good memories from the last three years.