Kiveton Park manager Chris Nelson admits it will be a massive “upset” if his side reach the quarter-finals of the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior League Cup, but his men are going to give it their best shot.
Rotherham-based village club Kiveton have been paired with fellow Division One side South Kirkby and Premier Division giants Wombwell Main and Penistone Church reserves.
Wombwell and Church are red hot favourites to progress into the knockout stages and Nelson is aware of the hard task his side face.
“Realistically it is going to be tough for us,” Nelson told Non League Yorkshire.
“But to be honest we have fancied ourselves to be in the Premier for the last couple of years.
“(Before the 2019/20 season got null and void) with games-in-hand we were there or there abouts (near the promotion spots) and this season we were doing well.
“We’ve played teams like Penistone before in the cups and done well and only lost by the old goal so I think we’ll be competitive.
“Whether we beat them is another matter.
“I think we’ll hold our own and that is all I’m asking for really.
“(If we got to the quarter-finals) it would be a great achievement and it would give us confidence for next season to know if we can get promoted that we can hold our own and compete in a higher division.
“But it would be an upset if we did (get to the quarter-finals). You’d expect Wombwell and Penistone to come out of that group.”
Win, lose or draw though, Nelson is delighted to be managing again and he’s pleased the league have created the competition as he believes it will be good for everyone concerned.
“I text round all the lads the other week as circumstances could have changed or they might not be feeling it, but I think pretty much every player is coming back to play,” he said.
“We have two sides (a reserve team in the Brian Bradley Cup as well) and I think we have 36 players who are all looking forward to coming back and playing.
“There was no chance of finishing the league and playing in June was never really going to be an option for everyone in terms of pitch availability.
“I think everyone is just looking forward to getting some competitive football.
“I don’t think anyone would have enjoyed sorting out friendlies again because we overdid friendlies in pre-season. With our season starting late we ended up playing eight or nine friendlies.
“I’m just glad the lads have got the opportunity to get back into it before next season.
“I feel for lads in the Northern Counties and Northern Premier because a lot of them aren’t going to be playing for seven months.”
Nelson, a player for Kiveton during their Central Midlands League days, has been first team manager since 2013, but his affiliation goes back further as he has been with the club almost man and boy as he first joined when he was 16 nearly 30 years.
Now one of the leading members of the club’s hierarchy, he has seen first hand the transformation of Kiveton from being a club who catered for the few to becoming a major community hub which at his own estimate has around 350 members.
“It is a completely different club to what it was when I was 16,” he said.
“It wasn’t really a community based club, there were just two men’s teams, that was it.
“There were no kids teams at all. There were no kids teams at all in Kiveton when I was growing up.
“Having kids teams in Kiveton only sort of started in the last ten years.
“I’m really proud of how the club has progressed.
“You can see that we’re getting more recognition and it is brilliant how things have come on in the last five years.
“I think moving the ground has brought the club together. Before we were on three different sites so no-one really knew each other.
“Most people associate Kiveton with playing at Hard Lane which was the old pit ground.
“We basically ran out of space at that ground and we didn’t have control of developing it so we went in partnership with the local Wales High School and we have leased their field.
“We have seven pitches on there and we have boys, girls, men and women from four-years-old all the way up to adults playing football.
“The move has brought the whole club together and we’re developing that site with changing rooms and we’ve just revamped a cafe and extended it into a clubhouse so we have our own little bar for after games.
“You get that community feel from the clubhouse and it feels like a proper club. Having a proper clubhouse is what I’ve always aspired to have.”
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. When we properly 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.
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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.