Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
Promotion-chasing Garforth Town manager Paul Marshall has no intention of retiring any time soon as he prepares to commemorate his 1000th game in management.
Marshall joins an exclusive club containing the likes of former Harrogate Town, Hatfield Main and Denaby manager John Reed and ex-Marine boss Roly Howard.
Marshall, whose greatest achievement is guiding Harrogate Railway to the FA Cup second round tie with Bristol City in 2002, celebrates the landmark when Garforth host Penistone on Saturday.
“It is such a difficult question because sometimes when I’m stood there and it is pouring down and windy, you’re thinking ‘what am I doing stood on a side-line at 60-year-old’,” Marshall told Non League Yorkshire.
“But you take inspiration from Steve Bruce, Roy Hodgson, all these managers who don’t need the money.
“They come back into it because they love the game and I think that is what it is with me.
“I just love the game and love talking about football and improving players and clubs.
“I’ve improved most clubs I’ve been at so I enjoy creating a winning mentality at clubs.
“The goal here at Garforth is to try and finish second, that’s the short-term goal.
“The long-term goal is to try and improve the club which we have done in the last two years.
“I’m quite happy here and I think (the owners) Brian (Close) and Craig (Bannister) are happy for me to do it again next season – not that we have discussed it yet.”
Marshall’s landmark will bring razzmatazz as even his wife is making a rare appearance.
However, the Garforth is keen to emphasis the Penistone clash is huge because of the stakes at the top end of the table.
“I don’t want my celebration to take anything away from the occasion as it is a massive game because we still have a chance of finishing second,” he said.
“But the wife and her sister and brother-in-law are coming over and we’ll probably go out for a meal in the evening.
“The wife only comes to the big games.
“She went to the Bristol City game but she doesn’t even watch Charlie very often because she doesn’t like getting cold.”
The managerial journey began with Harrogate Town – a story in itself considering where the club is now – before his unforgettable time with Railway.
His time with Railway is notable for the cup run but one lesser known aspect of his reign was that he actually quit as manager after a few months in the role following a heavy defeat to Liversedge.
“It is really amazing, especially considering the start I had when I managed to keep Harrogate Town up (in the old NPL Division One),” he said.
“I then went to Railway after Dave Fell and Rob Hunter had got them promoted (to NCEL Division One) and we did it on a shoestring.
“You know the story (of losing 10-0 to Liversedge in my first season) and I handed my resignation in so I could have been finished as a manager back in 1999.
“(Then-Railway secretary) Mick Gray to his credit said the club didn’t want me to resign and the rest is history 900 more games on.”
Successful followed with Railway, Goole, Tadcaster and Pickering.
He hopes to add more with Garforth.
Marshall has been assisted by Rob Hunter, Mark Smitheringale, Mick Margis, Mikey Morton, Simon Collins, Michael Reynolds, Denny Ingram over the years.
His first assistant during his Harrogate Town reign was actually his brother Sean who is one of Frickley Athletic’s most successful managers.
“He came to help me at Harrogate Town and when I got sacked there (after a takeover), he said ‘I’ve had enough of stupid chairman’,” he said.
“He got National League manager of the year for Frickley (in the 1980s) on a shoestring budget.
“He knew what he was doing and he should have been in the game a lot longer.
“He knows I enjoy managing and I think he’s very proud of me, like I was very proud of him during his playing career.
“But I don’t think he ever thought I’d carry on from Harrogate Town to Garforth Town and I’ve even managed his son (Richard) and his grandson (Owen).”
Now into his 25th year of management, Marshall attributes his longevity to his contacts.
“I think it is because I’ve had a good knowledge of local league players and I used to watch a lot of games locally because I was always working on a shoestring at most clubs I’ve been at,” he said.
“You’d find a good player and they’d say ‘my mate is quite good, he’ll fit into this team’ and you’d invite them down.
“I’ve invited numerous kids down over the years, players no-one has fancied and I’ve got them to play well for me.
“It is all about having contacts.
“When you have contacts in Non League, you either have local league contacts or expensive contacts.
“Some managers just go for the expensive contacts.
“I have never been able to do that, I’ve always had to look lower league players and try to make them into better players.”