Paul Marshall’s Non League Journey 

Paul Marshall’s greatest achievement was guiding Harrogate Railway to the FA Cup second round in 2002

Garforth Town manager Paul Marshall has managed over 1000 Non League games.

He has won both the NCEL Premier Division and Division One titles and managed the likes of Tadcaster Albion, Pickering Town, Goole AFC, Harrogate Railway and Harrogate Town. 

Alongside three promotions, his greatest achievement is guiding Railway to the FA Cup second round in 2002.

He’s won a cup final after a rousing pre-match sing-song of ‘clap your hands if you’re happy you know it’, signed Gary McAllister on a generous deal and spent time with the SunSport girls in a sauna. 

It has been some adventure! 

This is Paul Marshall’s Non League Journey: 

Playing Career 

“I started at York City where I got offered an apprenticeship by Barry Lyons but but took a job as a mechanic instead as it was more money. I played locally for York Civil Service and we had a great team.

“I then went to Pickering Town for one season before I moved to Harrogate. I played for Harrogate Town Reserves for four-or-five games before I got into the first team and played in the West Riding County Cup final when we beat Goole in 1986. That was probably the only major trophy I won in Non League Football as a player.

“I broke my leg against Leeds United in a friendly in 1987 and I was in pot for just short of a year so that set me back. I got back playing but then me and mate Tony Wills decided to go travelling in Australia.

“I missed two years of playing while in Australia. I came back to Harrogate Town and managed to get back into the first team. John Reed may have been managing (during his first spell as Town boss) then. I then decided to go to America as I got the bug for travelling. 

“When I came back I couldn’t get in Harrogate Town’s first team and I played in the reserves. Dave Ledbetter, the Ossett Town manager, spotted me playing in the Reserves and said ‘tha could with you in tha team’. I said ‘I’m not a right-back, I’m a left-back’. He offered me money to go to Ossett. I was 33 or 34. I had a lovely year at Ossett Town.  

“I was player/manager of Harrogate Catholic Club and we started winning everything and (Harrogate Town general manager) Alan Smith saw I was doing well as a manager and he asked me to help Tony Vincent run the reserves. Within two weeks Tony was trying to take over the running Harrogate Town and had a big fall-out with the club and ended up leaving and going to Harrogate Railway. 

“That caused a bit of a stir and he took half of the players. I ended up managing Town Reserves, as player/manager and we ended up winning the Whitworth Cup. Me and Mick Margis were playing, as was Chip Skinner – I got all my old boys out of retirement and we managed to win the final against Beckwithshaw. That was my first year in management.

“I only managed the reserves for one year as Mick Doig left and I ended up getting the first team job.”

Harrogate Town manager (1997/98) 

“People probably don’t remember it at all. Alan Smith who was my first manager at Harrogate, and George Dunnington who both did everything to make sure it survived, they said to me ‘there’s a budget of £250 a week, we just need you make sure we finish third bottom in the old NPL Division One and keep us in this league’. That’s what we did because we finished fourth bottom. Workington and Buxton got relegated We had the lowest budget in the league.

“I remember the last game of the season. We were 2-0 down at Congleton. Me and Steve Hartley went on and we put Lee Harper up-top. He scored two goals and Andy Lawson who was a rapid kid from York and he scored two so we won 4-2. 

“It was hard though. I had two good lads from Bridlington. One was the goalkeeper Gavin Kelly who played for Bristol Rovers. That was his hardest ever season and he always reminds me of that every time I go to Brid. He always says ‘how did we manage to stay up’? He was superb for us, as was Lee Harper.

“I was a young manager with no money trying to make his way in management in the Northern Premier League. Nobody thought I would keep them up with no knowledge and experience. My brother Sean (the former Frickley manager) was my assistant but he wasn’t available all the time as he worked shifts at Nestle so for a lot of games I was on my own.

“It is high up on my achievements list and it got me going and gave me the buzz for management. If I hadn’t done so well at Harrogate Town I probably wouldn’t have got another job.

“It is incredible where the club is now and it is a lot of credit to a lot of the people like George and Alf Dunnington, Alan Smith, so many great people who kept it going through thick and thin.”  

“I’ll run naked round the Stray if we get relegated” 

“I got a phone call from Wendy Dube from the Harrogate Advertiser for the weekly interview during the (1996/97 season) and we must have been struggling and I said ‘we won’t get relegated’. Wendy said ‘what happens if you get relegated’? I jokingly said ‘I’ll run round the Stray naked’. She printed it! I couldn’t believe it. I said it as a throwaway line. Thank god no-one had to see that.”

Harrogate Town exit (August 1998)

“Maurice Hammond came in as owner a few weeks into my second season and said I didn’t have enough experience and sacked me on the Saturday morning. Maurice Hammond put ten thousand in on the Friday and George rang me on the Saturday morning. George was mortified as he didn’t want me to go because he knew how much hard work I had done for Harrogate Town over the 12 years I was involved at the club.”

Harrogate Railway (1999 to 2003)

“I think Steve Davey had gone down there and he had said ‘get Marsh in to do it, he’ll do a good job’. That wasn’t the case to start with as I had some low-points at Railway before I got it right there. I actually resigned at Railway during my first season after we got beat 10-0 by Liversedge.

“We had no money and we were struggling. Eric Gilchrist was the manager of Liversedge and I’ll never forget it.

“We went to Liversedge and they beat us 6-0, but we had them back-to-back and I said they won’t do that to us next week.

“Then as the goalkeeper picked the ball up to take the penalty at 9-0 with a minute to go I was cowering behind the dugout, thinking ‘oh my lord’.

“He scored and they beat us by ten and I resigned after the game but (secretary) Mick Gray said ‘I don’t want you to resign, you’re going to stick it out three more games and see where we are’.

“We won one, drew one and the other one got called off. The rest is history so to speak. I wouldn’t say I turned it around, we did enough to stay up ((in the NCEL Premier Division) in the first season. That’s all the club was bothered about. Railway had no money. We were doing it on £300 a week in the Premier Division so it was a difficult job to start with. 

“We progressed each year. We finished bottom in the first year. Then we finished higher. We also beat Bridlington over two legs in the President’s Cup final in the final season after the Bristol City game.”

FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie against Morecambe (2001)

“The Morecambe game was amazing. We were on the crest of a wave and I had some really good lads who were all gelling together and we had built a great team spirit. We were a good team. It was 2-2 in the 95th minute an I’m thinking ‘blimey we have held Morecambe from the Conference to a draw and we’re going there for a replay’. They got a corner at the top end at Railway. Jim Harvey was going mad with them as they put the ball in the box. They scored but he said he was playing hell because I wanted them to keep in the corner so they could take us back to Morecambe. That was the start of it and there was a buzz around Harrogate. Harrogate Town at that time had never got to the fourth qualifying round so we were the first team to do it.

“Because it was a big thing, Bryn Law from Sky Sports was there. He reminded me the following year that I said after we lost Morecambe that I’d said we’ll go one better next year!”

FA Cup Run (2002/03)

“The idea of Harrogate Railway playing Bristol City in the FA Cup second round live on Sky Sports was probably a million to one chance when you think where we were and where we had come from in the four years. I believe no team from our level had reached the FA Cup second round before. 

“Having a live Sky game is the pinnacle for any manager at my level. It was unheard of at the time. To accumulate £100,000 in TV rights and have over 3000 people into Station View was unbelievable. It paid for the stand behind the goal, it paid the 25-year mortgage off the Dagger (Railway’s pub) and put £50,000 in the bank. It was amazing what we achieved.

“The run started with a 5-4 win at Whitley Bay in a Preliminary Round replay. Whitley Bay were down to nine men and we had been 4-2 up. They scored two goals with nine men to make it 4-4 and I was doing a Keegan over the hoarding at the side of the dugout. I put 16-year-old Andy Sunley on in extra-time and he lobbed the ‘keeper from about 40 yards to win. It was an amazing introduction into Non League Football for Andy Sunley.

“Chester Le-Street in the second qualifying round was a bizarre one as well. We were giving them the ball back and Macca hit it as sweet as a nut and it went over the ‘keeper’s head and went in. I told them to let Chester-Le-Street score and I think someone tried to tackle them. Anyway they scored. It finished 5-5. The replay was another tight one and it was 2-2 after 90 minutes. We then scored five in extra-time. They ran out of legs and we won 7-2. 

“We battered Workington 4-0 in the third qualifying round and then we got Marine. I went over to Liverpool to watch them with Mick Gray when Roly Howard was the manager. I was looking through some programmes recently and I thought ‘why have I got a programme from Marine and then I realised’. I said to a lot of people at the time that they were a good team but I thought we could beat them. Kevin Smith ripped them apart that day and we won comfortably. 

“We were now in the FA Cup first round for the first time and I was hoping for Bristol City because they were the biggest team in the draw. I was devastated when Slough Town away came out. No disrespect to Slough Town but we were all devastated because we wanted a Football League club.

“Slough Town away was amazing though. We went down on the Friday night and the wives came. I tried to stop them drinking but Steve Davey and others were having a Guinness. I didn’t realise that after we’d gone to bed that they’d sneaked down for a pint or two. 

“When we arrived at the ground there was hundreds of inflatable sheep that Railway fans had brought down. Before kick-off they had positioned all these inflatable sheep on-the-pitch because a load of Slough had put on an internet forum that we were a load of sheep******** from North Yorkshire. They were all lined up in a formation like a 4-4-2 and all the stewards came on and took them off. Then when the stewards weren’t looking, they went and put them back on. That was a funny one.

“We won 2-1 – Steve Davey scored a header and Kev Smith scored. After the game we all stayed over because the club told us if we won they would pay for the second night at the hotel. If we didn’t win the lads would have to pay for itself themselves. We won and we all got smashed around Windsor so everyone went back to the hotel half-cut. We told everyone to meet downstairs in the morning at 10am or 11am for the coach home. 

“We got onto the M1 and James McDaid and his bird rung to ask where everyone was? He had to get the train back from London. He was fine about it. It was typical James!”

Bristol City (FA Cup second round December 2002)

“It was stressful, but they were three fantastic weeks. It was an amazing time and I was constantly on Sky for three weeks. Sky made a big thing of it and promoted immensely.

“David Craig was interviewing me all the time. He did an interview with me and the Leeds manager David O’Leary in a hotel. 

“I wasn’t a taxi driver at the time, I was a production manager. The company where I worked used to let Sky come in and film me at work. The MD loved it. I was sat in his chair in one clip. 

“One of the 5Live reporters came to my house to interview me and he had been to Newcastle to interview their manager Sir Bobby Robson the night before. He said ‘I’ll just fast forward to the end of Bobby Robson’ on his Dictaphone. I couldn’t believe I was following Sir Bobby Robson for the 5Live reporter.

“I spent a bit of time with the actual FA Cup as we took it around Harrogate. We took it to a few schools and it was great. Work were giving me time off to do it because they knew it was a special occasion. 

“We had great preparation on the Thursday night before. We went to a hotel in Harrogate and the SunSport girls came in the Saunas and swimming areas with us. They were pictured with us all over that paper. It was a right laugh.

“Bristol had beaten someone 7-0 from the Northern Premier League in the first round. Everyone was expecting a 10-0 defeat. Sky were there for either a massive upset or a massive slaughtering. We didn’t get time to watch them live so we had to rely on videos. I knew they were dangerous on the left side.

“Even though we lost 3-1, it was unbelievable. It was probably one of the biggest rushes myself, the players and 3000 people in Harrogate have had in their lives. To be shown on TV on a big stage to a worldwide audience, was unbelievable. 

“The game was alright. They had loads of possession and I started with a flat back seven! It was a shame they took the lead as Phil Walker scored an own goal into the top corner after about 20 minutes. Scott Murray scored a good goal for them in the second half. He was sold for a million pounds a few weeks after. Everybody thought we were going to cave in.

“I then brought Steve Davey and Kev Smith flicks the ball onto him and Ugga (Steve Davey) scored a lopping header from 20 yards over a professional goalkeeper with 15 minutes to go. It was just elation. We got a free kick in the 94th minute which Shaun Constable took. I said to Bryn Law that we were going to score and make it 2-2. Shaun smashed it over the stand and Bristol went up the other end and two of our lads collided with each other and their lad rolled it in to make it 3-1.

“(Bristol manager) Danny Wilson was very humble. He was a very nice guy and he was nice about the surroundings because everyone was like ‘look at the state of their away changing room’. He wasn’t bothered at all.”

Jimmy Gore 

Tadcaster Albion owner Jimmy Gore played under Marshall during Harrogate Railway’s famous run to the FA Cup second round

“Jimmy Gore did well for Railway and he became one of the owners of Tadcaster when i2i brought the club. He came from Rowntrees Reserves. He couldn’t get a game in the first team at Rowntree. Gordon Wordsworth rang me up and said ‘I don’t want to say who it is’. I said ‘is that you Gordon’? He said ‘yes it is but I didn’t want anyone to know’. He didn’t want to upset Jim Collis who was the Rowntrees manager. Gordon was managing the reserves and he said ‘I think I have a player who you might like?”

Departure (End of the 2002/03 season)

“It was disappointing that it ended like it did. We had been given win bonuses through the run which I had negotiated with the club. We got good money and we beat Slough. The players were only getting paid £30 a game so this win bonus was more than they could earn in two-or-three months. The lads were used to paying a £5 to play. 

“The club asked me at training before the Bristol game what the players should get if we beat them. I said I’d discuss it afterwards as I was preparing for the game and we weren’t going to win and we had won as far as I was concerned because we had got £100,000 off Sky. 

“When we spoke when the run was finished, I told the club that I thought everyone should get £1000 a man because we got £100,000 off Sky and there had been other revenue. Then the club said we didn’t win against Bristol. It annoyed me so much.

“I resigned and the players went on strike (in the February) because they wouldn’t play if I left. It meant the reserves had to play against Eccleshill. 

“Nige Danby resolved it really. He didn’t want to leave and he was talking to the committee and me. Sky got involved and we went down and had a meeting and the club said they would give everyone £200 less tax and national insurance at the end of the season. That’s why we got and i went back. There’s no hard feelings, even now.

“However, they did ask me to reapply for my job at the end of the season. Me and Jimmy Reid did reapply and we went for an interview. I don’t know why I went. Someone said to me ‘why are you reapplying for your job, they haven’t had the balls to sack you’. We went and we asked for too much money for the budget – that was the excuse they gave.”

Goole AFC (2003 to 2005)

“I had a few months out and (Yorkshire Evening Post Non League reporter) Wendy Walker, or Dube at the time, was telling the story about the vacant Ossett Town manager’s job. I went for the interview and the budget was huge and I was very close to getting the job. Wendy put in the paper that Steve Richards was interested in the Ossett Town job, but never applies for jobs. 

“They ended up ringing Steve Richards and he went over and had an interview and took the job. But then she said the Goole job was going so I went to meet (chairman) Des O’Hearne at Wetherby and he was a lively character. He gave me and Jimmy Reid the job as joint managers. 

“During the first season we got them up to sixth. It was the year they were restructuring and we thought our win at Glasshoughton on the final day would get us promoted. As it happened we didn’t get promoted. 

“It didn’t work with myself and Jimmy because as much as we are big mates, picking a team was hard. He had his favourites and I had my favourites. He had quite a few Pickering lads and I had a few Railway lads. I told Des that it wasn’t working as joint managers and that we had to make a decision. He said we should offer Jimmy the director of football role. He offered him it and Jimmy turned it down and I took the job on my own.

“Because Jimmy’s lads left to go to Selby to play for Bob Lyon, I had to build a new team. I had seven players at the start of the season. We got off to a winning start which was the key thing. We won three-or-four games on the bounce and the momentum picked up. It was a tough season and it looked like Selby were going to win the league at one stage. They made Sheffield play two days running and the second game was against Selby. They got a draw which meant if we beat Long Eaton on the Saturday we would be champions. We won the league with 79 points on the last day of the season which was amazing. I was very proud of that achievement because we did it in my first season.”

Goole Departure (October 2005)

“We had played ten games in the NPL Division One after promotion and we had 15 points. We then lost five in a row. We played Spalding and I was getting abused by all the Gooligans behind me. Me and (assistant Mark Smitheringale) Smudge said to me that Tommy Lawson had asked him to go and be his assistant at Clitheroe. It was pouring down with rain and we were getting beat by Spalding who were bottom of the league. I looked at him and said ‘I think you should go mate’. Someone was having a go at Ian Mclean’s dad and Ian Mclean walked over to the dugout where we were and bopped the bloke. I turned to Mark and said ‘it is time you went Mark, we won’t be here much longer’. 

“I went to meet Des and he sacked me. However, it was before we were due to play Thackley and he said ‘what do you want to do’? I said I’d run the side because I wanted to say bye to the lads. I carried on as normal and we won 4-0 and I said at the end ‘well done lads, but by the way Des has sacked me’.”

Marshall then finished the season at Clitheroe where he assisted Smitheringale who had taken over from Tommy Lawson who had been sacked.

Bridlington Town (October 2006)

“Why I went there was a bit sentimental because Gav Kelly and Lee Harper were there and they’d said to (chairman) Pete Smuthwaite ‘get Marsh in, he’ll do a good job’. When I got there, they were all Hull-based people playing. I couldn’t get anyone to travel because of the budget. I got Mark Willougby and another lad to come over from York, but we weren’t good enough. They were bottom of the league when I took over and they were bottom of the league when I finished. They were bottom when Ash Berry, who took over, finished. It was just a bad time for the club. Pete couldn’t afford to pay big money so they were always going to struggle.

“The bus shelter crew at Brid still give me some stick. When I’ve been back and there’s a set-piece, someone shouts ‘still doing that move that you’ve been doing for 20 years’! Pete Smurthwaite is a great guy and every-time I go back I tend to win. Pete always says ‘every-time you play us you beat us, when I employed you, you couldn’t win me a game’!”

Assistant managers

“I have had so many great assistant managers. My brother helped me at Harrogate Town and he was one of the best managers around at the time. Mick Margis, god rest his soul, was the joker in the pack. He was so funny. Rob Hunter helped me for several years at Tadcaster, along with Smudge. I took Mike Morton and Simon Collins at Tadcaster and they were great as coaches for me. Denny was superb at Pickering and then Smudge brought me to Garforth after Rob left. There’s Mikey Reynolds as well at Garforth and he’s a great lad. I couldn’t have asked for better people. They have all been superb.”

Tadcaster Albion (2008 to 2015)

Paul Marshall was manager of Tadcaster for seven years until his departure in May 2015

“It looked like I was done with management and I was really enjoying playing for Harrogate Vets under Paul Bell. We were winning loads of things. We played a final at Taddy just after there had been an arson attack and flooding. They had no money. (Chairman, now President) Kevin Derry collared me after the game and he gave me his sad eyes and said ‘come and help us’. I ended up saying ‘yes’. They were bottom of NCEL Division One with no money. Kevin would become President and I became chairman as he asked me to run everything. I was buying all the bar stock and everything. The club needed a bit of oomph and I was young and a bit more vibrant. Because I was driving a taxi, I had time to do to it in between working. I wanted the club to be run right and I wanted it to make money.

“We struggled in the league in the first year. In the second year (2009/10) I signed Steven Jeff and Graeme Whitehead from Goole, along with others and we managed to win the league. There were loads of twists and turns in that title race. Leeds had been docked points which meant if we beat Hemsworth in our final game of the season we would win the league. Brighouse were already up and were there watching to see if they would be champions. If we drew or lost, Brighouse and Leeds would go up.

Paul Marshall and Danny Pitts celebrate promotion with Tadcaster in 2010, after denying now Brighton manager Graham Potter’s Leeds Carnegie

“There was massive tension during the Hemsworth game. Hemsworth scored while I was still walking round. I think I had been serving beer and I missed the goal! The last thing I’d said to the players was make sure we keep it tight for the first 15 minutes. It was massive stress, but I’d said to Rob (Hunter) and Smudge that I was always confident that we would score. As time was going on, I didn’t think we would. We did score and we got the winner very late-on. I went behind the goal to marshal my back four for the last five minutes. I was where the new stand is and Kev Smith got the ball in the corner at the other end and it was like a Benny Hill sketch. He ran to the corner and he was chased. He then ran towards goal and then turned back around towards the corner flag. He must have held it for two-or-three minutes. That’s what I remember the most about it.

“We achieved something that didn’t seem possible two years earlier. Kevin Derry was crying his eyes out. It was so emotional because of the amount of work he had put into that club to keep it going. It could have folded, quite easily.”

NCEL President’s Cup Final win over Farsley Celtic (April 2011)

Rob Hunter, Andy Sunley, Rob Northfield and Paul Marshall after Tadcaster’s 2011 NCEL President’s Cup final win over Farsley

“Rob Northfield came in as chairman for a few years and he came into the changing room five minutes before the Final. It was quite comical. He does motivational talks to a high level businessmen and he came into our changing room with our lads! He told a story and then said ‘now if you would all get on your feet and sing if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands’. I remember Arran Reid singing and clapping! We obviously won 5-1! Rob came in the bar afterwards and said something like ‘you need to do that before every game, it always works’. Rob and his wife Judy were so good for Tadcaster. He left a massive legacy and what a top guy Rob is.” 

Gary McAllister 

“I got him to sign on after a Vets game and the headline in the Yorkshire Evening Post was something like ‘Gary McAllister signs for Tadcaster for two pints of John Smiths and a packet of crisps’. He did sign a form but he never played! He didn’t like the headline!. I haven’t seen him since other than on the telly.”

Taxi Signings 

“I always used to carry signing on forms in the taxi. I’ve signed local league players in the taxi after picking them up before you had to put seven days in on every people in the world. If someone jumped in and they played for Wiggington or whoever, I’d say ‘get yourself signed on, what’s your number’? I have done it loads of times over the years.”

Anna and Sonny

Sonny Lang

“(Sonny’s mum) Anna was one of the stalwarts at Tadcaster. A friend of mine called Chris Barker said he knew someone in Tadcaster who was a great cook. I meet Anna and gave her the job of running the tea-bar. He did it for years. She brought her daughter Sonny down and I got her working behind the bar. She did it until she passed away. It was a sad time. We have a memorial for her every year and Anna and her friends come to Garforth to celebrate her life.”

Jonathan Greening signs for Tadcaster (September 2014)

Former Manchester United midfielder Jonathan Greening (seated right) with Paul Marshall and Tadcaster’s owners James Gore, Kent Mayall and Matthew Gore after signing for the Toolstation NCEL Premier Division side

“We had signed his brother Josh and that was the key for Jono. He was still a fit bloke. I remember him saying he didn’t score many goals, but then he went to Armthorpe and we won 10-0 and he scored left foot, right foot and a header!”

2014/15 

A dejected Nick Thompson after Tadcaster Albion’s 1-0 defeat to Highworth in the FA Vase quarter-finals replay in 2015. Picture: Ian Parker

“That season and not getting to the semi-finals of the FA Vase is my biggest disappointment in football. Losing to Highworth in the quarter-finals and the commotion that went on afterward…is definitely the biggest disappointment. Highworth weren’t a good team and we should have won the tie at their place and we should have won the replay at home. One mistake and the kid scored a worldie and they won 1-0. Then there was fighting and commotion because a young Highworth started running around the pitch and winding people up. I felt low and I did well to keep the season going. I could have walked away. Because of what had gone on after the game I was quite angry for a week or two. It looked like sour grapes and it wasn’t about that. It was an awful time for the club because the fighting was all over social media.”

Tadcaster Departure 

Paul Marshall high-fiving a volunteer after Tadcaster thrash Pickering Town 5-0
Paul Marshall during his Tadcaster days

“Tadcaster was a big part of my life. At the end of the season myself and i2i had a review of the season. I said it had gone really well apart from losing a semi-final (in the League Cup), a quarter-final (in the FA Vase) and finishing third (in the NCEL Premier Division). I said we were so close to winning a lot to winning nothing. Matt Gore asked me my thoughts because I had talked about retiring – possibly after the Highworth game because I was at a low point. I told (chairman) Matt (Gore) that I wanted to carry on because I thought we were so close and we just needed a striker for the following season.

“Matt said he had a doubt and I said ‘Matt if you have a doubt, we can’t work together, you need to make a decision’. He said ‘yeah but you’re our mate, you brought us in and you’ve done everything at Taddy and you’re a legend there’. It was like shooting Bambi. They said ‘who would you get if you were chairman’? I said Billy Miller had done a great job at Harrogate Railway on a small budget, why not him? The rest is history, he got the job and he won the league.”

Pickering Town (2015 to February 2019)

Paul Marshall managing Pickering Town

“My time at Pickering was very successful. I got Denny Ingram to come in as my assistant and we told them how it was and that there was to be no Sunday football. We said we needed a winning mentality and to be ruthless. We nearly stopped Taddy from winning the league in the first season! We finished sixth in the first season.

“We then finished second behind Cleethorpes in the second season. We finished second again in the third season behind Pontefract Collieries, but because of the restructuring we won promotion. It was a toss-up between ourselves and AFC Mansfield for second and we ended up nicking it on goals difference on the last day after a win at Hall Road. But look at the points we got. We got 97 and 96 points in two seasons which is quite incredible.

“Leading up to the Hall Road game, we had to play three games in five days as there was a backlog because of the amount of bad weather there had been. We went to Staveley and got a 0-0 draw. Then we went to Barton and drew 1-1. We had to win the last game at Hall Road who had nothing to play for. We won 2-1 after Casey Stewart scored the late winner.

“I’d signed Casey earlier in the season in case I needed him. He was with Taddy. It was a good job I did as Ryan Blott got injured and Billy Logan was away as the league had been extended by a week. Lads had booked holidays.

“Casey Stewart played one game for Pickering and scored one of the most important goals in Pickering’s history. He loved it. It was a poor ball in from Joe Danby and it looked like it was going out for a goal kick. Casey’s cousin Carl Stewart headed it back for Casey for the winning goal. It was a brilliant goal and one of my best moments of my career because you have to remember Pickering had never been in the NPL.”

Pickering Departure (February 2019)

“We had 25 points from 25 games in the NPL and they decided that they didn’t want me to manage the last 13 games. I was quite happy and we were holding our own quite comfortably. We’d win a couple of games, lose a couple of games. The team who went down had 25 points. We had 25 points when I got sacked. Only one team that went down. We would have stayed up quite comfortably.

“It was a shame because I helped bring a lot of money into the club from another taxi ride. I picked up Gordon Gibb, the owner of Flamingo Land, from York Train Station on a Sunday. I got talking to him and I told him I knew where he lived well because it is near Pickering. We stopped somewhere on the way and he rang his mate and said ‘I’m being driven home by a taxi driver who is the Pickering Town manager’. This bloke went ‘oh Paul Marshall’. Gordon was getting excited and he invited me into his house. His wife was pregnant and she thought I was one of his mates who he had brought back. He was like ‘this is Paul, the Pickering Town manager, he’s driven me back from York’. His wife was like ‘Gordon, what are you doing bringing strangers into our house’. I got pally with him and I said we needed money and he sponsored the club. He still sponsors them now. He’s a great bloke.”

Garforth (October 2019-Present Day)

Garforth Town manager Paul Marshall

“I probably wasn’t going to bother managing again because I was that annoyed about getting sacked at Pickering. They had never been that high and they were never going to go down. 

“I got the call from Smudge to come to Garforth and we have had a good start.

“It is only 18 minutes from my house and it is a great location for signing players because you can sign from Barnsley, Hull, York, all over. The potential is big at Garforth.”

The journey continues…

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