Belper Town set eyes on a swift return to the Northern Premier League

Belper Town set eye's on a swift return to the Northern Premier League

Rainbow shines over the Raygar stadium (Credit - Seb Mannell)

Despite suffering relegation from the Northern Premier League, Belper Town chairman, Ian Woodward, is confident in the Nailers as they target a swift return to step three football.

Woodward admitted that their return to step three was going to be tough, and that they didn’t get the right manager in following Grant Black’s departure to Osset United. The Nailers chairman said: “Following Grant’s (Black) departure we appointed Steve Kittrick to the managerial hot seat.

Ian Woodward sat down with NailersTV (Credit – Seb Mannell)

“The board and I must take full responsibility for misplacing our faith in Steve’s (Kittrick) ability to turn the tide of poor results around. We thought a manager with experience in step three was needed, but unfortunately things didn’t work out for him.”

Prior to Christmas, the North Derbyshire side appeared as relegation favourites as they sat rock bottom. Goals were few and far between, despite having a strong squad in comparison to those around them.

Steve Kittrick’s tenure at the club didn’t last long. The non-league journeyman was sacked after an underwhelming spell at the club, winning three in 15 matches.

The Raygar stadium under the sun. (Credit – Seb Mannell)

Woodward and the board knew that a new manager had to come in. However, this time, it was an appointment with excitement. Corby Town boss Lee Attenborough swapped Northamptonshire for Derbyshire, in a bid to keep Belper Town in the Northern Premier League.

Whilst results did improve, it wasn’t enough to save the Nailers from their impending relegation and return to step four.

However, the football played under Attenborough is a breath of fresh air claims Woodward: “There is no doubt that Lee has brought about a sea change, in the way in which the team has performed since his arrival. The football is easier on the eye, the players are fitter and have moulded themselves into a cohesive and competitive outfit.”

Nailers sat bottom of the Northern Premier League (Credit – Seb Mannell)

The former Corby Town boss knew it would be a case of getting ready for next season. Now was just the time to try new tactics and new players ahead of their relegation.

Since his arrival, there has been a plethora of new faces around the Raygar stadium which has continued into May, as five more players have signed the dotted line to join the club and bolster their push for a swift return to the Northern Premier League.

Kevin Bastos, Phil Watt, Johnathon Hedge, Cameron Johnson and Mason Warren add strength to the current Belper line-up.

Woodward is delighted with the current crop of signings stating: “The summer signings so far has brought a sense of excitement once again around the club not only for supporters but for the board itself and what’s encouraging is that players are wanting to join the club for the right reasons, wanting to help us get back to the level of football the club deserves.”

Bastos joins the Nailers from Basford United, arriving for an undisclosed fee as he trades Nottinghamshire for Derbyshire. Bastos is a tricky winger with pace, as the Nailers know all too well after coming up against the winger when he was at Loughborough Dynamo.

There’s still plenty for Belper to do to get ready for next season. Their pre-season schedule is exciting, containing a trip up the A6 to Matlock Town whilst hosting Football League side, Burton Albion at the Raygar stadium.

There’s a lot to get excited for if you’re a Belper Town fan. Woodward is halfway through his ten-year plan and is on track to achieve all of the goals he outlined prior to taking over the club.