When you’re the chairman of a non-league club, and you lose a manager less than a week before the season starts, what exactly are you meant to do?
If you’re Brett Marshall, you take the reigns yourself, and assemble a side in double-quick time.
He’s no stranger to adversity, either. During his time at Hucknall Town he saw financial problems cost a team dearly.
Their slide down the non-league pyramid has been highly publicised, and Marshall recalls the helplessness he felt during a stint as manager in 2012
“The people who are responsible for the financial problems never think about the human cost.
“It’s the fans who suffer, because they’re losing the team they’ve grown up supporting”.
Brett came to Clipstone in February, and was faced with even more money woes when confronted by a rising rent bill, and a lack of funds.
Less than a week before the season started, he lost a number of key players... as well as the manager. Not exactly putting your best foot forward, then.
“The start to the season was difficult. The players we drafted in didn’t have much of a pre-season. They’re currently playing themselves fit, which is why we’re mid table”
Clipstone aren’t helped by the fact that they are one of the few teams in the Northern Counties East League that don’t cover player expenses.
“The players who come to Clipstone aren’t here for financial gain,” said Marshall.
“Though you can’t blame a non-league footballer for going where the money is, operating this way helps us avoid taking on any ‘mercenaries’”
And following the signing of two key sponsorship deals, Marshall believes he now has stability, both on and off the pitch.
Though his side are currently in midtable in the NCEL Division One after battling with this season’s issues, they do have a few reasons to be cheerful.
He foresees a stronger second half of the season, and believes that his side will get better once they have ‘grown in to’ the campaign.
“Our strikers are in form, but we need to have a squad with eight or nine players that are settled. We’ve had plenty of chances but been too inconsistent. To be fair, we could be at least 15 points better off this season.”