Shiners set to make the step up

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South Normanton Athletic received a huge boost this week with news that the FA Leagues Committee recommended their application for promotion to Step 6

Despite the disappointment of losing the title decider on the last day at Clifton, the Shiners finished runners-up in the Windsor Foodservice Central Midlands League South Division, and passed the necessary ground grading for promotion.

The Lees Lane club have been allocated to the East Midlands Counties League, their first venture above Step 7 since the club reformed six years ago under current chairman Phil Bailey.

Chairman Phil Bailey said “Firstly I’d like to thank all involved, the committee team for all their hard work throughout the season, and to the players and management for showing a fantastic level of commitment and professionalism throughout the season.

“The season has certainly provided high entertainment, with us scoring well over 100 goals.

“Myself and Mark Wilson will now sit down and plan the next stage, we will agree targets and objectives for the playing side. Off the field we continue to endeavour to grow and enhance our structure.”

Manager Mark Wilson was delighted to meet the season objective after a rollercoaster season and is already looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“I’m absolutely buzzing for the club as a whole and I think the promotion is deserved, if for no other reason than the commitment from the players.

“To bounce back from a sticky mid-season and putin eight straight victories in the run-in was quite an achievement.

“We were well beaten on the final day, but my remit at the start of the season was to get the team out of the league. I was given a three season remit by the chairman so we’re all delighted to do it at the first time of asking.”

On the challenge ahead, Wilson said “Step 6 is the minimum this club deserves for the effort Mr Bailey has put in over the years. This is for him as much as anybody, spending endless hours on the pitch and maintaining a big ground to the highest level.

“I can now target players who will give us a chance to compete at the top of the table and organise the pre-season programme. The lads can now rest a while, although they remain chomping at the bit to get started. We may even meet for a celebratory beer or two.”

The Shiners boss will now be busy looking to strengthen an already impressive squad and will be finalising the pre-season programme, including a prestigious friendly with League Two Champions Chesterfield FC, at the MJ Robinson Structures Arena on Thursday, 17th July.

Pre season games already confirmed are: Hilton Harriers (away) Sat 12th July, Chesterfield FC (home) Thurs 17th July , Uttoxeter Town (home) Sat 19th July, Mickleover Sports( home) Thursday 24th July, Holbrook St Michaels (away) Sat 26th July.