Shiners make the step up despite title heartache

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South Normanton Athletic will play in the East Midlands Counties Football League next season, the Football Association’s Leagues Committe has decided.

Despite the disappointment of losing out on the Central Midlands League South Division title decider to Clifton on the last day of the 2013/14 season, the league has accepted the Shiners’ application.

The east Derbyshire-based club passed the neccessary ground grading for promotion to Step Six - their first venture above Step Seven since the club reformed six years ago under current chairman Phil Bailey.

Mr Bailey said: “Firstly, I’d like to thank all involved; the committee team for all their hard work throughout the season; 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.”

He added: “Off the field we continue to endevour to grow and enhance our structure.”

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

He said: “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 put eight straight victories in the run-in is 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.”

Wilson added: “Step Six 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.

Pre-season schedule

Hilton Harriers (a) July 12

Chesterfield FC (h) July 17

Uttoxeter Town (h) July 19

Mickleover Sp. (h) July 24

Holbrook St M. (a) July 26