Belper Town boss Grant Black reflects on ‘proudest day so far’ in football management

Belper Town manager Grant Black.
Belper Town manager Grant Black.

Nailers boss Grant Black said Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Notts County was the best he has experienced so far in football management.

Belper ran their National League hosts close in the fourth qualifying round clash at Meadow Lane, which saw 1,700 fans make the journey from Derbyshire.

The Nailers put in a performance to be proud of and their efforts didn’t go unnoticed as both home and away sections clapped an impressive Belper off the pitch.

“I’m fairly new to football management so it rates quite highly for me,” smiled Black.

“We did well at Ossett, keeping them up against all odds and then got to a play-off final on a limited budget, which was a good day.

“We got them to the last qualifying round the year before, against Solihull so it wasn’t as glamourous a tie, but we did well and got a replay. Overall, though, I’d be lying if I didn’t say Saturday wasn’t the best day so far in my managerial career.

“Where it was, the surroundings, who it was, the fact we took that many fans and then to put a performance in was the proudest day so far.”

Black and the club have received many plaudits in the wake of their FA Cup adventure - but he’s well aware of the game’s pitfalls.

“As a manager, you’re judged on winning and losing and people can’t wait to shoot you down when you’re losing games,” he said.

“To have people I respect contact me, people I’ve played for and learned from, saying how pleased they were for us and proud they were means a lot.

“They’re peers and people I look up to, so when they appreciate what you’re doing, you know you’re doing a good job.

“The lads always want to learn and want to do what we ask them to. We couldn’t do it without them and they couldn’t do it without us.

“To get those calls is brilliant because you’re only a couple of games away from being ostracised.

“You’ve got to take the good times when they come and roll with the punches when they don’t.”

And Black wants a repeat performance from his players as they return to BetVictor NPL South East action at Glossop North End on Saturday.

“We had a good 10-15 minutes after the game [against Notts] of patting each other on the back, which was thoroughly deserved, but we did say ‘now we need to move on’.

“Any hangovers or anyone we see who can’t get to grips with moving on from it will find themselves out of the team or even out of the club.

“They need to react quickly and get their feet back on the ground for what will be a tough game in the league at a tough place to go in Glossop,” he said.