The Evo-Stik League Northern Premier
Published 28th May 2012
.....Northern Premier League Premier Division while out in Magaluf on the beach on Phil Watt’s stag weekend.
Since April 21st Grantham have been waiting for the decision - a time that has been tough for Albans and co-boss Wayne Hallcro. “The Northern Premier Division is what we set out to achieve three years ago,” said Albans. “It is right that we have been given it. It has been a difficult month. We have had managers getting into our players telling them we would be in the Southern League and players we have approached have said the same. Now it is settled, we can move forward.” After their weekend exertions, Hallcro and Albans are calling the squad up to the Meres early next week for the first of their summer get togethers. Deals for next season are on the table and Albans expects most to stay with the club in the Premier Division. “We have our first players meeting on Monday night,” he said. “We will be offering the whole squad new terms for next season. They have all shown themselves good enough in our eyes to deserve to have a go at the higher division. We will be looking to add to the squad as we have done each year we have been here. We have identified three or four places in the team where we want to add someone to give us that bit extra.” The Gingerbreads first season in the Premier Division in five years sees Albans and Hallcro start out on another plan to build their way up the league. The pair know the step up will be a hard one for the club on a number of levels. “We are going into the Premier Division knowing that we will be able to compete,” Albans said. “We can’t match what the top clubs are paying, but we will have a good squad that will put us in with a chance of achieving our aims for next season.” One player who will not be joining the Gingerbreads in the Premier Division is goalkeeper Rob Murray. After 114 appearances between the sticks, Murray has joined Stamford AFC for next season. “We spoke to Rob at the end of the season as we felt we needed to bring in serious competition for places in goal,” Albans said. “Rob has done fantastic for us over the last two and a bit seasons. He decided that at this time in his career he didn’t want to be battling each week for a shirt, he wants to be guaranteed a game. Consequently he has signed a deal to play at Stamford. We wish him well and appreciate the contribution he has made to our promotion. Rob has been a very, very good goalkeeper for us - one of the best in the league.” It is not expected to be long before fans find out who is coming to the Meres for next season. Despite the problems Albans and Hallcro have faced over the last few weeks, they have made some progress in shaping their squad and preparing for the challenge. “We have identified who we want to fill those three or four slots and have already made some progress,” Albans said. “We are pretty much there with a couple of them and hope to be able to say more soon. Pre-season friendlies are being tidied up and in about two weeks, we should have a full list.”