East Midlands Counties League
Published 8th June 2011
The Moatmen won the East Midlands Counties League to earn promotion to Step 5 of the non-League Pyramid, and while the Alliance seemed the obvious destination, it is possible that they could end up in the KoolSport Northern Counties East League.
However, Gresley have been given signing- on forms for the Alliance, and the NCEL have posted a proposed league constitution on their website that does not include Gresley.
Norton will not use the forms until a final decision is made at the AGM later this month though.
He said: “The caveat is that Shepshed Dynamo are appealing against their demotion, but even if they were successful, it would mean them coming out of the Midland Alliance, which wouldn’t affect us.
“So I’m 99 per cent certain we’re going to be in the Alliance.
“But I haven’t signed anyone yet as I don’t want to end up with egg on my face.” Norton has spoken to all of last year’s championship-winning squad about signing on for another season at the club, but is also looking to bring in one or two new faces.
“We’re in discussion with a number of players,” he said.
“It’s a grey area at the moment though - the fun and games season.
“In fairness to those players and the clubs they’re with, I won’t say who we’re looking at.” One player who will not be joining Gresley is Hucknall Town left-back James Jepson.
The player-coach, who played against the Moatmen for Gedling Town last season, spoke to Norton about a move, but has decided to stay at Watnall Road.
Norton said: “We enquired after him and he talked to us about potentially signing, but he’s agreed to stay with Hucknall.
“He has said that if anything changes there, he will keep us in mind.” Norton has also backed striker Royce Turville to have a great 2011/12 season — and hopes it will be with Gresley.
Turville was Gresley’s stand-out player in 2009/10, making an almost clean sweep of that campaign’s end-of-season awards.
Last season, he struggled with injury, but still impressed when fit, especially in the final games of the season.
Norton said: “Royce cleared the board a season ago and had he been fit he could have been in there this time.
“He was magnificent that year and brilliant this year, despite his terrible luck with injury.
“We’re keen to keep him and he seems keen to stay, although there will be clubs interested in him.
“Given the fact that we’re stepping up a league, it might be hard to keep some players as we have only got the same budget.
“But most of the players seem to be more interested in playing football than how much money they’re getting, which is nice.”
At this month’s awards night, held last weekend, Brian Woodall claimed the coveted supporters’ player of the year award, and Norton agreed it was a nice way for the Football League-bound striker to sign off.
He said: “I’m pleased that Brian won something on the night.
“I thought he was better the previous season, but obviously this one ended with him joining Dagenham & Redbridge.” Jordi Gough won the players’ player of the year award, while Jamie Barrett was given the nod for the manager’s player of the year gong.
Norton said: “Several players didn’t win anything who could have.
“I could have picked several for my award, and that showed in the good spread of honours.”