New Eastwood Town joint-manager Nick Hawkins has expressed his excitement at taking on the role and a determination to put smiles back on faces at Coronation Park.
The 27-year-old will assist Chris Shaw in the management of the Badgers next season, with work having already begun to build a competitive squad for the Evo-Stik Division One South campaign.
That has included agreeing deals to sign several new players this week, as was revealed at a fans’ forum held at the club on Tuesday night.
Hawkins said: “The forum was really positive. I made it clear straight away that I’m not interested in what has happened in the last few years, I just want to see things get back on track quickly.
“Having looked at the club as an outsider in recent years, it looked a bit of a mess, but being here has made me realise some genuine people have put in a lot of hard work and not got the credit they deserve.
“Now it’s time to get the club moving back in the right direction, and as far as I’m concerned, while I’m here that will happen, both on and off the pitch. I’m excited by the challenge.”
In terms of last season’s playing staff, Paolo Piliero, Danny Roberts, Scott Rogers and Kallum Keane have agreed new deals while agreements have been reached with several players to make the move to Coronation Park.
They include Ilkeston FC’s Russell Peel and Ryan Hastie, the latter having worked with Hawkins at South Normanton Athletic, Carl Slater from Gresley, Richard Wyman from Dunkirk, and four other players Hawkins is bringing from South Normanton in Richard Dean, Martin Lench, Mark Middleton and Jordan Tarr.
Midfielder Gavin Hurren has agreed to sign pending a trial with League Two side Cheltenham, while several other deals are also set to be announced.
Hawkins added: “We’ve set a budget based on various factors, but if we can attract good crowds then that will help things further.
“Winning games will assist in getting more people here, which is why we’re delighted to have recruited what we feel are quality players already, including from higher levels.
“More look set to follow, and those other players from last season not signed up yet will all be reporting back for pre-season.”
More of Hawkins’ thoughts on the Badgers’ future will appear in next week’s Advertiser.