with Paddy Farrell
AT last Saturday’s football club presentation evening in the Badgers’ social club, chairman Rob Yong said he would not have believed that his short eight months involvement with the club would become the addiction it had.
Since taking over, he had seen virtually every game - and missed very few training or practice sessions.
Our performances in season 2007/8 had been fantastic with Paul Cox and John Ramshaw landing the UniBond Challenge Cup/County Senior Cup double and going to the play-off stages in a promotion bid which astonished non-league football.
For a club rated ‘relegation certainties’ at the start of their Premier Division, we had not done too badly.
That was all behind us now and with the management duo tied up on four-year contracts, their priority target was the Premier Division title and promotion to the Conference North.
No doubt about the solo star at the presentations with goalkeeper Ian Deakin picking up a treble of Player of the Year awards as he came top in website, supporters’ and chairman’s awards.
Rob joked that ‘Deaks’ had undoubtedly been ‘tapped up’ by a very near neighbour but he expected to see him at Coronation Park for a third successive season.
Goalscorer of the Season went to Matt Rhead who joined us in a record transfer fee move from Kidsgrove Athletic three months into the season and scored 17 goals from 26 starts. For a player primarily rated as a ‘target man’ used alongside a main striker, that scoring rate is phenomenal.
What many people record as a the sterling award - involving as it does, recognition by their peers - the Players’ Player of the Year went to Kris Mathews.
‘Kiwi’, in his first season, has shown outstanding potential and could easily, at 22-years-old, be destined for a much higher level.
The coveted Manager’s Player of the Season award went to one of the most popular players ever to represent Eastwood Town, Richard Cooper.
Paul Cox said his choice was difficult but ‘Coops’ attitude when dropped after missing a couple of games on honeymoon was the clincher.
The ex-Nottingham Forest defender refused to whinge or feel sorry for himself, bided his time, grabbed his first chance and said ‘now drop me.’
With the ceremonies finished the enjoyment continued with food, drink, entertainment and even world title boxing on tap for Rob’s guests.
Now that David Holdsworth has been confirmed as manager of Ilkeston Town, we’ve finally managed to agree the dates of our Bank Holiday ‘derbies’ for next season.
On August Bank Holiday (25th) Ilkeston will come to Coronation Park, and Eastwood will go to Ilkeston on Easter Monday, 2009.
Hucknall Town boss Mick Galloway’s first ‘big signing’ turns out to be ex-Badger Matt McKenzie, poetically dubbed ‘The Beast’ by Galloway.
Eastwood Town FC has finally decided to resurrect its reserve side and, subject to acceptance by the AGM at Ilkeston Town FC on June 5, the second team will compete in the Premier Division of the long-established Midlands Regional Alliance.
We have competed in this competition previously for many years, and although the standard of clubs could be higher, the league administration is first-class and in the Premier Division a referee and two assistants are guaranteed for every game.
Although we reluctantly decided to scrap our youth team beacuse of the need for regular competition for our anticipated large squad, a couple of late developments could lead to a new and much stronger club policy for local youth.
As most fans know, our academy partners Castle College unilaterally cancelled our agreement in favour of a tie-up with Notts County, despite the Meadow Lane club’s abysmal record of youth football performance.
Inevitably, the new venture never got off the ground and now it appears that Castle College is wooing us again.
The second occurence is the decision of Paul Cox to work full-time as Eastwood Town manager and the opportunity this gives him to develop an entirely new local youth base.
Paul plans to follow up contacts with youth teams in the area and possibly explore a tie-up with elements within the police who are working to provide sporting opportunities for Eastwood and district youngsters.
e Town boss invites any such bodies to contact him. I’ve volunteered to act as liaison and can be contacted on 01773 786186 or e-mail email@example.com.