Moors boss Ainsley predicts an open league
Two giants have left the Evo-Stik NPL First Division North but Spennymoor Town boss believes in doing so they have left an even stronger league behind.
The Moors are amongst the favourites to seal promotion this season after suffering play-off heartache in the maiden Evo-Stik League campaign and for the man in charge of the ambitious North East outfit there are many challenges to see off if they are to be successful.
Ainsley believes that there a five “tried and tested” title challengers but also tipped league new comers Glossop North End as potential threats, seeing similarities with his Moors side of last season in them.
“We know it is a tough league this year and it is a lot stronger than last year. People seem to think because Salford City and Darlington went up that it is week but in reality it is even tougher. It is just so open, there are a number of teams who could win it.
The tried and tested clubs like Scarborough, Northwich, Lancaster, Warrington and Bamber Bridge will be there challenging but there is the new clubs like Shaw Lane and Glossop North End who I think will surprise a few. Glossop are similar to us and have come up bouncing so will want to carry that on”
The Moors boss has had a successful spell in charge at Brewery Field, winning twelve trophies in just under a decade at the club. They include the EBAC Northern League title and the FA Vase, won in 2013 with a 2-1 win over Tonbridge Wells.
As he looks ahead to the new season Ainsley (pictured left after his side’s 2012 FA Vase win) feels that the Moors are facing not only challenges on the pitch but also off it, with geographical location playing a big part in his beliefs.
After taking the jump from Northern League to Evo-Stik League Ainsley feels that North East clubs in the upper reaches of the non-league pyramid get a raw deal and based his opinion on the pool of players available to clubs in the North West and Yorkshire.
“It massively hinders us being where we are. We have brought in Danny Frost, who is a real find. He has great pedigree and he has done well but he reels off names of players we could sign but they are based in Yorkshire and clubs down there have snapped them up.
The loan system is more beneificial in Yorkshire and the North West too. There are any amounts of pro clubs around in those areas but in the North East we have five or six and that means there is a lot of competition for loan players in the region’s non-league clubs.
We are working in a small pool of players in the North East. I went to watch a Northern League game on Saturday and I would’ve been signing players just for the sake of it, there is the odd gem but it is tough. We want players who want to progress and not stay in the comfort zone, players like Glen Taylor (pictured right) have shown that but there has to be more”
Darlington and Ainsley’s Spennymoor are two clubs who have chosen to take the promotion into the Evo-Stik League, although the Moors did reject it on more than one occasion on financial grounds.
However he feels the benefits of accepting promotion have been immediate and expressed his hope that more Northern League clubs would follow the same path in the coming years.
“We made the decision not to get promoted a few years ago because the chairman felt we weren’t in a financial position at the time, which was right. Now, I just hope clubs will try to make the step up because now we are in the Evo-Stik League we can progress. The standard is better, the organisation is better and the professionalism is far, far in advance of what we had”
Not that the ambitous former Hartlepool united player is limiting himself to thoughts of the Evo-Stik League.
Set with a target of three promotions in five years by Moors owner Brad Groves, Ainsley is looking at the newly named National League divisions as his goal for the coming seasons, reassuring Moors supporters that the club will “give it a go”.
“I look at the crowds further up the pyramid, even in the top levels of non-league clubs are getting maybe 500 to 550. We want to get into the National League North and it will be difficult but it is not impossible. The chairman has a dream of three promotions in five years so we need to get up this year.
We have a decent budget, we are well looked after and we will give it a go”
In his time with the Moors Ainsley has overcome many challenges and if they are prepared to give it a go as he suggests there could be more happy times ahead as he moves into his second decade in charge of the club.
Interview: Mark Carruthers
Images: David Nelson Photography/www.actionimages.com