Hollis has his say on Ashton United’s season
Monday 24th April 2017 @ 12:24 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Ashton United chairman Terry Hollis has┬áprovided his thoughts on what he described as ‘an interesting season’.

Hollis provided the following statement in the club’s match day programme against Ilkeston on Saturday:


Ashton United chairman Terry Hollis

“This season has been interesting to say the least. We were expecting a tough one given that costs were due to increase because of local teams leaving the division, either on promotion or through relegation, and the prospect of increased attendances at local derbies evaporated with them. Furthermore coach travel costs went through the roof with all the trips to either the south midlands, or northerly to the likes of Blyth and Workington. We were prepared though, and the season started full of optimism with our rampant squad picking up points in rapid succession over the first few games. Would this be our season at last, after three near misses in the playoffs?

“In September everything changed when our management duo, Paul Phillips and Steve Halford, ‘upped sticks’ together with all of their backroom team apart from Sports Therapist Derek Turner, to take over a rapidly faltering Stalybridge Celtic. The timing couldn’t have been worse coming on the eve of an FA Cup qualifying game against Nantwich Town. The performance that day, their last in charge, was abject, we went out at the first hurdle, and with it the opportunity to fill the coffers with prize money. Over the following weeks a steady stream of players left the club to follow Steve & Paul. There were worried faces in the club, and amongst our supporters, and shortly after we went out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle too!

“Up stepped senior players Jody Banim and Will Haining to fill the breach and steady the ship, an extremely difficult task with players leaving almost every week, limited resources, and players they might want, unavailable. Undaunted the two set about the task with gusto, and hard graft, bringing in loan players, and their own UEFA A coach, Damian Crossley, to improve the ability of those players who remained at the club. Their performance, unstinting effort, and that of their team, made the decision to appoint the two as joint managers, some weeks later, an easy one.

“Well I think you will all agree that their efforts haven’t been in vain. We have had a superb season, knocking on the door of the playoffs, reaching the quarter final of the League Cup, despite all the obstacles in our way. Everyone connected to the club, players, management, board, volunteers and fans have rallied together and we are stronger for the experience, looking forwards with optimism to the 2017/18 season.

“Unfortunately it was my painful duty earlier this week to inform you that the future will be one without Will Haining as he has decided to take a complete break from a career in football to devote more time to his young family. Sadly we accept Will’s resignation and thank him for all the many hours he has put in, together with Jody, to ensure that this season wasn’t the disaster some thought it might be. Indeed some would argue that we are a much stronger outfit nowadays, unbeaten this season by the runaway league champions no less! On behalf of everyone I want to wish Will the very best for the future – family or football – no decision at all.

“With Will leaving the club I am pleased to say the Jody Banim has accepted the role of Manager, in sole charge. He advises that he will be joined by Simon Woodford as Assistant Player-manager. We will look forward to working with them over the coming months to bring in quality players and build a squad capable of challenging for honours.

“On behalf of the board I want to thank everyone for the massive contribution made to make Ashton United the super club that it is. It is a privilege and an honour to be Chairman of such a friendly and well respected club, that others, with much greater resources, look to as a model. This is only achievable through everyone working unselfishly together for a common good. You’re the greatest! Bring on 2017/18.”

Ashton edged their way to a 1-0 victory over relegated Ilkeston on Saturday, which gave them a finishing position of 11th spot in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

The club held its end of season awards night following the game. Here are the winners:

  • Managers Player of the Year: Mark Lees
  • Players’ Player of the Year: Ryan Crowther
  • The Club person of the Year: Carol Finnigan
  • The Supporter of the Year: Trish Bromley
  • The Directors Player of the Year: Dominic Smalley
  • The Supporters’ Player of the Year: Matty Chadwick
  • AUFC Supports’ Club Player of the Year: Richard Smith