NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: New recruits dare to dream big with the Lilies

There seems to be a common factor between two of Chatteris Town’s summer signings so far.

The Lilies signed central defender Dean Grogan from nearby Ely City last week and, more recently, young full-back Adam Parmenter after appearing for St Ives Town’s title-winning under 18 side last season.

Both players made their debuts in the 1-0 Bill Salisbury Memorial Cup triumph at March Town last Thursday, and both have made the switch to West Street for similar reasons.

“Chatteris interested me over other clubs because of the young squad and the welcoming feeling they sent across”, Grogan said.

“They seem like a team with big potential and big plans, which I hope to be a part of.

“Ash has got plans which he and everyone at the club want to achieve, so hopefully, I can be part of a successful strong back four and team.

“The club has plans so hopefully we can achieve them and play some nice football.”

New signing Dean Grogan (right) hopes to add goals from defence this season

Although the former Robins man hopes to personally develop under manager Ashley Taylor’s tutelage, he also looks to succeed with his new set of teammates.

“I hope to bring my heart and passion to the team, along with my fight and ambition, some strong defending and a few goals.

“I hope I can progress obviously myself, but also help the team progress – the team is the main aim for me.”

Parmenter, who committed to the Lilies cause on Tuesday, has previously featured for fellow Kershaw Premier Division outfit Hemingfords United.

However, the 17-year old hopes to achieve bigger and better things at his new club.

“Although having several other offers, I think this team is going places and they have Ashley Taylor who believes in young, promising players to play at senior level, which I think is great”, Parmenter said.

“I had been training with three other clubs during pre-season and I was contacted by Ashley about coming to training and I thought I’d go along.

“I was also introduced to Jimmy Unwin through one of the young coaches at St Ives, Alfie Tate, so I went along to one of his pre pre-season sessions and his coaching was superb.

“I had played against them last season at Chatteris and thought they had a great setup there, and they finished in a good position.

“They are in a competitive league at a good standard of football, the players there have great quality and the club has great ambition.

“I think I can bring energy to the side and a hard-working attitude with a willingness to learn.

“I think the more games I play, I will improve and add to my game.”

One player that is one of Town’s key transfer targets is Jack Saunders, who appeared for United Counties Premier Division side Yaxley last campaign and highlighted in last week’s cup win.

Taylor’s men continue preparations ahead of the new season when they visit Step Five opposition in Haverhill Borough tonight at The New Croft (7.45pm), before playing three home games in seven days.

 

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NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Derby success, regaining fitness and new recruits just some of the ideas on Taylor’s pre-season wish list

Chatteris Town boss Ashley Taylor believes his side can reign victorious on rival territory as they begin their pre-season campaign tomorrow.

The Lilies tackle March Town at The GER on Thursday (7.45pm kick-off) in the annual Bill Salisbury Memorial Cup fixture, their first test of a five-match friendly programme, in which they seek to reclaim the prestigious trophy back from the Hares after losing 1-2 at West Street last summer.

Taylor’s men have only had three training sessions since completing their return season in the Kershaw Premier Division in May, but he feels this is not a major issue against higher opponents.

“I’m optimistic and will always go into a game believing we can win”, Taylor said.

“March are a few weeks ahead of us in terms of preparation, but the lads have kept themselves in good shape.

“It would be nice to win the cup for Bill Salisbury’s family and if we do win, it will be good for our confidence with March being higher-level opposition.”

Activity off the field is in full flow for Town, having lost two star players from last season in Craig Gillies and Aidan Hollis to King’s Lynn Town and Wisbech St Mary respectively in recent weeks.

We are looking at all options right now – Ashley Taylor

And Taylor is committed to looking far and wide to replace them, but also wants to utilise pre-season for other reasons.

He said: ‘The main aim is match fitness, but also cohesion in the team, working on patterns of play and building team spirit.

“It (Gillies’ and Hollis’ presence) impacts how we used to play, but we are looking at changing the way we play this season and if we get things right, we will be fine.

“We will be looking to improve our squad in defence, midfield and attack.

“I would like to bring in three new players, but this is never easy with a lot of competition to sign new players.

“We are looking at all options right now.”

Pre-season training for the Reserve Team has began, while sessions for the A Team get underway tomorrow.

Reserve Team sessions run every Monday and Wednesday from 7pm at West Street, with A Team sessions, from tomorrow, running every Tuesday and Thursday thereafter, same time and venue.

New and current players are all welcome.

Friendly schedules for both sides have yet to be confirmed.

NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Gillies confident ahead of Linnets challenge

It may be the biggest challenge of his career so far, but one that he’s certainly ready for.

Striker Craig Gillies’ switch to step three King’s Lynn Town, who ply their trade in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division, may leave some wondering if he can succeed at a higher standard.

But Gillies, who netted 38 goals for step-seven Chatteris Town in the Kershaw Premier Division last season and finished runner-up in the league’s golden boot, is confident he can compete a few levels above than what he has been used to.

“Step Three is a massive step up and I really like the challenge to see how I can compete at that level”, he said.

“I enjoyed my time at Lynn last time and performed alright.

“I played three, scored three, but with work commitments, it was difficult at the time.

“I am going there with the intentions to score goals and win games, so hopefully it goes to plan.

“The club’s ambitions are to get promoted and be challenging along with a good cup run, so hopefully I can contribute well to that.”

The Lilies front-man has signed a one-year deal with the Linnets after impressing Lynn manager Ian Culverhouse, having previously featured for the club’s reserve side last year.

But Gillies admits there are still areas that can be bettered.

“There are a couple of aspects to my game I know I need to improve, but hopefully with a coach of Ian’s calibre, he can help get the best out of me.

“I had several other offers from clubs in different leagues, but when I knew Ian was interested in signing me, it was a massive privilege.

“From someone who has such experience was a big plus for signing for Lynn.”

The 25-year old forward also had strong words for Lilies boss Ashley Taylor, who has overseen his development since teaming up at Doddington United.

“Ash has been amazing since we first joined forces at Doddington.

“I have so much respect for Ash and I’ve loved playing every second for him.

“I’m sure our paths will cross again.”

END-OF-SEASON REVIEW: Top-four spots just out of reach, but a solid return to Step Seven football for Taylor’s Lilies

Perhaps not a season to remember compared to last, but it has been a solid return to the Cambridgeshire top flight for Chatteris Town.

The Lilies finished fifth in the Kershaw Premier Division after spending much of the season in the top four spots, having not enjoyed the successes of the 2015-16 promotion-winning campaign.

But one success is for certain and that’s consolidation, the aim which departing manager (at the moment), Ashley Taylor, set out for his side in August, which was exceeded by a long stretch.

Taylor encouraging his players at West Wratting

 

I believe we are a top four team right now – Ashley Taylor

 

 

Even so, a year that has gone above and beyond initial targets could have got even better, potentially once Taylor’s decision to leave his managerial post at the end of the season was made.

“When I made my intentions clear to the team midway through the season, our performance levels dropped and also the injuries we have had”, Taylor, who is set to become the new director of football at the club, said.

“In my opinion, I believe we are a top-four team right now, but this season, we lost very important players at crucial stages of the season.

“I know and the players know we could have done better, but we have to be happy with a fifth-place finish.

“Overall, I think we have had a good first season back in the Kershaw Premier League.”

Town endured a run of one win in six games between February and April, a time where Taylor believes cost his side dearly.

“I think this was a crucial time where we lost ground on the top four.

“I knew at the start of the season, we were going to experience tough times where we would have back-to-back defeats and it’s all about how we dealt with the tough times.

“Generally, I was happy with how we stuck together and tried to find solutions to come through the tough moments.”

Hitting the back of the net wasn’t a cause for concern, converting 86 goals from 38 games in all competitions, 45 of those at West Street.

Craig Gillies (pictured) scored 38 in 38 appearances, nine short of last season’s tally

However, they accounted for very little in terms of victories against any of the teams above them, claiming just one win during the season, which Taylor thinks is down to one reason.

“We relied too much on Craig (Gillies) to score this year and the other teams around us simply had more firepower.

“Since I’ve been manager, nine times out of 10, we have put in excellent attacking performances at home and it’s created excitement within the town.

“Attendances increased because of the way we go about attacking the opposition.”

Striker Gillies was the team’s top goalscorer for the second successive season, with 38 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions, which his predatory instincts in front of goal can help inspire the youth within the squad, according to Taylor.

“Craig’s been a role model this year and any young player that wants to do well in the game should just look at his application and attitude towards the game.

“The lad’s a born winner and he’s not missed a game this season.

“He deserves all the credit coming his way and he’s been very important to our success.

“Craig’s been important, but so has every player that has played for us this season; it’s all about being together as a team.”

The Lilies celebrating with the Cliff Bullen Challenge Cup during their promotion-winning season

Since Taylor’s arrival in 2015, The Lilies have been through arguably their most successful time in the club’s history, winning promotion, three cups and achieving a top five place in the Kershaw Premier.

And in his view, there’s more development on the pitch to come next season as the Fenland outfit’s bid for promotion to the Thurlow Nunn League was cut short in March.

“Our pre-season was spot on last year, hence why we started so well, but this is all down to the new management team.

“This is a team that can only get better.

“Most of the players in our team have not reached their full potential yet with their best years still to come.

“If they stick together, I see very exciting times ahead for this football club.”

With a new manager set to be announced before the start of the new season, it seems Chatteris Town’s hopes of progression look to be enhanced as they try to improve on a strong start to life back at Step Seven.

Future looks bright for the Lilies ahead of redevelopment

It has been an idea in the making, but after a lengthy wait, Chatteris Town’s plans for a refurbished clubhouse will finally come to light.

The announcement comes after the club received a £75,000 grant from Sport England in May, with discussions for developing the facilities taking place.

Lisa Salisbury, treasurer at Chatteris Town, said: “We have once again sustained financial stability and finally received the go-ahead from Sport England for our improvements.

“It is hoped that this will raise the profile of the club in the town. We can now look at improvements around the ground and the pitch.”

Improving off the pitch is one of the key targets, having seen progression on it in recent times.

Lester Kent, director of football at the club, said: “I would hope the club continues the progress it has made over the last two years.

“The club is going from strength to strength. It will be difficult to match the last two years, but we will certainly try.”

Although developments may improve the club, there is another area that is still a worry.

“The refurbished clubroom could bring more revenue, but the car parking is still problematic”, Kent said.

“Better facilities, more functions, getting more people involved and hiring out the facilities to other groups are all possible.”

Ash Taylor
Aspiring bigger: Taylor wants his side to play higher at the earliest opportunity (Credit: Steve Snell)

In terms of on the field, there is room for optimism after the Lilies’ success last season.

“Our future aspirations are promotion to the Eastern Counties or the United Counties League”, Lilies boss Ashley Taylor said.

“I have told the club that if the opportunity is there, then we want to go up.

“With the improvements to the facilities now ready to happen, this club is a very good place to be at.”

It’s not just the first-team who have future ambitions of their own, however.

“The Reserves are through to the next round of a cup competition and hopefully they can finish near the top of their league”, Salisbury added.

“The A Team are near the top of their league, so let’s hope they can keep that up.”

The possible benefits of a successful club could also assist financially, according to Kent.

“A winning team gets publicity, helps gain sponsors and brings a few more people to watch at West Street, plus increased revenue and new players to the club”, he said.