Swallownest FC build for the future

IT might have been a mixed season so far, but Swallownest FC are seeing positive signs off the field as 2023 begins.

Although results in the Northern Counties East League have been mixed for their young team, efforts to move the club forward are being driven by chairman Martin Morton.

A man with an impressive background in sporting and leisure management and organising major events, Martin took up the role last year with an aim to strengthen the club's links with its immediate area.

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And although it is still early days, progress is being made.

“This season was about consolidating in the league and trying to put the club at the centre of the community and getting more people associated with it,” said Martin.

“That is working because our attendances are up 30 per cent and they're one of the best in the league even though we have not been pulling trees up results wise.”

The club has also established a partnership with Aston Swallownest Juniors which could, in the long term, not only produce future first-teamers but possibly necessitate a move to an artificial playing surface like the new ones recently laid at Dinnington and Kiveton.

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Martin said: “This club has never purported to be one that can bring youngsters in right from very young right through to senior football because we have only got a grass pitch.

“We haven't got a 3G pitch like Dinnington and Staveley where you can develop the club.

“Longer term I would like us to get that 3G pitch and some decent floodlights in so we can help the boys and girls games. That's a long-term aspiration.”

In the meantime, Swallownest are trying to rediscover the form that brought manager Alex Nightingale a nomination for the NCEL's Manager of the Month Award back in October before six straight defeats halted progress.

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Swall sit 15th in the table after back-to-back 1-0 home defeats over the past week to Selby Town and Ollerton Town.

They were on course for a point against Selby before falling to a 90th minute winner from Daniel Davison.

Swall also lost late on to Ollerton on Monday, George Slack’s winner arriving in the 75th minute. That turned out to be the last game in charge for the manager, who stepped down this week after two years at the helm.

However things go on the field, Swallownest won't judge progress just by results.

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The club has a one-year rolling lease agreement with Miners' Welfare to use the football ground there, known affectionately as the “Swall Siro”.

With Martin's input, the club is looking to build a stronger relationship with their landlords as it works towards bigger goals.

Added Martin: “We are still consolidating and building a reputation but we are going in the right direction.

“Anyone who has been involved with the club has said what a difference it has been this year.

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“The number of volunteers we have working, the number of people coming to watch us — we have a young side.

“It is very positive. It is boding well for the future.”

Swallownest’s next match is at home to Beverley Town a week on Saturday.

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