The Rolls Revolution is under way as one of Hucknall’s most ambitious and progressive football clubs prepares for the non-league big time.
Hucknall Rolls Leisure say they are ready to step up in class to rub shoulders with the likes of derby rivals, Bulwell, Hucknall Town and Linby Colliery Welfare.
And to celebrate their elevation from the Notts Senior League (NSL) to the Central Midlands League (CML), they are to host one of the most high-profile matches of their history.
For Notts County are to send a star-studded team to Rolls for a prestigious pre-season friendly this summer.
The friendly has been arranged by ex-Hucknall Town coach Jamie Brough, who is the new director of football at the Rolls site.
Brough is a pal of Magpies’ manager Shaun Derry, who has promised to send a strong Notts side for the match on Wednesday 16th July (kick-off 7.30 pm).
“It’s all looking very positive for us, both on and off the field” said long-standing manager Jez Corthorn this week. “We are very upbeat.
“We have joined the CML because we want something different and a new challenge.
“All the players have said they are staying. They are excited about playing at a higher level and at new grounds.
“We also have some potentially quality signings lined up with CML experience.”
Among those signings will be Richard Harrison, who has been recruited from Basford United as player/coach.
The 33-year-old Harrison has been at the club several times in the past, but has now promised to settle into his new role permanently.
The Rollers have been in the NSL since 2007 when the club was formed in a switch from its previous base at Bestwood Miners Welfare.
They were challenging for the Senior Division title for most of last season before finishing a close third. But they gained sweet consolation by lifting the league’s Senior Cup.
“It was disappointing not to win the league because that was our main goal,” said Corthorn.
“But we were unfortunate to pick up some key injuries at the same time and we didn’t act quickly enough to bring in new signings.
“I was still pleased with the season overall. I was delighted that we shrugged off the disappointment, stuck at it and won the cup. Now we want to carry on the momentum into next season.
“We aim to consolidate in our first season in the CML and, hopefully, be competitive. The following season, we plan to enter the FA Vase.”
Rolls’s fresh move means a myriad of exciting derbies in the Dispatch district next season as they vie with Bulwell, Town and Linby for local bragging rights.
But Corthorn and Co are confident of continued progress, especially as officials at the Rolls site are placing more emphasis on football in a bid to boost finances at the social club.
At the football club’s presentation day last weekend, secretary Mark Towlson was full of praise for the continued support of Rolls-Royce Leisure and made special mention of the good working relationship they have with Brough.
Towlson also thanked the club’s main sponsors, AJS Embroidery, Wheel Worx and Angus Lift Trucks Ltd.
The two main awards for the first team were shared. Greg Conn and James Duncan took the players’ player of the year accolade, while Aaron Short and Jack Matthews took the managers’ player equivalent.
The awards for the reserves were presented by Adrian Gibson, who has stepped down after a year as manager to concentrate on his youth coaching. Players’ player was Ashley Dove and managers’ player was Billy Brooks.
Gibson, who was thanked for his efforts, is to be replaced by a new reserves’ management team comprising Reece Jackson, former boss of top Hucknall Sunday side T8’s, Andy Tring and Graeme Wright.
Pre-season training for the club starts as early as next Tuesday, and as well as the Notts County match, other pre-season friendlies lined up are:
Thursday 10th July, Basford United (A); Saturday 12th July Underwood Villa (A); Saturday 19th July Dunkirk (A); Saturday 26th July Arnold Town (H) and Saturday 2nd August Gedling Miners Welfare (H).