Manager Dave Marlow has been lavished with praise after the miraculous revival that has transformed Linby Colliery Welfare Football Club.
Only last season, Linby finished next to bottom of the Central Midlands League’s (CML) South Division. Now they have already accumulated more points than the whole of the 2013/14 campaign and sit as high as fourth in the table.
And long-standing secretary Adrian Ward is sure that 35-year-old Marlow must take most of the credit.
“I have have nothing but admiration for Dave and what he has done at the club,” said Ward this week.
“We were rock-bottom of the Notts Senior League when he first came in. He has done a fantastic job.”
With no money to pay players, Marlow has relied largely on promising youngsters, sprinkled with experience from the likes of ex-Burton Albion and Notts County defender Terry Henshaw, who is club captain.
“It was Dave who instigated the youth policy that is paying dividends now,” added Ward. “Getting Terry fit, and getting Matt Peberday back, alongside him in defence, has also made a big difference.
“You could see signs last season that progress was being made. We went to Bulwell with a bare 11 and drew. This season, it has just clicked.
“When we were struggling, Dave could easily have walked away. But he loves the club. He’s a Linby man, his dad played for Linby and he wanted to put things right.”
Hand in hand with progress on the field is Linby’s £300,000 ground-development plan, which is still very much in the pipeline.
The club are waiting for the next stage of the funding process. But they have secured a long-term lease at their Church Lane ground and will soon be starting work on a new clubhouse and dressing-rooms.
“This will be followed by the levelling of the pitch and the installation of floodlights.
“We are working closely with the FA on the project, and hope to be applying for funding from Sport England very soon,” said Ward.
Rumours that Linby might lose their CML status because they do not have lights have been quashed. Clubs no longer need them to compete at this level of the non-league ladder.