A NEW era begins for Linby Colliery Welfare Football Club today (Saturday August 11) as they take on the challenge of the Central Midlands League (CML).
The club have decided to quit the Notts Senior League (NSL) as part of ambitious plans to climb the non-league ladder.
They want to improve their Church Lane ground and by being part of the CML, which is on step seven of the non-league ladder, grants are available to do so.
As part of preparations for the new campaign, Linby have widened and fenced off their pitch.
Action gets underway in the South Division of the CML at home tomorrow against Blidworth Welfare (kick-off 3 pm).
This is followed next Tuesday by a derby clash with Kimberley Town, again at Church Lane (kick-off 6.30 pm).
As revealed previously by the Dispatch, Linby say their ultimate ambition is to reach step six of the non-league set up and play in the East Midlands Counties League.
Off the field they want to build new dressing rooms and a clubhouse, followed by the installation of floodlights.
Such plans would have been a pipedream two seasons ago when they finished rock bottom in the NSL’s Senior Division with just seven points from 30 games.
But last term, under the guidance of new managers Dave Bradshaw and Dave Marlow, they enjoyed a remarkable turnaround as they finished fourth with 59 points.
They also made it to the final of the League Cup where they narrowly lost in a penalty shootout with league champions Bulwell.
In order to forge ahead with plans, Linby will be charging on the gate this season. It will cost £3 on first-team matchdays, although this will include a copy of the programme and entry into a raffle.
Season-ticket packages are available by calling secretary Ade Ward on 0115 9538491.
As part of preparations on the pitch for the new campaign, Linby have made a succession of new signings.
These include well-known Hucknall defender Terry Henshaw, who was on the books of Notts County.
Henshaw also played for Burton Albion, Carlton Town and Hucknall Town.
He is joined at Church Lane by Jamie Bennett from Southwell City, Martin Burke from Sheffield FC, Hucknall Rolls Leisure trio Kyle McDermott, Charlie Niblett and Duncan Paterson and goalkeeper Curtis Holmes, who has joined from Gedling Miners Welfare.
They finished off their run of pre-season friendlies with a comprehensive 7-0 win over Retford Town with McDermott bagging a hat-trick and Damien Mann, Bernard, Winfield and Buke also getting on the scoresheet.
LINBY have also are also continuing their sponsorship deal with Everglade Toolmakers, who are based in Hucknall.
The firm have backed the club for eight years now and will once again be the main kit sponsors.
Ward said: “I would like to thank Mick Dean, of Everglade, and the company for their continued support.
“Without the likes of Mick, grassroots non-league football would just not exist.
“Mick is not only our main sponsor, but he takes on an important role on our committee.”