GIVE US a chance, come and support us — and we will give you value for money.
That’s the trade-off new manager Brett Marshall is hoping to sell to fans as he plots the resurrection of Hucknall Town.
Marshall (43) was settling into his new job this week after being charged with the task of stopping a Watnall Road rot that dates back to the day in 2005 when they lost the FA Trophy final at Villa Park.
Since then, Town have been on a downward spiral, both on and off the field, that has resulted in two relegations and crippling financial worries.
But Marshall insists there are now “exciting times” ahead. And both he and new chairman Derek Blow are preaching the message that “we can make this club great again”.
“Stability is what’s needed,” said Marshall, who has moved to Town from Retford United, last season’s Northern Counties East League, Premier Division champions.
“There is a lot of work to be done but we want people to come back to the club.
“What happens to clubs is that the higher they get, they chase the dream. But unfortunately, they can’t sustain it and end up coming down again.
“Crowds have dropped to around 170 here, which is poor when you consider the size of Hucknall.
“I want 200-plus from day one. I say to the fans: give the new manager, the new chairman and the players a chance.
“We want the supporters to come back. We want this to be a community club.
“A lot of the players will be local lads, and I promise they will play entertaining football.
“The fans will see a style of football that they like. We won’t be direct. We won’t just get the ball forward. For me, those days are gone.
“I don’t waste people’s money. Supporters will get value for money.
“If they are going to pay £7 to watch us, they deserve to be entertained — and they will be.
“They will get lads who will work their socks off and give everything every game.
“Things won‘t happen overnight. But we will still try and win the league, and I guarantee we will be at the right end of the table.”
Before leading Retford to their title (one level lower than Town), Marshall made his name as a manager in the Central Midlands League, where he enjoyed success at Southwell City, Blidworth and Kirkby Town.
At all four clubs, progress stalled because of off-the-field shortcomings. But he is confident that, under the direction of chairman Blow, Town can resolve the problems that have afflicted their off-the-field operation in recent years.
“What happens off the field has to be in line with what happens on the field, and vice-versa,” says Marshall.
“You could play at Old Trafford every week, but if you don’t win a game, it’s pointless.
“There are going to be big changes here but the biggest thing is that we will be open and honest.
“There will be a lot of transparency now. We want to be open and to get the community back on board, so there is no distance between us.
“For instance, in the next few weeks, I will be holding a meet-the-manager night for supporters.”
The main message those supporters will want to hear concerns the kind of team Marshall will be sending out in yellow shirts next season. After five gloomy years, they are desperate for something to shout about.
Marshall has already indicated that he will be bringing several players from Retford with him. Players such as Warren Hatfield, Danny Hayes, Jason Fisher, Corey Nightingale, Jamie Brown and Carl Haslam.
But he is keen to retain the best players from last season’s squad too, if they match his ideals, as well as seeking out new signings from elsewhere.
And after forging a reputation for ensuring that money is bottom of the priority-list, he won’t be affected by any controversies over budgets.
“I have a strong work-ethic and I don’t do bullshit,” says Marshall. “I tell it straight.
“We had a terrific season at Retford because we had no money-orientated players.
“When I speak to players about signing, if they mention money initially, then they are not the kind of player I am interested in. I try to find out about the quality of that player first.
“The ethos of Hucknall Town Football Club has to change.
“I will speak to all the existing players to find out about their vision, drive and determination. I’d also like to talk to those players who left to join Tommy Brookbanks at Stamford.
“But the most important thing is to have a dressing-room that is as tight as possible. There will be no room for egos. The days when some players are on contract and others aren’t and some are earning more than others are gone
“You can‘t win the league with 11 Lionel Messis. But at the same time, you can’t win the league with 11 top-quality centre-halves. You have to get the balance eight.
“I don’t look at what players have on their CVs. That means nothing to me.
“I want people who are proud to play for Hucknall Town.”