THE OLDEST football club in the Dispatch district are turning back the clock in an attempt to revive their fortunes in the future.
For Linby Colliery Welfare have appointed veteran former boss Dave Bradshaw as their new manager after the most disastrous season in their 63-year history.
Working alongside Bradshaw will be joint player/manager Dave Marlow (32), a talented local player who had a brief spell at Hucknall Town two years ago. And their assistant will be club stalwart Ash Ward (29), the son of Linby’s long-serving secretary Adrian Ward.
The new line-up was annnounced after a 2010/11 campaign in which Linby finished rock-bottom of the Notts Senior League’s (NSL) Senior Division with only SEVEN points.
Despite that, they expect to discover at the league’s annual general meeting next week that they will remain in the top flight because four other clubs, Basford United, Bilborough Pelican, Clifton and Notts Police, have defected to other leagues.
And Bradshaw, who joins after three years with divisional rivals Awsworth Villa, has been charged with the task of reviving a club once revered as one of the most feared in Nottinghamshire. Back in the 1950s, they won the Notts FA Senior Cup twice and also reached the First Round proper of the FA Cup.
“We are really looking forward to the challenge,” said Bradshaw this week.
“I enjoyed three good years at Awsworth alongisde Kev Buxton. But I feel that Linby are poised to go further.
“The infrastructure of the club is all there, and there is still good support at the club. Unfortunately they have not had the quality of players to get results.
“Hopefully we can now get the results to put Linby on the map again. The response we have had from players wanting to join us has been very good and I believe we can become a decent outfit. We can have a reasonable first season and then build from there.”
Bradshaw had three successful years in charge at Linby between 2004 and 2007 when they finished second, seventh and fourth in the NSL’s top division. After he resigned and quit the club in an acrimonious dispute, his successor, Kev Corbett, guided Linby to the final of the league cup.
But since Corbett stepped down in December 2008, the club has been in freefall. They only just avoided relegation under Kez Dean and Matt Keetley in 2009/10 and last term, two bosses, Terry Smith and then Neil Smith, lasted only ten and 20 league games respectively, winning just twice between them.
However Bradshaw does not view his appointment as an opportunity to complete unfinished business. “Football is not even about what happened last Saturday, never mind three years ago,” he said.
“We could talk all day long about history but my ethos has always been to look forward.”
At 64, Bradshaw is one of the oldest managers in local football. But he possesses a goldmine of experience, while his passion for the game remains as youthful as ever.
Teacher Marlow, who joins Linby from Gedling Miners Welfare in the East Midland Counties League, will continue to play. It’s his first taste of management after he rejected a previous invitation to join Hucknall Rolls Leisure as player/coach. His dad, Rob, used to work at the former Linby pit.
Linby are banking on Marlow’s link-up with Bradshaw providing the ideal blend for success.
“Dave is interested in getting into management but isn’t quite ready yet, so wants to work with someone like me,” Bradshaw added.
“He is the future. He knows current players. He will lean on me for experience but he has the enthusiasm and drive.”
Secretary Ward said: “We feel it’s the perfect partnership to take us forward. Both are full of enthusiasm and eager to rebuild the club. The appointments have given everyone at the club a huge lift. I can’t wait to work with them.”
The mood in the Linby camp is sure to be reflected tomorrow (Saturday, from 4 pm) when they stage their annual summer barbecue and disco at their Church Lane ground.