New manager and chairman unveiled at Hucknall Town

IN THE HOTSEAT -- new manager Brett Marshall
IN THE HOTSEAT -- new manager Brett Marshall

ROLL out the yellow carpet for a double act determined to transform the ailing fortunes of Hucknall Town.

As expected, Town have unveiled their new manager.

IN THE HOTSEAT -- new chairman Derek Blow

IN THE HOTSEAT -- new chairman Derek Blow

And as hinted in the Dispatch, it is Brett Marshall, one of the brightest bosses in Nottinghamshire non-league football.

But in a move that surprised all, The Yellows also named a new chairman — well-known local businessman Derek Blow.

Town appear to have landed on their feet with the two appointments because both men have just left their former clubs.

Marshall has quit Retford United after guiding them to the Northern Counties East League championship in his first season at Cannon Park.

This was because the FA denied them promotion to Town’s Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, Division One South because of “off the field issues”, believed to be well-documented financial problems.

Meanwhile Blow has resigned after five years as chairman of one of The Yellows’ divisional rivals, Rainworth, because of what are described as “irreconcilable differences” with the committee over the club’s way forward.

Now the two have combined in what Town are hoping is a dream ticket back to glory.

“This is a match-up that is crucial to Hucknall Town,” said Marshall.

“There are going to be some big changes. The ethos of the football club has to change. But we will get the club back on an even keel.

“My drive will equal that of the chairman, who is a well-respected businessman.

“Things won’t happen overnight but we will take small steps to make this club great again.

“I have always dreamed of managing at this sort of level and above. I would like to get Hucknall Town back in the Evo-Stik Premier.”

Such words helped Town’s committee choose Marshall, from a shortlist of seven, to replace former Nottingham Forest defender Des Lyttle, who quit at the start of the month.

Lyttle presided over The Yellows’ first season outside the top three tiers of non-league football for 14 years.

But after four consecutive campaigns in the bottom four, including two relegations, 2011/12 was racked by takeover controversy and financial headaches.

So this fresh appointment — the club’s 13th in 11 years — is seen as vital to secure much-needed stability at Watnall Road.

Marshall will bring with him from Retford his assistant, former Gedling Miners Welfare boss Graham Walker, and The Badgers’ coach, Hucknall-based Jody Caudwell (27), who also works for Notts FA as a football development officer.

Several Retford players will also switch to Watnall Road, including two with Hucknall connections, defender Danny Hayes and striker Warren Hatfield.

Given Marshall’s profile as a hungry, successful up-and-coming manager who is well versed in the demands of local football, there is genuine belief that The Yellows have got it right.

“I think he could be the man to lead us back to the Premier Division,” said chief executive Liz Morley.

“The decision wasn’t easy. There were a lot of good candidates. But we believe we have the right man.

“We were impressed with what Brett achieved on a constrained budget at Retford.

“He is extremely passionate, very determined and very ambitious.”

Outgoing chairman Brian Holmes was equally effusive in his praise of Marshall, describing him as “a tough cookie”.

“Maybe he is the man to get us going again,” he said.

However Holmes was even more excited about the prospect of Blow taking over as chairman, allowing him to relinquish a position he resumed only temporarily in February.

Blow is the man behind the D.I.Blow chain of 13 independent optician’s stores across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. There is one on Central Walk, Hucknall and one on Main Street, Bulwell.

Although he retired in 1999, it is believed he still possesses considerable financial acumen and is understood to have made a £1.5 million bid to buy Mansfield Town two years ago.

The Yellows still have about £26,000 to pay from their near-£90,000 VAT debt. But when that is cleared, Blow is expected to pump welcome investment into the club.

“Derek is very keen and very knowledgeable,” said Holmes, who will remain as Town’s president.

“He is absolutely ideal after what we have had. He is a proper businessman, no fly-by-night. And he is real non-league football man.

“Once we have converted the club into a limited company, he will be investing to make sure the club is secure.

“In fact, he was pleasantly surprised to find us in as stable a position as we now are.

“Let’s hope it’s onwards and upwards from here.

“Derek sees it as a big move for him, and I think he will be great for the club. These are exciting times for Hucknall Town.”