At just 25 years old, manager Danny Penswick took the managerial reins of Squires Gate FC at a time where Gate hadn’t won a league game, and needed rescuing from the depths of the Premier Division.
Fast forward to January 2017, Penswick has led Gate to 14th in the league, playing attractive attacking football, but also having the ability to win games when needed, something Danny knew needed to happen from the beginning.
“I brought in some experience and made us a bit nasty. Last season we didn’t score enough goals and we were too nice. So my signings were specifically trying to resolve our weakness, I feel we’ve done both.
“Last season I didn’t really have enough time to imprint a way of playing and with the situation we were in, I was entirely results driven. We needed to win games of football and anything else was a bonus. We had some good players but with so much pressure on every game, we didn’t play with a freedom, we didn’t express ourselves.
“We’ve got some excellent players who given the chance will give anyone a good game of football. In some ways playing the top teams have suited us more. We’ve had space to play and the speed in which we can go forward. I believe that’s the level we can achieve, we just need to add some consistency to our play.
“With a small squad, the Saturday/Tuesday games began to take their toll and our performance levels dropped as a consequence. Since early December we’ve had some extra recovery time between games and really refocused on what we want to achieve this season.
“I’d say the squad we currently have is the strongest in my time at Gate. I know we’re probably a bit short up top at the moment but apart from that we’ve a real strength through our spine. I challenged the lads a few weeks ago to find a new way to win after losing two players to the Evo-Stick League, and they’ve done that. We’re a group who likes to solve problems and want to get better.
“People will say that for a club like Squires Gate our target should always be survival, and maybe after last season it should have been, but I’m not a massive fan of setting a target where we lose 20 games of football.
“For me, our target is to win every game. If we’re not going out looking to win, we might as well stay at home and keep the missus happy. We’ve got a squad I genuinely believe can win every game we play in, so why not try. Is it an impossible target yes, but why target failure.
“Players will always have their own personal targets which they strive for but I don’t add to the pressure. I like to let the lads play with freedom as that’s when we’re at our best. To tell my striker I want 20 for the season would be a lie, I want 40, I want you to score every time you play and if you’re not I’ll demand more.
“We’re always striving to get better and I want us to finish strongly. In football you cannot stand still, your either moving forward or going backwards.
“It’d be easy to look at our position and think ‘job done’ we’re not going to trouble the top of the table and unless we have a massive collapse relegation isn’t on the cards either, but no, I want us to finish top half”.