In the 2010-11 season, New Mills stormed to the Hallmark Security League title with over 100 goals and points.
However, they have returned to the division they won 5 years ago after they were convincingly relegated last season. The club were winless in their 42 league matches last season, and mustered 3 draws along the way which gained national media attention.
Current New Mills boss Garry Brown loves a record or two. He came in and took charge of the Millers side that lost their opening 16 matches last season, having previously been part of a management trio of a Wythenshawe Town side that had won all 39 of their league matches in the 2014-15 season. Talk about all or nothing.
I caught up with the New Mills manager to discuss the season ahead.
“It’s very exciting to come back to the North West Counties Premier Division”, declares Brown, as he returns to a division he is familiar with after having previously had experience with Glossop North End amongst others at this level.
When asked if New Mills will benefit from the transition from the Evo-Stik league to the Hallmark Security League, Brown responded with: “Hopefully, I do know what’s expected of players at this level. I’ve played most teams in the league before, so I know the players around the circuit, we’ll just prepare the best we can for each game.”
Experience could well be the key to success for a New Mills side that were admittedly financially inferior to many of their opponents last season. During the interview, Brown admitted that the gulf in financial muscle was too much for his side as he recalled their 9-0 defeat to former FA Vase winners Spennymoor Town, stating that their wealth and semi-professional status were just too much for his side.
However, that tough season has been placed firmly in the past, as New Mills prepare for a fresh start back in a league where they have fared so well in the past.
Ambition and realism is a very rare combination in a manager’s beliefs but Brown seems to take a methodical approach on how to take New Mills back where they aspire to be. He knows that it will not be easy to earn their spot back in the Evo-Stik League, however still has an aspiration of promotion next season.
“We’re going to do the best we can. We want to be pushing for the top half of the table and we want to get back to the Evo-Stik as quickly as possible, if that means consolidation then so be it but we are building a club that expects to be in the Evo-Stik”.
New Mills look firmly set on putting the turmoil of the last campaign behind them, and although they were dubbed “the worst team in England” by national media last season, their fighting spirit was praised as much as their results were brought to the attention of the wider public.
“We did have a great dressing room atmosphere, the team spirit was good, and the lads who travelled to Spennymoor (126 miles from the home of New Mills) on a Tuesday night didn’t get paid”.
As has been seen last season with Leicester City, team spirit can take you a long way in football, and Garry Brown and his team will be looking to create a similar success story for New Mills to achieve promotion in this campaign.