The management duo have signed eight new players and have agreed terms with ten of last season’s squad as the Nailers prepare for a hopefully successful push for promotion to the NPL Premier Division.
Here is a rundown on the new players and also the views of Grant Black and the existing players on why they are committing their futures to the club.
The Nailers first signing was Sam Wright, a central midfield player who has signed for the club from Sheffield FC. Sam played a part in Sheffield reaching the playoffs at the end of last season. The Nailers management team had worked with Sam previously at Ossett and he was a major part in that club reaching the play-offs a few seasons ago. He is a hard working midfielder who loves a tackle, works box-to-box really well, and his arrival will certainly add quality to the Nailers squad. Grant Black told the club’s website that Sam is everything he looks for in a player and he can't wait to get back working with him and is hoping that he can work his magic again.
Hard on the heels of the Sam Wright signing came the news that all Nailers supporters wanted to hear with the announcement of the signing of former Belper goal scoring legend, Jon Froggatt (pictured). A scorer of over 150 goals for the Nailers, Jon was an iconic figure at Christchurch Meadow and he was as delighted to return as the fans were to see him back at the club. Jon remarked, “It’s a no-brainer for me! It is fantastic to be back at a club where I had so much success and hopefully I can be as successful the same second time around!
Another fans’ favourite also decided on a move back to Christchurch Meadow when central defender Phil Watt also agreed his return to the club where his memorable goal won the Nailers play-off final against Mickleover Sports. Commenting on the signing, Grant Black said, “We are delighted to announce the signing of centre half Phil Watt who has decided to rejoin the club. Both Mick Norbury and myself are ‘over the moon’ to have agreed the deal with Phil as we continue to build the squad for the coming season.”
The club was thrilled to welcome Cameron Steel to the list of new faces. Commenting on the new signing, manager Grant Black said, “Cam is an attacking full back/wing back who has been with Halesowen Town and Gresley. He stood out as a really good footballer with all the attributes we like to see in a player.”
Charlie has also joined the Nailers from AFC Mansfield. Grant first came across Charlie at Matlock Town and has continued to watch his progress and feels now is a great time to get him on board he is a player who can hurt any team and is sure he will be a joy to watch for the fans.
Another statement of the club’s intentions came with the news that the Nailers had captured the signing of Zeph Thomas from Brighouse Town. Zeph is a striker who has scored goals at this level and above for many years and is a real finisher, strong and quick and will a great addition to the club moving forward. Grant Black said, “ Norbs and I are really pleased to get Zeph and we can't wait to get him into this team.” He has huge experience with his previous club including Harrogate Town, Mickleover Sports, Matlock Town, Scarborough, Sheffield FC and Brighouse Town.
Another former player making his way back to Belper is right-sided defender, Kyle Bryant. Commenting on the new arrival, Grant said, “Kyle was a player we identified as a key target at the back end of the season after he terrorised us when we played Loughborough. He's a fullback or right winger with pace, with great delivery when he attacks which is exactly how we want to play so he fits well for us. We are sure he will be a great addition and look forward to getting started.”
The club is also delighted to announce that Steve Ridley will be joining us from Alfreton Town as player/coach. Grant has played with Steve at many clubs and then worked with him in their previous management role, adding, “He is a born winner who will be vocal on the pitch which is a bonus. He has the experience to manage games which is also something we lacked a little last season.”
Along with the new signings, a number of Grants previous squad have committee their immediate future to the Nailers for next season.
Grant commented on the players remaining with the club, as follows:
“Liam came in mid way through the season someone we had worked with before was very patient for his chance and really took it those last 6 games looking forward to having him from the start gives us energy and attacking intent in the middle of the park.”
“Cammy has agreed to stay at the club for next season. He is another young lad having his first season at this level no one would have known. He is a consistent performer and looked at ease at the level and who always wants to learn. He has a big future in the game.”
“Nathan finished the season with well over double goal scoring figures. Having played a number of roles, it is even more of an achievement to score that many. Nathan has an unreal work ethic and quality on the ball and again he is another we feel is a real asset to Belper.”
“We are really happy to get Danny signed as he was a very consistent performer for us last season. The fact that he is comfortable in centre midfield and right back is a real asset to the team and we are looking forward to helping him kick on with us.”
“It is great news to get Leigh tied to the club. He suffered a bit with injury but as soon as he came to the club everyone could see how good Leigh is. He will be our number one ‘keeper and we are lucky to have him.”
Sam has committed to the Club and is looking to getting started, saying, “I’m really excited about pushing on next season after a stop-start 2018/19 with injuries. With a few additions to the group I think we will have a successful year towards the top of the table”
Alex has also committed to Belper, saying “I am thrilled to be signing for the club for next season. It was a no brainier for me and I’m looking forward to being part of the team that continues to push this club forward as we look to improve on what we achieved last year.”
Derry is another player who has committed to the Nailers, saying “I have enjoyed my football at Belper last season and want to be involved with the push for promotion”
In addition to the above, Danny South and George Milner have both signed contacts with the club for next season, and will continue to be major influences on the team as the club strives for a promotion place..
Isaac Assenso (Scarborough) and Piteu Crouz (Matlock Town) have both departed the club and we wish them both well in the future.
Updated 12:33 - 31 May 2019 by David Laughlin