the npl

Weekly News | 15.6.22

Posted on
Weekly News | 15.6.22

“If the season started tomorrow, I’d be more than happy with what we’ve got” said Matlock manager Paul Phillips in a mid term close season report.

Matlock have retained most of their regular playing squad from last season with the major departees being captain Liam Hughes and midfielder Terry Hawkridge to Worksop Town and this week Ross Hannah announcing he would be leaving due to increased work and family commitments to play nearer to his South Yorkshire home. Goalkeeper Joe Young has returned to parent club Wolves while fellow custodian Shaun Rowley, who spent the latter part of last season at Carlton Town is moving to London with his family. Also departing the Proctor Cars Stadium are winger Osebi Abadaki, goalkeeper Paul Cooper, midfielder Benito Lowe (to Curzon Ashton), Danny Greenfield at the end of his loan from Gateshead who has now signed for Spennymoor Town and the retired Liam King.

So far Phillips has made four additions in Grantham Town goalkeeper Jim Pollard, Radcliffe midfielder Simon Lenighan, and strikers Aaron Opoku (Carlton Town) and Jake Day from Scarborough Athletic.

“I’ve spoken to one or two others as I feel we might need back up in some areas but if the season started tomorrow, I’d be more than happy with what we’ve got. I knew the vast majority would stay for Matlock’s a great club which is down to all of the hard work and enthusiasm from people behind the scenes and of course the fans. Last season was a building block, for me we’ve got to go one better next season.”

Phillips says his new recruits “all bring something different to the party”

“Jim was in a struggling team last season but really excelled, we’ve watched him numerous times and he clearly wants to better himself and get back into the Football League. I’ll be bringing in another keeper to push him like I did with Coops (Paul Cooper), but Jim’s a top drawer goalkeeper who with the guidance of Steve Shuttleworth will develop and get even better.”

On Opoku, Phillips says the 26 year old striker can hopefully provide the goals Matlock lacked towards the end of the season.

“He’s a raw talent and with the right management, guidance and coaching he’ll score goals at this level for he’s got the pace and he’s a real powerful unit.”

Day had no qualms about joining the Gladiators and Phillips is pleased to have him on board.

“He would have come whether or not Hughesy was with us, we need a number nine to lead the line and score goals. He got twelve or thirteen in an injury hit season and I think he’s capable of fifteen to twenty, he’s more of a threat in front of goal than Liam and brings all that Liam did for us. We were sorry to lose Liam, he’s been fantastic for us on the field and in the dressing room and is welcome back anytime if things work out that way.”

Lenighan began his career with the Leeds United youth set up and has had a number of clubs since including Rotherham United but has more recently been at Buxton, Matlock snapping him up from league rivals Radcliffe.

“He brings a lot to the table and now he’s settled down he’s proving to be such a good player, he really shouldn’t be playing at this level. He had offers from elsewhere but chose Matlock as he knows what we’re all about, he’s joining us for the right reasons.”

There’s also been a management change with Kayde Coppin being promoted to assistant manager following Dave Wild’s exit to take over the managerial reins at Runcorn Linnets.

As far as Phillips is concerned, Coppin’s new role is a natural progression, having carried out a lot of the duties already at Matlock.

“For me Kayde’s done that job in every bit but name during the last twelve months. It was a no-brainer, he’s been a great player and has all the attributes to become a good manager. Above all he’s a winner, I trust and believe in him and in time I’m sure he’ll be successful as a manager in his own right.”

Phillips understands Wild's decision to move on from Matlock.

“I wish him well, he’s worked very hard for us and moved the club on, he wants to become a manager himself and I wish him nothing but success. We speak to each other and I’ll be there to help him out, and from Dave’s point of view it was a move which needed to happen.”

Sports analyst Liam Hudson and physio Jack Gleave have also made the move to the Cheshire club.

Matlock’s squad are back together this coming Thursday for a once weekly session until pre season training starts in earnest on 2 July. A busy pre season programme starts on the following Friday evening at Buxton with a trip to Northwich Victoria on the following day. Then come eagerly awaited home matches with Mansfield Town on Tuesday 12 July and Saturday 16 July respectively before trips to Macclesfield (19 July) and Ramsbottom (26 July) follow. Matlock expect to be able to confirm two more pre season games imminently, their warm up games coming to an end at Carlton Town on Saturday 6 August, the NPL campaign getting under way on 13 August.


Matlock Town have listened to their fans as they have set their season ticket and admission prices for the forthcoming NPL Premier Division season.

The club has introduced a new rate for 16-18 year olds following feedback from a parent of a 16 years old fan who cannot gain admission to games as a student due to not having a valid student card.

Before the initiative, a 16 year old who may still be in full time education at school for example, or who had maybe just started work, would have jumped directly into the full adult paying bracket, but Matlock are now offering fans in this age bracket a season ticket priced at £85 for the Gladiators’ twenty one home league matches but if purchased before 1 August, there is an early bird price of £75. The cost of a match day ticket will be £5.

The adult season ticket price for the forthcoming campaign is £200 (early bird £180), concessions (over 65’s)£135 (£125 early bird), students with NUS card £130 (early bird £120), children 10-15 £40 with under 10’s free,

Gladiators officials are encouraging fans to take advantage of the early bird offer.

“Last season we saw our crowds grow significantly and as such we’re hoping that more people commit and purchase a season ticket. As a reward for doing so we’re offering all early bird purchasers a £30 bar credit in the Shorts Lounge if we achieve our target of 150 adult tickets sold, thus making the ticket the equivalent of just £150 which I believe to be a great deal, especially in these times of inflation” said Chairman Jay Beaumont.

“The 16-18 issue is very valid, after weighing everything up it didn’t feel right so we wanted to introduce this ticket to allow fans to continue their journey with us. Season tickets are really important to us, and with the way the club is structured, they give each holder a vote at our AGM.”

The Gladiators have also introduced a new online ticketing website where fans can purchase their season tickets or matchday tickets for individual games. Fans can present the ticket on their smart phones when entering the Proctor Cars Stadium although supporters can still pay at the turnstiles on the day of the game should they so wish. The link to the website is

“The move to online is proving to be a hit with fans, they can purchase at a time when it’s convenient for them rather than when just the club shop’s open” added the Chairman. “We’d like to thank our partners The Remarkable Hare, Defib4Life and Matlock Plumbing and Heating for their help in making this possible.”

Matchday admission prices are adults £12, concessions (over 65's) £8, students £7, adults 16-18 £5, children 10-15 £3 with under 10’s having free admission.

Ian Richardson