Weekly News - 9/6/21
Adam Yates will say farewell to Matlock Town as a player when he lines up in the Gladiators’ opening pre season friendly against Wirksworth Ivanhoe.
The game on Monday 5 July at the Proctor Cars Stadium will celebrate Ivanhoe’s centenary with the two teams playing for the Wirksworth Centenary Cup.
The former Matlock club captain Adam Yates surprised everyone at the club by calling time on his playing days in an announcement a fortnight ago. The Covid 19 pandemic has meant that Matlock have not played a competitive match since December and with lots of fans wanting to pass on their good wishes to him, Adam has agreed to feature against Wirksworth.
“It’s great and actually I can’t wait to play in the Wirksworth game. I’m more than happy to be part of Wirksworth’s big night. From my point of view it’ll be nice to get the family down and see a lot of familiar faces. Hopefully there’ll be a good crowd there and we can all have a drink afterwards.”
Matlock manager Paul Phillips is delighted that Yates will be involved.
“I’m really pleased, it’s great and it shows the calibre of the man that he is coming back to play in the game. It gives us all, players, management, fans, everyone the chance to thank him for his outstanding service to the club over a good many years.”
Chairman Bryn Apperley who is talking with Yates over a role within the club in the future says that people power played a significant role in Yates appearing.
“We’re delighted Adam will pull on the royal blue Matlock shirt in the Wirksworth game for it’s by huge public demand. So many people have approached us saying they want to pass on their good wishes, the Covid
outbreak has made everything very unusual. The fact that we’ve had so many enquiries shows the high esteem in which Adam is held so we’re hoping for a good turnout not only for Adam but equally to celebrate Wirksworth Ivanhoe’s centenary which itself is a major landmark in local football.”
Yates says he does not know quite what to expect in life once the new season starts.
“I’ve always been in and around football, it’s been a massive part of my life so I’m uncertain how I’ll feel going forward. But the family will be a great distraction. My daughter’s been on at me to go with her to horse riding on a Saturday morning, something obviously I’ve not been able to do, so Saturdays will be vastly different as I’ll be able to spend precious time with my family.”
He also paid tribute to another Matlock defensive legend, James Lukic, who himself clocked up over 600 games for the Gladiators. Yates played alongside Lukic between 2009 and 2014 before Lukic retired.
“I certainly wouldn’t be here having played 500 plus games for Matlock if it wasn’t for James Lukic” Yates explained.
“He’s helped me out no end, when I was at Uni and struggling for work he found some part time work in his business which was an amazing thing for him to do. He’s also helped me tremendously on the field, I’ve never known such a competitive player who had that will to win, he’s been a role model for me and someone I certainly looked up to.”
Matlock Town boss Paul Phillips confirmed two more of his 2020/21 squad have agreed terms for the new season.
Record goalscorer Ross Hannah and utility player Declan Walker will don the Gladiators kit subject to FA approval.
Phillips was glowing with his praise for the duo saying they can make significant contributions to the Gladiators’ cause.
Hannah rejoined Matlock from Cleethorpes Town in November having been a roaring success in his first spell, his tally of 52 league and cup goals during 2010/11 catching the eye of several Football League clubs with Bradford City winning the chase for his signature. That 52 goal haul surpassed the 49 goals in the 1982/83 season scored by Bob Mountain.
“He’ll prove to be invaluable for us for what he’s done previously, it’s a massive plus to have him. Ross has been there and done it both at Matlock and elsewhere and he’s top class both on and off the pitch. He’s still got a lot to offer, I’m sure he’ll not mind me saying this but he’s like an 18 year old, his love for the game is massive and just what you want from a goalscorer.”
Walker teamed up with Phillips and Matlock last summer having been at Stalybridge Celtic and the Gladiators chief says Walker’s adaptability and set piece deliveries are his strengths.
“I worked really hard to get him in last summer, in fact I wanted him when I was with other clubs previously so I was really pleased when he signed for us. He’s a brilliant full back, wing back or midfielder, his set pieces are top class, although he was probably a little disappointed with some of them last season. I’m sure he can get seven to ten goals per season from set pieces and the fact that like a lot of our players, he can operate in multiple positions is a big bonus.”
With Alex Byrne, Liam Hughes, Reece Kendall, Ryan Qualter, Callum Chippendale and goalkeeper Shaun Rowley earlier agreeing deals, plus the acquisition of Jesarun Ubechegulam, all subject to FA approval, Phillips will be pleased with his efforts so far and has one or two exciting deals in abeyance which he hopes will bear fruit.
“It’s great for the club that all of these players want to come back so it shows that we must be doing things right” said Phillips.
Matlock have added another fixture to their pre season schedule, a visit to Ossett United on Saturday 7 August. Other confirmed games are at home to Wirksworth Ivanhoe on Monday 5 July, home to Boston United on Friday 9 July, home to Mansfield Town on Friday 16 July and visits to Brighouse Town and Sheffield on Saturday 24 July and Saturday 31 July respectively.