Less than a week after the heartbreaking end to the season, Reds began the search for a new manager after opting not to renew Chris Willcock’s contract. The Manchester based manager was appointed as Danny Grainger’s successor in late July and introduced to the squad prior to the friendly at Consett, taking control for the final four pre-season games.
He became the first Reds’ manager to win his first five league games in charge and maintained the title bid until the final game of the season, overseeing the best away record in the division in the process.
The team lost only four league games all season and were West division leaders several times during the campaign. Throughout November, December, January and early February, the team remained unbeaten in thirteen matches, winning twelve of those.
Built on a solid defence, the team conceded just twenty seven goals in thirty eight league matches, keeping no fewer than twenty clean sheets.
They scored seventy two goals, including five in the home matches against Kidsgrove Athletic and one of his former clubs, Glossop North End, and netted four times in the away wins at 1874 Northwich and Bootle.
Thirty five different players were used over the season and several quality recruits arrived during an ongoing injury crisis which plagued Reds from the early weeks of the season.
A runners-up berth in NPL West and a place in the play-offs is a fair return for any manager and Chris can be proud of the team’s record during his tenure
He leaves the club in a great position and goes with our best wishes for the next chapter of his illustrious career.
Thanks for the memories.