Non-League: Lions must learn from National League lessons warns chairman Rogerson

Guiseley manager Mark Bower.
Guiseley manager Mark Bower.
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phil rogerson admits that Guiseley’s maiden season in the National League has represented a massive ‘learning curve’ – and acknowledges that a number of lessons must be taken on board.

The Lions secured their divisional status in dramatic fashion at Nethermoor on Saturday evening, courtesy of a thrilling 4-3 victory over visiting Torquay United, with Yorkshire rivals FC Halifax Town’s failure to beat Macclesfield at The Shay saving Mark Bower’s side from the drop.

It has proven to be a tumultuous season on and off the pitch for Guiseley, who also faced a race against time to ensure Nethermoor met Conference ground grading standards for next season by a deadline of March 31 – alongside attempting to retain their place in the fifth tier of English football.

Competing against a vast majority of sides at this level who are fully professional is something else that the club have had to contend with and while becoming a full-time outfit is unlikely in the short term, Lions chairman Rogerson believes changes need to be implemented to give Guiseley more of a professional sheen.

He said: “This year has been hard work and a learning curve and we know a bit more about what needs to be done now.

“We have found that the intensity of the matches for instance is high and off the pitch, there’s lots of organisation to do with stewards, police and then there’s segregation.

“Recruitment can also be tricky as a part-time club and for the coaches, they do not have enough time with the players. If you have a Tuesday night game, you are training just for a couple of hours on a Thursday and that is often not long enough to put things right and put things into place.

“We need to think and plan more. Whatever we do, we can’t magic new training facilities.

“But the academy train at Trinity (Leeds Trinity University) and there might be a possibility of us working a bit closer together.”

On the subject of potentially turning full-time, he added: “It is difficult. Players want to be full-time or part-time and when you have a mixed team, it can become self-defeating and it needs a lot of thought and planning.

“But next season, we might get some different things in place.”

In the short term, Rogerson is just delighted that Guiseley have attained their cherished National League place, having striven so hard to claim it during a number of Conference North campaigns, before finally getting over the line against Chorley a year ago.

Survival has also represented another feather in the cap of manager Mark Bower, who has enjoyed a third season of success at Nethermoor, with Rogerson having been massively impressed by the work of the 36-year-old, who is now intent on building upon the Lions’ feats this term.

Rogerson, who was thrilled by the sight of almost 2,000 supporters at Nethermoor on Saturday, added: “It has been a learning curve for Mark as well and he’s come through it with a record that you cannot knock.

“Play-offs in the first season, promotion in the second and staying up in the third. You cannot ask any more of him really and he seems keen on improving next season. For us, it’s amazing we have finished by the end of April as usually we have a few weeks of play-offs and things!

“The crowd was a massive boost for us on Saturday.

“Hopefully, we can start to build on that amazing crowd we had at Nethermoor.

“It is just getting into people’s heads that we are in this division and are one step from the Football League and in the same divisions of the likes of Grimsby and Tranmere. It takes a while to sink you.With Halifax as a Conference side, they always put their results on the end of Look North.

“But now all of a sudden when it was both of us this season, they didn’t seem to bother!

“But hopefully we can get a few more down to home games and obviously, it is good for us to be in the same division as York City next season, which is a big thing too for us.”

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