GUISELEY may have only staved off National League relegation for the second season running by the skin of their teeth, but Phil Rogerson is sure about one thing.
Namely, that the Lions have moved on apace under the guidance of Adam Lockwood and Dave Penney, with his fervent hope being that there will be no nail-bitting Great Escape Mark III next season as the Nethermoor outfit crave consolidation in 2017-18.
For the second season running, Guiseley stayed up on the final day of the season following some thoroughly dramatic last-day events at Nethermoor, courtesy of a last-gasp 1-1 draw with Solihull Moors, thanks to Danny Lowe’s leveller.
While understandably delighted at survival at this level again, Rogerson and everyone connected with the club would gladly settle for a season of consolidation next term.
The statistics under Lockwood and Penney at least offer hope. Guiseley’s record following the permanent appointment of the pair in late September would have placed them in 15th place, while their record in 2017 is the 10th best in the division.
Eyeing more incremental improvement under the duo, who will lead the club again next season, chairman Rogerson said: “If you look at Locky’s record overall, we would not have been in this position.
“We would have been in mid-table. It’s progress.
“They (Lockwood and Penney) have a really professional approach and have the contacts and the players they can bring in. You also get the impression that the players trust them.
“It must be a nice place to play. Locky and Dave have a no-nonsense attitude and Locky says what he thinks and the players respect him for that, just as most people would do in all walks of life.
“He is passionate about what he wants to do and Dave is adding that bit of experience and it is a good recipe. Not winning a game in the first two months was obviously not the best of starts.
“But we will learn from it and kick on.
“But it is always going to be difficult as there are some huge sides in there and we are punching above our weight. Until you become more established, it is only then that things will get better.”
While Guiseley must continue to battle against the odds against a host of full-time sides with considerably larger resources, both in terms of finances and facilities, Rogerson feels that the club are making headway on and off the pitch, slowly, but surely.
Crowds remain steady if not spectacular, but the Lions chairman sees reasons to be optimistic.
He said: “There’s still things to be done and the organisational structure is still going through growing pains. But I guess it is no better at a lot of other clubs who are on their way up and there’s different pressures if you are on your way down. So it’s something you have to deal with.
“It is just a massive learning curve. It is about doing things in a professional manner, but not losing the family atmosphere that we pride ourselves on. It is getting that balance in terms of making the team as professional as we can.
“Without a training ground, we are still semi-operating as semi-professional and that is the crux of it and we do not have the resources of the likes of Lincoln, Tranmere and Forest Green.
“But crowds are going up slowly and it is about consolidation. And we are stable and we are making steady progress. I think there’s a slow realisation locally that they have got a National League side playing one level below the Football League.
“I think it is slowly dawning on people and the message of ‘come and support your local team’ is getting through.
“There’s never any hassle, it’s well run and you can turn up on the day or buy in advance.
“We are up about the 900-mark now. It hasn’t gone up dramatically from last season. But I suppose that, given the start, we have done well to maintain last season’s figure, perhaps.
“We seem to have maintained crowds and that’s good and hopefully we can get a few more sponsors on board and we can move forward and consolidate.”