Bootle manager Joe Doran says he is excited to be in the Northern Premier League for the first time as a player, coach and official within the Bucks.
They ply their trade in the Northern Premier League West after receiving upward movement as part of the pyramid reshuffle.
Doran believes after a number of shortcomings in the North West Counties, it has been a long-time coming to be in a league “where they belong”.
They open their campaign with a tough trip to Mossley, but a team they feel prepared to play.
“Definitely [a long time coming] after getting the ground grading back in 2010 after winning the North West Counties First Division, we finished third, second twice then second on points per game too. So I think it is long overdue,” Doran said.
“I’m looking forward to it, to be honest, it’s the first time I’ve gone into a season as a player, manager, supporter, secretary, whatever I’ve done, it’s the first I’ve gone in more excited than I am nervous because the last four or five years.
“You have to win every game to get out of the North West Counties or lose as little as possible to even have a chance.
“One bad set of results and you’re out the running for the title so nobody expects us to win the Northern Premier League West so the shackles are off really and going to enjoy it for what it is.
“Hopefully that is enough to see us do reasonably well and go as high up the table as we can.
“We feel like we’re in the league we belong, we want to give the best account of ourselves. Just looking at the league, it’s like the North West Counties from 25 years ago in the league there’s some big clubs as well it’s good to be back amongst those names. I’m really pleased to be leading the club into it.
“I think it is tough, they get a good crowd behind them they’re a big physical side who orchestrate the game which most teams will in this league.
“I wouldn’t say I’m confident but I’ve done as much research as possible, I’ve been to see them so I know what they’re about and had a few scout reports off of colleagues so I’m more than prepared.
“Obviously on the day you need a bit of luck or a bit of magic from someone.
“We got promoted on points per game, we have to enjoy it, we can’t dwell on that. It’s not about money or status, everyone plays on a Saturday because they enjoy it. That’s the message I need to get out to the players.”
[Featured image by Paul Moran]