Home of the Millers


May 24, 2020


This bank holiday weekend, First team Coach and regular programme columnist Paul Rockley speaks exclusively to us telling the story of how he came to the club and the journey that followed, it gives a fascinating insight his year at Carlton Town and is well worth a read.

“I had made a decision at the end of 2018/2019 season that I wouldn’t be staying on at Eastwood, as circumstances changed towards the end of the season it wasn’t quite right to continue. So there was a route at the time I was looking to go down which was Management”

“I interviewed for 3 step 6 jobs in the same league and during part of that process Tommy and Mark made an announcement that they were coming back into Management which didn’t surprise me having sat with them watching Basford games during that season”

“Tommy and Mark gained a position very quickly after the announcement, I remember getting the call from Tommy about the opportunity at Carlton which curtailed my original plan and to Tommy and Marks credit both were aware of my circumstances and allowed everything to be played out”

“Though as the Managers know this is a route that I want to work towards in the future when the time is right”

“So in the end I re united with gaffers knowing I had full support and would lead the main training sessions. I remember meeting Martin Ball club legend and listening to his stories about the club and Tommy who he had previously played under, and sensed a clear plan in place that we could realistically work towards”

“Confidence at the time at the club fair to say was quite low. A couple of difficult seasons which ended in relegation only to be given a reprieve. On paper we had a huge job on our hands however, the core nucleus of players that stayed were young, hungry and determined to show their true abilities”

“I remember Tommy and Marks conversation we had in the bar discussing plans, players, preseason it’s about building belief, confidence and optimism.
Tommy and Mark installed  this from day one, the interviews released on youtube, press releases, key young players signing new deals, ( Ollie Clarke and  Jack Steggles) and the players being interviewed at the club by Tommy and Mark with me  sitting in listening to their views on last season and where it went wrong  and how Tommy and Mark rebuilt the confidence and stated how they would turn this around and  what can be improved.  I must praise Martin Ball for creating a confidence with the younger players that these two managers wasn’t just saying it for the sake of it that it was genuinely possible that we could defy all expectations and cause a surprise in the league. I will always remember at a committee meeting Tommy’s  passionate speech; his last point which was blunt and clear with no tremors or doubts  “ Do not rule us out of making the play offs.”  Belief from the management team was there to start with.   It was about creating the message early doors and making players, committee members and the fans believe it”

“Dan Goddard joined the coaching team someone who I admired for the way he went about applying to come on board and join us stating he wanted to learn and develop as a coach. I felt greatly empowered when Tommy and Mark said, “Paul you will lead the final interview and make the decision.” something again which I cannot fault the managers with. They know I want responsibility for short and long term reasons and goals and they are delivering that and we welcomed Dan to the team and his analytical skills and asking questions again brought positive and eagerness to develop and make this best possible environment we can”

“Pre-season sessions and games came and we beat all opposition that we played our strongest sides against and jointly leading the side with Martin Ball against Shildon which was a great experience and something I will hope to do again in the future. Pre-season was positive and belief was developing in the camp.  It was a big come down when we lost our first competitive game in the FA Cup away against Barton Town, But a big personal highlight in Marks absence was to stand aside Tommy on the touchline for that game and learn about his methods close up and his thought processes. Mark returned for real season start date and the duo were reunited as we hit the ground running in the league, beating Lincoln, Sutton Coldfield, Kidsgrove and Frickley all in August 12 points out of 12. With Club Captain Tom Maddison excelling from the pressure of converting all from the spot and leading on the pitch by example”

“Tommy and Mark were back! great away wins followed at Stamford, (Which I have to remind that Mark took sole charge of the game) A Martin Ball header beating Worksop away and setting the record straight after they beat us at home and kept us in and around the top placings in the league and serious optimism and support from the fans kept the early momentum going. A Boxing Day win away at Ilkeston and listening to home team being booed off showed how well as a side we had become in a short space of time”

“As we all know, through bad weather and our home pitch the season from Late November until late February became stop start and momentum was lost as other teams gained and then extended leads at the top of the table, but getting to a cup semi-final, being in the play offs at the stoppage of the season and seeing the returning legends of Martin Ball who was nothing short of outstanding from a playing perspective and  proved any doubters wrong, Daryll Thomas also returned to club and added to his goals record and also started on his next stage after his  playing career on the coaching scene and with Curtis Mcdonald in the same boat and hanging his gloves up the coaching setup was complete and we head into 2020/2021 with regained confidence and pure optimism that we have very strong foundations to build from and was look to take the next step as a club moving forward.
Finally, I want state my thanks to the Chairman, Vice Chairman and the rest of the committee for the warm welcome I personally received and the direction that they want to take this club and I have no doubt the upcoming season will be one to remember, The fans who supported us home and away and socially would interact with us after games will forever be remembered. Its been a season I will always look back on with joy. I want to pay tribute to Alan Murphy for the idea of the 100 club and the cash boost that this has given the club in its financial objectives”

“Stay safe everyone and see you in the new season”



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