By James Grayson (Twitter - @jamesAgrayson)
In his fourth season as Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver finally got it right and gave the club’s supporters a season to remember.
Amid all the pitch problems that caused to play ‘home’ games at Doncaster Rovers and York City, Weaver was able to guide his team to sixth in the Blue Square Bet North.
Harrogate also made the second round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history.
Weaver, the Harrogate board and supporters have been patient since his arrival in the summer of 2009. His first season as a manager was a troublesome one with the club finishing bottom of the BSN which meant they needed a reprieve to survive. However, that year the budget was considerably low.
The second and third season saw better players arrive such as Paul Brayson, Wayne Phillips (pictured above) and Graeme Armstrong, but it was last summer when Weaver got the right mix.
Chib Chilaka has been a revelation and his name goes down in Town history for his strike in the FA Cup victory at Torquay United.
Admittedly, Weaver does have a budget to attract players. But he doesn’t go out splashing cash and he has built his team sensibly and with a couple of additions, Harrogate will be contenders next season.
In his four years, Weaver, with the help of the Harrogate board, has transformed a club. He is possibly the most media-friendly manager in the BSN. He has clear aims on youth strategy and has built a youth set-up from scratch. He has been determined to take Harrogate into the community and use local players – Adam Nowakowski (pictured above) is a prime example.
Harrogate are going places – but they are laying the bricks slowly and taking their time to ensure the infrastructure is there.
Weaver and the board deserve a lot of credit for building solid foundations.