Sports Awards: Norton United deliver greatest season in club's history
WHEN Norton United's committee say they are laying the foundations for their club, they're not joking.
Chairman Steve Beaumont and his deputy Neil Dundas have been busy this season putting down the concrete for a new stand.
It's just the latest development for a club which has enjoyed the sort of year most non-league outfits can only dream of.
Norton finished last season winning promotion from the North West Counties Division One to its Premier Division.
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Not only that, they won the Divisional League Cup by beating Division One champions Wigan Robin Park.
What's more, the club also reached the semi-finals of the North West Counties League Cup and the last 16 of the FA Vase.
They won plenty of friends along the way too, because manager Scott Dundas' side scored 184 goals in their 60 games over the campaign.
Now vice-chairman Neil Dundas, the father of manager Scott, has nominated Norton United in the Senior Team category of The Sentinel/City of Stoke Sports Personality of the Year awards.
Neil, pictured below, is understandably proud of the progress the club, from Community Drive, Smallthorne, has made both on and off the field.
He said: "It was definitely the club's most successful season. In fact, we should really have been champions in the league as well, rather than runners-up.
"But playing so many cup games meant we had to play four games in four days at the end of the season.
"We had a brilliant 4-1 win at an Abbey Hey side who were also in with a chance of promotion, but the following night we had to go to Formby, lost 1-0 and that cost us the title.
"Even so, it was a fantastic year, and that's not forgetting the FA Vase. That's a fantastic competition and we had a great run, beating clubs from a higher level in every round.
"Eventually all the games took their toll, but it was a brilliant season."
Among the stars in Norton's magnificent campaign were captain Wayne Brotherton and Richard Smith, who shone at the heart of the defence. Dan Brown ran riot up front as opposition defences crumbled against the attack-minded Norton side.
They struggled at the start of this season in the North West Counties Premier, the highest level the club has played.
However, they have come through that, are now well clear of the relegation zone and are aiming for a top-10 finish this season.
Off the field, new changing rooms, new floodlights, a fully enclosed ground and a new stand are just some of the improvements.
The ambitious club's long-term aim is to go up a level from the North West Counties Premier in to the Evo-Stik Division One South.
Neil Dundas added: "We want to be competing with Leek Town, Kidsgrove Athletic and Newcastle Town to be the highest-ranked non-league team in North Staffordshire."