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A new era dawns at Retford FC

19th August, 2023

There are exciting times are ahead for Retford FC as the Toolstation NCEL Division One club welcomes two new faces to its board of directors, Chris Sly and Scott Lee.

With their combined expertise and passion for both football and business, Chris and Scott are set to usher in a new era for the club, focusing on both on-field excellence and the transformation of the Rail Ground into a premier sporting venue within the region. They join the board alongside current directors Pep Leone and Mick Woodhead.

Chris Sly, a familiar face within the local community, is no stranger to the world of football. Having played for various teams in the area since an early age. Chris has deep-rooted connections to Retford and a profound understanding of the club's values. He has since risen to prominence as a successful businessman, overseeing a portfolio of successful companies. Chris's involvement with Retford FC is a natural progression, allowing him to channel his passion for the sport into shaping the club's future.

"I'm thrilled to be a part of Retford FC's journey. Having a long-standing connection with Chris Woodhead for over 25 years, and as a Retford lad who has played in the town from Under 10 all the way through to senior level football, I have grown up with a lot of people who are involved with the club like Chris and Martin Woodhead, Will Tomlinson and Nathan Allen - where it's now got to a point that our own kids are playing together for Retford FC Juniors."

"The potential at the club is huge, from where it was when Chris and Kev (Swannack) set it up in 2015, the development has been great and I want to invest to further develop the ground and get in the right calibre of players to help us to promotion which is our long term plan." he said.

Joining Chris in this new venture is Scott Lee, Director of SL2 Limited, a construction company that has a lot of experience in transforming sports venues and club facilities. Scott's expertise has been instrumental in rejuvenating local sporting infrastructure, managing refurbishments, and even constructing new facilities from the ground up. His experience aligns seamlessly with the club's vision of creating a state-of-the-art sporting hub that caters to both players and supporters.

Scott is looking forward to working with the two Chris’s to drive the club forward, “I have a great relationship with Chris (Woodhead), we’ve not known each other that long but without sounding cliche, we hit it off straight away. We have a mutual respect and interest into each other’s abilities and work lives and I was drawn into his passion for the club as soon as he mentioned it. We spoke about how much I love football and with being a business owner and now a member of the surrounding community asked if I could help in anyway.”

“Football has been a huge part of my life from the age of four and to be able to assist in some way is an absolute honour, and to see my company’s logo on the training gear is refreshing to see and was a proud moment. From then in it’s become second nature to look for the Choughs score after my beloved Sheffield Wednesday.”

Retford FC's Chairman Chris Woodhead expressed his excitement about the additions to the board, stating, "We are entering a pivotal phase in the history of Retford FC, and the expertise and dedication that Chris and Scott bring to the table will be invaluable. Their shared commitment to excellence aligns perfectly with our aspirations for the club."

“I’ve known Chris (Sly) for a long time, and I’ve worked with Scott over the last few years and they can see my vision for the club and how much things have changed both on and off the field since 2015. They both share my ethos for maintaining a local club to benefit players and supporters from the local community of Retford and the surrounding areas and you’ve only got to look at our thriving junior section to see how that is progressing. With Under 21 football, Reserves, Ladies and even Veterans sides this year we’ve got the foundations to make Retford FC a key player within the community.”

Both Chris and Scott are aligned with Retford FC's vision of nurturing local talent while also attracting new players to strengthen the squad. Their dedication to creating a thriving community-oriented club aligns with the foundation laid by the existing committee.

With a nod to the junior section Chris Sly said, "The ethos of using Retford players is definitely one I'll be following. I want to help support the junior section too to make sure we have the right facilities and infrastructure in place for a pathway into the senior section for both boys and girls."

Stressing the fact that this will be an overall community project, he highlighted the need to bring in other local businesses to support the vision and help get more through the turnstyle on matchdays, "I want other businesses to get on board to help and support us as Directors and as a committee. It's not going to happen overnight, but it's going to be a great ride as things start to happen and we can bring even more success to the club."

Scott will be using his own skill set as he will be looking to help get the ground developed, "I want to help get the ground up to a high standard and somewhere people want to come and spend their Saturday afternoon's. We have some plans in place already which we will announce in due course, but we all want the Rail Ground to be a top sporting facility in the area."

“What we have here is a close-knit squad and we will hopefully continue with this ethos as well as attracting new faces from further afield, but Chris has demonstrated and drilled it into us what the club is all about and that’s what will also continue to happen. Already it’s great to see all the teams within the club are playing for the badge.”

“We are and will continue to work closely with the club’s infrastructure to strengthen the squad. There has been investment already and there’s also exciting plans in place which will hopefully bring more revenue for the club to grow. Several discussions have taken place and it all seems that we are singing from the same hymn sheet. “

As the club strides into this new era, the collaboration between the board, local businesses and the local community promises a vibrant future for the club.

With a focus on both on-field achievements and off-field infrastructure, Retford FC is poised to become a beacon of sporting excellence in the region.

(Story Source: Retford FC)

Click here for Retford FC's team page.

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Season 2023/24 Tables

NCEL Premier Division P Pts +/-
P 1 Emley AFC 38 85 70
2 Campion 38 76 38
P 3 Garforth Town 38 75 55
4 Rossington Main 38 72 23
5 Albion Sports (-3) 38 67 18
6 Penistone Church 38 62 15
7 Thackley 38 61 4
8 Knaresborough 38 60 16
9 Hallam 38 59 12
10 Silsden AFC 38 58 10
11 Tadcaster Albion 38 53 -3
12 Golcar United 38 52 10
13 Handsworth 38 44 -18
14 Barton Town 38 43 -16
15 Frickley Athletic 38 42 -17
16 Eccleshill United 38 41 -24
17 Bottesford Town 38 35 -38
18 Goole AFC 38 34 -56
19 Pickering Town 38 30 -46
R 20 Maltby Main 38 26 -53
NCEL Division One P Pts +/-
P 1 Parkgate 44 107 84
P 2 Beverley Town 44 103 83
P 3 Shirebrook Town 44 100 69
4 Wakefield AFC 44 97 89
5 Retford United 44 93 74
6 Wombwell Town 44 89 59
7 Horbury Town 44 83 53
8 Brigg Town 44 72 5
9 Staveley MW 44 66 22
10 Dronfield Town 44 64 12
11 Harrogate Railway 44 64 7
12 Retford FC 44 62 -2
13 Louth Town 44 61 4
14 Selby Town 44 59 7
15 Worsbrough Bridge 44 53 -10
16 Clay Cross Town 44 48 -28
17 Nostell MW 44 47 -13
18 Athersley Rec 44 44 -48
19 Armthorpe Welfare 44 41 -52
20 Glasshoughton Welf 44 35 -47
21 Yorkshire Amateur (-3) 44 35 -72
22 Swallownest 44 16 -118
R 23 Ollerton Town 44 4 -178

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