By Callum Boyle
Grantham Town has announced the appointment of former Forest and England star Carlton Palmer as their new first-team manager.
The 55-year-old joins The Gingerbreads ahead of the beginning of preparations for the upcoming 2021/22 campaign after last season was once again curtailed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Palmer’s experience is known to all involved in the game with the former Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest midfielder amassing 594 appearances at club level whilst featuring 18 times at international level for England under Graham Taylor.
Management is also not an unfamiliar route, with Palmer taking the reigns as player-manager at Stockport County before a spell in charge at Mansfield Town between 2004 and 2005.
Following the news of the appointment, Grantham chairman Darren Ashton spoke of the new boss’ excitement to start and explained why he felt Palmer is the perfect man for the job.
He said: “It’s fantastic news. We’ve been working on getting Carlton in for a while now and been in constant contact with him almost daily.”
“He’s eager to get started with us. He’s been offered roles at Football League clubs, but he likes the idea that the club has.”
“He likes what we have proposed, and we like his ideas he has moving forward and has bought into the plan and is joining for the long-term.”
Palmer will not be the only new face at the club with the new man at the helm also appointing a coaching team.
Matt Chatfield joins from AFC Mansfield where he was previously the manager whilst also working at Nottingham Forest as a Foundation Phase coach. The second member of the set-up will be Jas Colliver.
A non-league journeyman, Colliver had spells as a player at the likes of Belper Town and Stocksbridge Park Steels whilst also undertaking managerial roles at sides such as Clipstone, Staveley Miners Welfare and most recently, Handsworth Paramore.
Both have been working hard alongside Palmer behind the scenes to prepare for the new season and Ashton praised the efforts of all.
“It’s already been there for a while bubbling away in the background” he said.
“We’ve got Jas doing the recruitment for new players whilst Matt has been using his contacts at Nottingham Forest to help sort out some opportunities for us as well as doing the recruitment too.”
“It’s been a massive re-structure at the club and they’re going about it differently. We’re not just chucking daft money at big-name players, they need to fit no matter how much they cost, they’ve got to fit this style of play and ethos.”
“They’re coming to watch the Under-23’s on Saturday to get a feel for knowing what they’re about as well and they are really working well to get ready for the new season.”
Ahead of the new season, which is hoping to start in August, Ashton laid out his plans and hopes for the new season.
He said: “It’s been a learning curve for us all, me included.”
“I’ve always been in and around football but never as chairman until I joined Grantham, so I definitely learnt a lot from last season and this year we’re going about it in a different way.”
“I want a feel-good factor in the dressing room and on the pitch, I want attacking, attractive football.”
“With the style of play that Carlton wants to play and the people he can call upon to help him I really think we can achieve that.”
“We also want to bring the youth through too. We’ve been churning quality players out now at our academy, but they haven’t been getting a look in whereas with Carlton and his team that is their main priority.”
The chairman also confirmed that The Gingerbreads would return to training in the town and in a message to the fans, wanted to thank them for their patience and looks forward to welcoming them back to The Meres.
“After what happened last season there’s no pressure on us this year. I want us to get out there and enjoy it and get around the community.”
“We’re going to be back training in Grantham which means fans can turn up to come and watch, have a chat with Carlton, the players and each other and see what we have in store for next season once pre-season starts”.
“We’re doing some great things and going into next year it’s the best shape I’ve seen the club in. I know I’ve not been here a long time but I’m really excited to get next year started and showcase all this work.”
“I just want the fans to trust in me, trust in the coaching staff, trust in the players we bring in, the committee and the academy.”
“I know it has been a bit quiet of late, but we’ve been working really hard but with this appointment and update I hope it’s one that you can all get behind so that when the games do return, you are coming through the gates, buy into what we’re trying to do and continue supporting the team like you always have done.”
Welcome to The Gingerbreads Carlton, Matt and Jas!