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League Two

Weaver's decade of dreams becomes a reality

19 August 2020

No matter what football club you are at, foundations must be laid for success. We have seen only recently the words of wisdom from Sky Bet Championship Play-Off-winning manager, Scott Parker, talk about how he has changed the club from top to bottom during just 16 months at Craven Cottage.

For Simon Weaver at Harrogate Town his journey has spanned over a decade so far, but his goal has been exactly the same.

11 years Weaver has been at the helm, having taken over the club in 2009, and earlier this month he guided the North Yorkshire side to their highest-ever league finish, resulting in promotion to the EFL for the first time in their 106-year history. But things haven’t always been easy for Weaver during his time Wetherby Road.

“It was a pretty desperate affair at the club when I took over,” he said, speaking exclusively to the Official EFL podcast. 

“There were no players, no atmosphere and not many people coming through into the ground,”

“Everything about the club was not in place really, so it was never going to be a quick fix but I think our hunger and desire has led us to this point, where the last three years has seen us accelerate through the gears.”

“It is a combination of a lot of people, not just one or two, the chemistry is there and it's a bizarre thing to say but you can feel it in the changing room - and the past few years have seen us get better and stronger.”

Victory over Notts County at Wembley ensured Harrogate won their second promotion in three seasons, as their EFL status was confirmed, courtesy of an impressive performance in the National League Play-Off Final. 

There’s no doubt that victory provided Weaver’s side with a season they will never forget, but things could have been much different for them.

With the impact that the Coronavirus has on the country, the National League Clubs voted for curtailment - but thankfully for Harrogate, the race for promotion via the Play-Offs were given the green light to go ahead.

“It has been an immense couple of weeks, from winning the Semi-Final and then beating Notts County in the Final,” the 42-year-old said.

“I think one thing that hasn’t sunk in yet, we went through a lot of uncertainty and we sank to new depths of despair at times – not knowing what was going to happen and if the season would be concluded.

“Fortunately the season wasn’t curtailed and it put it in our hands, thankfully we have had the Play-Offs and we find ourselves in the Football League.”

With former Premier League Clubs such as Bolton Wanderers and Bradford City in Sky Bet League Two next season, Weaver will be keen to ensure his players do not get too caught up in the bright lights of league football, and he is adamant that his team will not be there to make up the numbers.

“I hope we can do better than that {survive relegation} I think when we came into the National League we were like, right okay, let’s ride the punches and see where it gets us to,” he explained.

“We had to pick ourselves up a few times and dust ourselves off, but we’re quick learners and the lads have a lot of pride in that badge and we will go in to League Two with the same mindset.

“We are not there to make the numbers up, but at the same time I am not going to be putting great expectations on the players shoulders and putting that burden onto them, and we will just play our hearts out for the Town and hopefully we can keep the good times rolling.”

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