Overhaul at Yeltz is reaping rewards

The rebirth of Halesowen Town is almost complete.

Paul Smith
Paul Smith

Brought to the brink of disaster when former owner Steve Lynch was hit with a two-year ban by the Football Association, Karen Brookes and Keith McKenna have got the Yeltz heading in the right direction behind the scenes.

The joy surrounding their £50,000 takeover of the club last season was dampened by relegation back to the fourth tier of the non-league pyramid – but new manager Paul Smith has made an excellent start to bringing the good times back on the pitch.

“We are probably ahead of schedule,” said Smith. “We removed pretty much the whole squad – it’s a new group and a lot of them didn’t know each other.”

The process of getting his new squad to gel was sped up by the addition of a core of players from Smith’s former club, Redditch United.

That has helped them Halesowen the ground running, winning three of their opening four league games in Southern Central One and reaching the second qualifying round of the FA Cup.

Striker Montel Gibson – one of those signed from Redditch – has netted in each of the Yeltz’s league victories so far and bagged himself a treble in Saturday’s 7-1 triumph over lower-league Lichfield City in the FA Cup.

And Smith was proud to put on a show for a bumper crowd.

“I’m over the moon with the support so far – we had 640 for the game against Lichfield, who are two divisions below us,” he said. “We are playing some great stuff and hopefully Halesowen fans new and old will come down to have a look.”

Smith wants to reward that support with promotion.

“One hundred per cent my aim is to win the league,” he said. “I spoke to Karen and Keith in the summer and explained to them what I would like to do and how I would like to do it. They have backed me and, off the pitch, we are in a really good position.”

Halesowen face their toughest test in their quest for promotion when they host Corby Town at The Grove tomorrow (3pm).

The Steelmen finished third last season and scored 106 league goals in 38 matches, only to lose a thrilling play-off final 4-3 to Bromsgrove Sporting after extra-time.

“Anyone who who finishes above them will have gone a long way towards winning the league,” added Smith.

Midfielder George Forsyth – who broke his metatarsal just after signing in the summer – completed his first 90 minutes of the campaign in the midweek League Cup win over Stratford Town and should retain his place in the squad.

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