Paul Smith determined to make it third time lucky with Yeltz

The final whistle may have only just been blown on one season, but Halesowen Town boss Paul Smith is wasting no time preparing for the next campaign.

Boss Paul Smith is working on his plans
Boss Paul Smith is working on his plans

The FA’s decision on Wednesday evening to curtail the action from steps three to six was an inevitable one and finally brought closer for non-league clubs across the region including the Yeltz’s fellow Southern League clubs Rushall, Stourbridge and Hednesford and Northern League outfits Stafford Rangers and Chasetown.

And while many managers will still be digesting the news and starting to think about next season, Smith has already set about building on the impressive progress he has made at The Grove.

Smith’s desire to succeed has been further fuelled by what has happened in the last two seasons. The 2019-20 campaign saw a glorious FA Trophy end one step away from Wembley at the semi-final stage while the Yeltz were sitting second in the Southern Central One standings when their efforts were declared null and void.

Hopes were high for another sustained promotion push this term only to be dashed by the ongoing fight with coronavirus.

And now Smith is eager to make it third time lucky and has already spoken to a number of players with regarding to joining the push for glory.

“I expected this decision, especially after what happened last season when we were three quarters of the way through the season and it was declared null and void,” said Smith. “There was talk that the two seasons may have been put together to come up with a table for promotion and relegation, but as soon as the National League decided to call it a day at step two I think it was an easy decision for steps three to six to follow suit.

“But it is so frustrating. I know there is a bigger picture and we have gone through something we never have in our lifetimes, but I have been here for a couple of years now and been on the cusp of doing great things.

“Unfortunately it has been taken away from us and I feel for everyone connected with the club to be honest.

“We have come in on a whirlwind and relit the Halesowen fire, only for it to be taken away.

“No disrespect to anybody but if you look at the last five or six years the club have been fighting relegation.

“We have had a couple of good years and for that to get taken away is gut wrenching, especially for the fans.

“But at least there is a line now and we know where we are at.

“And it makes you even more determined to go again and to do well again.

“The club’s in great hands off the pitch with our owners Karen Brooks and Keith McKenna.

“So 100 per cent we will be geared up and ready to go again for promotion.

“That will be our aim again. There will be a slight tweak of the squad required, but I am just glad that there is a full stop and we know exactly where we are and we can start preparing.

“That has already started. We learned of the decision on Wednesday at 6.30pm and since then I have spoken to three prospective new signings that I am trying to get over the line.

“We are in full flow and I want to hit the ground running. I will try to get my business done as early as I can.

“There is a huge determination here and the frustration we have had over the past couple of seasons doubles that.

“I always look to improve year on year so if we can improve on what we have done over the last two years we won’t be too far away.”

After playing just seven league games, Smith is also hopeful of seeing his side back in action with plans afoot for a summer tournament that could also include Sutton Coldfield, Coleshill, Redditch, Alvechurch, Bromsgrove and Stourbridge.

“We are trying to get something organised with a few local sides,” added Smith. “There is talk of setting up a small tournament with 12 sides. We are trying to work something out for May and June to try to get some football going for the fans to watch.

“That might be a bit of a bonus if we can it all finalised.

“We are looking to get 12 teams involved, two leagues of six and then a semi-final and final just to get some football played as soon as we are allowed for for local non-league fans.

“We can use that as a bit of an early pre-season as well.”

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