Gill relishing new challenge
Darren Gill is relishing a journey into the unknown to take up a fresh challenge. The former Norwich City youth team player has joined Ridgeons Football League Premier Division relegation battlers Norwich United.
Darren Gill is relishing a journey into the unknown to take up a fresh challenge. The former Norwich City youth team player has joined Ridgeons Football League Premier Division relegation battlers Norwich United. “It's entirely new territory for me, because I've never played for a side second from bottom in my entire career,” admitted the inspirational midfielder, who was persuaded to move to Plantation Park by Bruce Cunningham, previously his boss at Wroxham and now assistant to United manager Paul Franklin. Professional tennis coach Gill explained: “I played three games for Wroxham earlier this season and thoroughly enjoyed them, but, for various reasons, I didn't play any more. I was having a house built, starting a business with my brother and watching my children grow up and play football themselves. “Then, out of the blue, Bruce phoned up, said he'd put in seven days' notice of approach for me and asked if I would be interested.
“I hadn't heard from Wroxham for several weeks, so I decided to go for it. The house was just about finished and the business was up and running, so I had more time on my hands.
“Six months ago I probably wouldn't have worn a pair of football boots again, but now I'm really looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“The challenge of being second from bottom is something that really appeals to me, as it does to Bruce, who is one of the most successful managers in the history of the Eastern Counties League and, like me, has never been in this kind of position.
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“I've been told by quite a few people that Norwich United are a hard-working team who give all they've got. Hopefully my experience will help us get out of trouble.”
Gill recalled that United were his first non-League club and that he had “two brilliant seasons” under Paul Chick and Donny Pye.
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“We won the Norfolk Senior Cup and came fourth in the Premier Division after being promoted from Division One, which was the first season at Plantation Park.”
He added: “I'll have to earn the right to the present players' respect and I'll give everything I've got, as I always have done. I coach 35 hours of tennis week in, week out, so I'm not worried about my fitness at all.”
Gill makes his United debut today away to Ipswich Wanderers, who have emerged as title contenders. With three games in hand, they are currently 12 points behind reigning champions and leaders AFC Sudbury, who are at Mildenhall. Second-placed Needham Market go to basement side Clacton, still without a point with over half their programme completed.
Lowestoft and Wisbech, fifth and fourth respectively, meet at Crown Meadow, while eighth-placed Diss take on Dereham at Brewers Green Lane.
Ninth-placed Wroxham, who are 15 points behind Sudbury with four games in hand, have a noon kick-off away to Histon Reserves, where their squad will include Dave Tyrie, back from America. King's Lynn Reserves play Leiston at The Walks, while Kirkley are at Woodbridge.
Fixtures in Division One feature three derby clashes - Downham v Thetford, Fakenham v Yarmouth and Gorleston v Swaffham.