Stocksbridge Park Steels manager Chris Hilton has a “burning desire” to win trophies as he enters his second decade in management, he has been speaking to Non League Yorkshire ahead of the league kicking off this Saturday
This summer marked ten years since the former Frickley Athletic defender stepped into the Worsbrough Bridge manager’s job as a rookie boss. The club were perennial strugglers, but Hilton did a remarkable job and turned them into a top half team over the course of four years. His legacy at Worsbrough is the legendary 2012/13 invincibles team.
He then moved to Stocksbridge Park Steels in 2014 and has overseen play-offs and FA Trophy charges, plus the development of Harrison Biggins who is now a Football League player with Barrow.
Hilton has clearly done a magnificent job in both posts, but he wants to remove the elephant from the room – the lack of silverware and promotions.
Initially it was about getting a team out (at Worsbrough), but then I was fortunate at Worsbrough that I got a good bunch together and we stayed together for a few years and had some fantastic times.
It has been the same at Stocksbridge. The first year was just like the first year at Worsbrough. I had three players left from the previous season and by the start of the season I had one player left (from the previous season) and he left within a month.
It was all about rebuilding and getting a group together and we’ve done that several times. We’re used to it, but I have a settled side from last season. There’s only one who has left and we’ll be as strong as we were last season.
We’ve had some rebuilding to do over the years, but we’ve had success in the FA Trophy. We’ve got Harrison Biggins into the Football League and we’ve got in the play-offs and before Stocksbridge we went the whole season undefeated in the league at home with Worsbrough.
It is difficult to pick a favourite (achievement), but to go undefeated the whole season at home is a fantastic achievement because that is done over 20-odd games. It is hard to choose because I have immense pride in helping Harrison Biggins make pro and also the two FA Trophy runs because in one of them we knocked the holders North Ferriby out in their own backyard. “I’d probably go with going undefeated at home (as my favourite) because of the club we did it with and with not paying players a penny over the four years and doing it with a group who wanted to play for each other.
But at the end of the day we’re all judged on what we have won. I have a burning desire to not just be rebuilding or just surviving or over-achieving. I want to win play-offs, win promotions, win cups. I want to do what every other manager and players want to do.
It is difficult, but as a player I won quite a bit so winning something as a manager is something definitely missing off my CV and it is something I want to do.Hilton told Non League Yorkshire.
Stocksbridge start their NPL Division One South East campaign with the clash with Kidsgrove Athletic at Bracken Moor. Hilton’s hopes for the season are crystal clear.
Play-offs, I feel confident we can be around where we were last season fighting for a play-offs spot.
I know it is a bold statement because I know there’s some fantastically strong teams in our league who have spent well and have good experience and brought in goal-scorers. It is going to be even tougher than last season, but because of our togetherness I feel we have a group that can compete for the play-offs.Hilton told Non League Yorkshire.