Here we look back on Kevin Grainger’s time leading the first team of which started back in September 2009 with a 5-1 home defeat to Walsham le Willows. Taking over from the departing Karl Johnson the side had just been knocked out of the FA Vase losing 2-1 to St Neots and in the seven league games played already had won just one and drawn two and were sitting on five points. In what was always likely to be a tough season ahead having just been promoted as champions back into the Premier Division the task was to avoid relegation and stay in the league.
Grainger’s last game in charge (last Saturday) funnily enough also saw him host Walsham le Willows as he did all those years ago for his first game in charge, this time however it was five goals for the jockeys with no reply and a comprehensive victory, how the times have changed since 2009. The first few years were a struggle to avoid relegation before finally going down back to the First Division at the end of the 2011/12 season.
The next season 2012/13 promotion back to the Premier Division followed at the first time of asking having been runners up in the First Division and it was the following season that the clubs fortunes really turned. Grainger linked with the Cambridge University Press side that had folded after winning the First Division and brought in many of that winning squad. This gave Newmarket Town one of the best squads it had starting a season in many years.
A League Cup Final victory in May 2014 against Felixstowe & Walton for the first time in the clubs history winning 2-1 along with a 9th place finish back in the Premier Division capped a fantastic season and one Kevin is very proud of.
This followed a 6th place league finish, 13th the following season and then equaling the highest in the clubs history with a third place last season. Last season also saw the club reach the League Cup Final for the second time, this time as runners up to Mildenhall Town, whilst also reaching the Semi Final of the Suffolk Premier Cup losing to Lowestoft Town.
The full statistics of Kevin Graingers managerial career at Newmarket Town as First Team Manager are:
Win Percentage; 42%
Goal Difference; -7
Total League Points; 460
Average league points per season; 51
We asked Grainger to reflect on his time in charge with a few questions.
Best/Most Memorable game?
That would have to be the Cup Final victory against Felixstowe at Diss Town. What a day, the build up, the game, the match plan we had that worked to perfection, the goal, the finish by Ross Paterson and the celebrations that followed, that is what the years of hard work are about, those days.
Worst Game you want to forget?
A Friday night away at Felixstowe, what a nightmare, everyone was late and we barely warmed up, if i remember rightly 6-0 down at half time. We let in some horrendous goals that night with errors from everyone. The final score was 6-2, we were slightly better second half but that was a long drive home on a Friday night.
Best Signing Made?
Jack Higgs, just pure quality, a sweet left foot and was far too good for us/our level, such an asset to the team.
This would have to be between Jack Watson and Scott Paterson, both train as they play.
Player Most Committed to the club?
Scott Paterson, he has been great to the club, a leader in the squad and all round fantastic for the club.
Most Disappointing/Frustrating Moment?
The Semi Final Loss to Lowestoft last season. A team two leagues higher than us and we competed with them throughout, the scoreline of 2-0 didn’t really reflect the game as it was far closer than that and gutted for the lads, myself and the club to miss out on another cup final.
Favorite Away Ground?
Hadleigh United, what a great set up, lovely clubhouse, dressing rooms and hospitality the lot. Even though we have had a mixed bag of results there over the years.
Unluckiest Away Ground?
Kirkley and Pakefield, it is miles away and we never seem to get any great results there neither and have been on the end of some big defeats, last minute winners and all round very unlucky place for us to go, which always makes the drive home worse.
Over the seasons Kevin has had a total of 232 players play for him and the top of appearances and goalscorer charts for him are.
And from all the players that have represented Newmarket Town in his time we asked Kevin to pick his best team from those 232 and this was his selected line up
Thanks once again to Kevin Grainger for his time as the Club Manager and for his information for this interview.