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Manager Graham Drury signs a two-year contract extension at Stamford AFC

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Manager Graham Drury feels Stamford is the perfect club to be at after pledging his long-term future to the Daniels.

Drury has signed a two-year contract extension to his current deal which still has 12 months to run.

It will mean he remains contracted to the Northern Premier League Midlands Division club until the end of the 2024/25 season.

Manager Graham Drury. Photo: Rob O'Brien
Manager Graham Drury. Photo: Rob O'Brien

And he is looking forward to building on the excellent foundations already in place at the club, both on and off the pitch.

He said: "The chairman has offered me a long-term contract and it's not the sort of thing that you tend to hear about in non-league football.

"The messages that I received from the new directors were all about wanting me to build up all different aspects of the club.

"It's what really interested me in a 'we'll build this together' kind of thing.

"The off the pitch side of it was just as important and we want to build the stadium up and do different things.

"It's just the place to be and I know that I couldn't go to any other clubs and perhaps enjoy it as much there.

"The people I am working for and with at the club are a pleasure to be with and the new members who recently came on board have got a drive to go alongside those who were already there and continue to do a fantastic job.

"It's the club to be at and they persuaded me to give it another blast which is what I will do.

"I will give it everything next season like always but, sometimes with work and football on top, you don't get that five minutes you need, so I have to get that fine balance.

"I explained that to the chairman and he totally agreed that you need to do things to keep your batteries charged.

"It's about having the right balance in my life and I think I can do that now and maybe switch off when I don't need to be switched on."

Drury is now in his third spell at the Zeeco Stadium after returning in November 2015.

Manager Graham Drury with secretary Phil Bee after being presented with the Northern Premier League Midlands Division runners-up trophy last week by Belper's Dave Laughlin. Photo: Rob O'Brien
Manager Graham Drury with secretary Phil Bee after being presented with the Northern Premier League Midlands Division runners-up trophy last week by Belper's Dave Laughlin. Photo: Rob O'Brien

Next season will be the eighth of his current reign which has seen a record-breaking FA Cup run to the first round proper as well as two defeats in the play-offs, the latest coming last Tuesday when Stamford were beaten by Belper in their semi-final clash.

Drury added: "After the heartbreak of the play-offs how could we end it there?

"I didn't know if I would continue after the game as I couldn't help feeling we let the club and fans down.

"But, when I sat back and thought about how many fans' faces we put smiles on during the season and how it helps so many people's mental health, I feel it's important to do it all again but this time go one better.

"I met the chairman who is someone I respect so much and this club is only moving forward and it would be crazy not to be a part of it.

"I want to thank the board for the support and it is an honour to be in charge of the first team affairs.

"I see the crowds building weekly and the support they have given me, my staff and players is unreal.

"At the end of the Belper game, they stayed and clapped us all off and it means so much and they are a massive part as to why I have committed to this club.

"We have plans on and off the pitch and now all the hard work starts trying to keep this squad together.

"They have been so special to work with and I want that to continue. Hopefully it does and our club and players get the promotion it and they deserve.

"Lastly I am so pleased Luke Hipwell, Michael Hogg and Natalie Halliday are all staying to work with me again as nothing is possible without these guys."

Chairman David Whitby is also hoping the club can use last week's play-off disappointment to help fuel next season's push for promotion.

He said: "Following the disappointment of missing out on promotion this season, the club is more determined than ever to be playing at a higher level in the football pyramid.

"With Graham at the helm, and sharing our vision on and off the pitch, we are certain that we will see the continued growth and development of Stamford AFC.

"Graham's energy and passion has a massive impact throughout the club and I know all involved with Stamford AFC will be pleased with his further commitment and the exciting goals ahead of us."

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