Diss Town boss Garth Good has reunited the fans with the club at Brewers Green Lane
Diss Town had just recorded their 10th win of the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North season, moved into the play-off places and the bar at Brewers Green Lane was bouncing.
The majority of the Tangerine Army stayed behind to celebrate their 3-2 victory at home to Whittlesey Athletic and as Diss boss Garth Good watched on to see a view of a club unified with its supporters again, he did not just ‘see the connection’ – he ‘felt it’.
Brewers Green Lane was radiating a positive energy for the first time in a while after a demoralising few years for the Tangerines which has seen them finish in an average position of 13th over the last four seasons.
One of the targets that the former Norwich City Academy coach set for Diss this season was to reset the culture at the club and he tackled this by bringing in players who know what it means to wear the orange shirt.
“When I looked at the club last year, the disappointing thing for me was that there was no player in that first team who had come through the Diss Town ranks. I thought that was a real shame. Now, we’ve got Charlie Webb, George Erith, Callum Bray who have all come from the under-18s. We’ve also got James Wilson as well who is a local lad,” said Good.
“That’s just a start. I want to move it on next year to hopefully get an under-23s squad back in the reserve league, which is one of our objectives for the off-season.
“Young players respect when they see other young players getting chances and we’ve had one or two 16-year-olds on the bench over the last few games.
“Diss have always produced good players but have not been able to keep them for a number of reasons, maybe because of a lack of opportunity, a lack of a pathway or better opportunities elsewhere. We want to bring the best local young lads to the football club and keep them here.”
Saturday’s victory - secured by goals from Kehan Whitby, Webb and a Whittlesey own goal - meant that Diss have only tasted defeat twice in their last 11 league matches and currently find themselves 13 points better off than at this stage last campaign.
As well as improving the environment around the club, the other two targets Good set were to achieve over 30 points - the average he calculated needed to survive in the league - and beat their tally from last season of 42.
It is mid-November and they sit on 34 points.
Good admitted his side have ‘achieved so much already in such a short space of time’ but felt they may have believed their own hype as they slipped to back-to-back defeats against struggling Norwich CBS and Haverhill Borough.
The Diss boss laid a gauntlet down and set another objective before their trip to Swaffham Town on bonfire night weekend, as he told his players: “The next 10 games will determine whereabouts we finish in the league this season.
“I said to them ‘over the next 10 games, how close can we get to 30 points? The closer you are to 30 points, the more chance you have of being in the play-off places’.”
Good said ‘jump’, his players said ‘how high?’ And they have collected maximum points from the first two matches on their 10-game run.
“We’re really pleased with where we’re at. We’re not the finished article, far from it, but I think we can be proud of the direction and steps we are taking as a club,” said Good.
“The boys have spoken how much they enjoy playing in front of the fans so that’s always a great indicator. We’ve got young lads coming down, the ‘Tangy Army’ they’re called, they’re at games with a drum, singing and generating an atmosphere.
“I’m really enjoying it. It’s one of my local clubs and I do love the fact that I’m close to home. From a manager’s point-of-view, there’s very little that I can complain about.”
While promotion is the main aim for Good and his side this season, they turn their attention to the second round of The Norfolk Hire Senior Cup tomorrow when they travel to Bradenham & Mattishall (1.30pm).