Northern Premier League Premier Division outfit Matlock Town have confirmed that Paul Phillips, Dave Wild and Ryan Qualter have all agreed to new contract extensions with the Gladiators. The Gladiators are enjoying an outstanding 2021/22 campaign and are currently six points clear at the top of the league. Paul Phillips took over as Matlock's manager back in January 2020 with Dave Wild joining him as the club's new assistant manager. Phillips had previously been in charge of fierce local rivals Buxton while Wild was Mossley's manager before deciding to move to the Derbyshire Dales outfit. There is no question whatsoever that Phillips and Wild have both totally rejuvenated Matlock Town. At the time of joining, the Gladiators were in the middle of a relegation dogfight and the atmosphere at The Proctor Cars Stadium was low following a number of stagnant years for the football club. Fast forward two years and the transformation has been remarkable. The Gladiators are the leaders of the NPL Premier Division in a hugely competitive season and attendances at Causeway Lane are the highest they have been for a very long time. The atmosphere has changed dramatically and there is a real buzz around the whole town and not just at the football stadium. Phillips and Wild have both won plenty of praise for their passion, enthusiasm and dedication to the game. They've both quickly become very popular figures in the town of Matlock and the hard work and attention to detail that they drill into the whole team has earned plenty of plaudits. Phillips and Wild have also assembled an excellent squad at Causeway Lane. The signings of players such as Al Byrne, Ryan Qualter and Reece Kendall have worked out brilliantly and the entire team clearly play with an affinity for the Derbyshire side. The news of the contract extensions has, understandably, been met very positively by the Gladiators fan base.
Matlock Town's chairman, Bryn Apperley, was overjoyed with the confirmation of the new deals and told Matlock Town's press secretary, Ian Richardson, the following: “We’re absolutely delighted to announce this news and I’m sure all of our supporters will be equally happy. There were no ifs and buts, it was a case of sitting down and agreeing the deals, twenty minutes later we were walking out with everything in place. Paul and Dave have done a fabulous job, and to have the outstanding Ryan Qualter here on an extended contract is also absolutely brilliant news. It emphasises the togetherness we have and also how hard everyone here is working to bring success to the club and for the town .” In regards to the announcement, Phillips told the club's press secretary, Ian Richardson, the following: “Firstly, I’d like to thank the club for the faith they’ve shown in Dave and myself. It keeps things going, continuity is an important thing. I feel we’ve done an okay job up to now but there’s still lots of things we can improve on. I think we’ve got the right ethos in the club, everyone’s pulling in the same direction, we’re on an even keel both on and off the pitch. The right pieces are in there now, but I still feel we can get better, we’ve made big strides over the past twelve months. The club’s in a really, really good place and with the Chairman’s trust and those associated in running the club we can build something good, not only now but in the long term.” The extensions mean that both Phillips and Wild have agreed deals which last until the summer of 2024. Centre-half Ryan Qualter joined Matlock Town in the summer of 2020 and has been nothing short of outstanding for the club. His performances in defence have been immense this season and there is no question that Qualter is a hugely important player for the side. His aerial prowess and excellent tackling abilities have made him a very popular player at the club and is part of the reason why Matlock have performed so well this season. Qualter's new contract extension means that his deal with the Gladiators lasts until the end of next season. In regards to Qualter's new deal, Phillips also told the club's press secretary: “Extending Qualts’ contract was an absolute must, he’s an absolutely unbelievable leader and winner. It’s important we reward the right players at the right time. He went down on Saturday during the match, most players would have come off, but not Qualts, he was there in the heart of the battle until the end, he alongside others are the type of players we need, they’ll fight until the very end.” This announcement comes just a few days before Matlock Town's huge league encounter away at South Shields. If Matlock were to beat the Mariners, the Gladiators could move as much as nine points clear at the top of the NPL Premier Division.