Ambition and love for the club key to Diego De Girolamo signing new Buxton deal

Buxton striker Diego De Girolamo says his love for the club plus its ambitions moving forward were key to him signing a new deal with the Bucks this week.

Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 12:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 12:56 pm

The 26-year-old scored 27 times in all competitions for the club last season as they not only won the NPL Premier Division title but also progressed to the second round proper of the FA Cup.

And those factors helped make it any easy decision for De Girolamo to stay put, particularly given the vision in place as Buxton prepare for life in the National League North for the first time.

He said: “It was a no-brainer really. I’ve been here four years and love the club and the fans who have always made me feel at home.

Diego de Girolamo (centre) is mobbed after scoring the winner for Buxton at York in the FA Cup. Photo: Richard Parkes.

"Once the season was over, the first priority was getting a new manager in place but then the chairman spoke to me and although I had interest from clubs at higher levels, I always wanted to stay here.

"The chairman [David Hopkins] has made it clear he doesn’t just want to be making up the numbers next season. He wants to be pushing at the top end and that’s obviously the kind of club I want to be at.”

De Girolamo was joined in signing a new deal this week by fellow attacker Warren Clarke and emphasised how important it is to keep the bulk of last season’s successful squad together, even with a new manager in the shape of Jamie Vermiglio now in place.

He said: “Momentum is obviously important and a lot of the lads from last season still being here is going to be important too given how well we did.

“The chairman took us all on holiday as a reward for winning the league but also as a team bonding exercise to help take us into this year.

"That kind of thing, plus the fact that us doing so well meant that even though it was hard work, the spirit was really strong, will hopefully mean we can take that into next season too.”

As a player who has experience of playing in the Football League earlier in his career, De Girolamo is unlikely to be fazed by the Bucks’ new adventure for what will be their first crack at National League football.

Indeed, he believes the team’s displays last season against sides from the division in which they’re about to compete will give them confidence straight away.

He said: “We played Kidderminster Harriers and York City in cup ties last year and drew one and won the other, the latter against a side who eventually went up.

"So we’ve shown we can compete and those results will be great for our confidence.

"There are five or six full-time clubs in the National League North so there will naturally be a challenge for us in that sense when it comes to fitness, but we’re not going to be there to just battle against relegation.”

De Girolamo added that that appointment of new boss Vermiglio is something the players should embrace, particularly given the changes that happened at the club last season.

He said: “We had a change of manager mid-season and it ended up working out well. I was gutted when Gary Hayward left but we were winning games and Steve Cunningham came in and did a great job.

"Now the new manager has come in and he was quickly on the phone to us telling us what he expects and echoing the ambitious nature of the rest of those at the club.

"As a player, you get used to managers coming and going and I think I’ve played under four or five now since I’ve been here, but you just have to embrace it.

"We’ll hopefully be bringing in some good new signings to supplement what we already have and it’s going to be really exciting.

"Last season was unbelievable and created great memories but now we need to look ahead and continue the journey.”