Credit: Farsley Celtic Football Club and Adam Lakeland
You started your coaching journey at Curzon Ashton and won back to back promotions with the club as first team coach. Sum up that experience from your personal perspective?
It was a superb experience working under John Flanagan as manager. I worked very closely with him and he gave me a lot of responsibility on training ground to work with the squad as a whole and on match days.
John was always the decision maker of course but he created a very good atmosphere around the club that enabled everyone to flourish on and off the pitch. I still look back on my time at Curzon with great fondness.
You move on to the Blackburn Rovers academy after Curzon. How do you reflect on that experience?
It was great learning experience because I worked with so many experienced coaches who I learned a lot from. I went to Rovers after Curzon and I did miss the competitive environment to be honest. Working with under 15’s was a completely different experience to working with first team players but one that I also enjoyed and helped me progress as a coach without question.
The opportunity arises to become the manager of Northwich Victoria. The club were in a difficult period at the time. How do you look back on your time in charge of the club?
It was an unbelievable opportunity for me because following on from managing Blackburn Rovers Ladies, it was the perfect next step into managing in the male game.
I probably got the job off the back of my role at Curzon and I owe a lot to Jim Rush for giving me the opportunity over the likes of Trevor Sinclair and Tim Flowers. He put a lot of trust in me as a young manager in difficult circumstances with the club having a nine point deduction.
It was out of my control but taking over from a manager in the ilk of Jim Gannon was a big challenge. I had my own ideas and it took time to implement them but the players bought into it and we went on a great run which led us to the playoffs. I felt we could have won the league that season as we beat Warrington to go within a few points of them with games in hand but the points deduction made things difficult.
We reached the play off final and unfortunately lost to a very good Spennymoor side who have went on to become an established National League North side.
The experience of managing the club and the challenges that followed was a great learning curve for me especially as the players and staff weren’t paid for the last six weeks of the season. If you can manage under those circumstances as a young manager then it prepares you for anything in the game. I believe in my ability as a manager and I want to progress as best that I can which led me to Farsley Celtic.
At Farsley Celtic so far you’ve won the West Riding County FA Cup and you’ve taken the club to National League North as Northern Premier League champions. Can you sum up your journey at the club so far?
First and foremost, the club is a great place to work with fantastic people behind the scenes. Everyone wants the very best for the football club.
It’s the perfect environment to work in and the club have put their faith in me and as a management team. We’ve put together a great good of lads who are great characters as well as good footballers.
Our ambition was always to take the club to the National League North level. In our first season we got to the playoffs and ultimately lost our to Ashton United. Despite that, I knew we weren’t far away and even with our modest budget within the Northern Premier League we set high standards and achieved promotion as champions.
Money can take you far but good players and a strong working atmosphere will always take you further in football. We won the league with the best points per game ratio in the last nine seasons which is very pleasing.
Now in National League North, we are holding our own but it’s not in my nature to settle for survival or mid table. We want to be playing matches that matter until the very end of each season and that’s what we strive for everyday at the club.
We’re up against some giants club at this level such as York, Chester and Fylde but it’s a challenge that we relish even as a part time football club.
What are your aims as a coach over the next five or ten years?
Initially when I set out as a manager, my aim was to prove my worth as a coach. I believe that I’ve been able to do that so far with my staff and I want to become a full time manager in the future in the football league.
There may be a lot of people who say that but no one else will back you so you need to back yourself. I’m 36 and I’ve coaching since I was 16 so I have a lot of experience at my age.
I have my A License with experiences at a number of levels of the game so although you can never predict what will happen within football, managing full time in the football league one day is my ultimate ambition.