Saturday, 23 October 2010

Neil Young's Managerial Profile

Written For:-
Chester vs Lancaster 23rd October 2010
Last week The Cestrian looked at the playing history of Chester FC’s manager Neil Young. This week we focus on his managerial history, which began after he suffered a dislocated shoulder playing for Droyslden and was forced to retire from playing football.
But rather than leaving football altogether he began his career in football management with local Sunday league side Queens Park. Neil Young said “We won everything that you possibly could win on a Sunday. We won the Cheshire [Sunday] Cup three out of four years, which hadn’t been done for a while at the club. From there I [was] offered the Poulten Victoria job, which at the time in West Cheshire was a big job. I was a young lad at the time, 24 or 25. It was massive achievement to get that job and I had three very good seasons there.”
“Then I got offered to go to Rhyl as assistant manager to John Hulse, who I’d worked with at Conwy [as a player]. I had a fine three years there. We went into Europe and won in Europe which hadn’t been done [before]. We won the Welsh Cup a couple of times, won the League Cup a couple of times and finished runners-up in the league, a couple of times in third [too]. It was very successful at the time, when we had a lot of full-time teams up against us.”
“And then my little one was born. So I decided to go back to Cammell Laird as assistant manager to a good friend of mine called Ian Doran. Because the travelling in Wales, with my little girl being born, was a little bit too much with my job. So I went back home. Cammell Laird was only a couple of miles from my house. They’d just lost out in the play-off final the year before so they asked me to come in. They’d lost a bit of [momentum]. It really knocked them. And they lost their two main strikers at the time. But the year I came there we managed to go up automatically [into] the Unibond Premier. Then Ian stepped down and a guy called Ken McKenna, who again, I played with at Conwy, and I know very well from the area and [who is] a good friend of mine, came in.”
A few months later however, Neil Young was the manager of Colwyn Bay. At the time Colwyn Bay were third from bottom and attempting to avoid relegation. The Cestrian asked Neil why he felt confident he could do a good job at Colwyn Bay.
“From the day I took over at Poulten Vics... I could have gone and managed in the North West Counties [League] but obviously I went to Rhyl [instead]. I always said before I take a job that’s going to be significant and on my own I want to make sure I’ve got every bit of knowledge. It’s not just about running a football team; it’s running a football club. It’s about knowledge of players, contracts, boards, dealing with everything associated with the football club. It’s not just about turning up on the Saturday or doing the training. [I wanted to know] the whole thing that goes into managing a non-league football club.”
“When the Colwyn Bay job came up I spoke to Gary [Jones], who’s my best friend and has been my best friend for 30 years. He was just finishing at Grimsby, and I said ‘Do you fancy going for this job?’ [Colwyn Bay] had been on to me and asked if I’d be interested, I think mainly because of my North Wales connections from being at Rhyl. And [Gary Jones] said ‘yeh’. For me, that was the green light.”
“We’ve always said whilst he was a pro that when he finished we would try and do something together. We took Colwyn Bay over when they were third from bottom and had six points from eleven games. Apart from two players we had to revamp the whole squad. The window at the time was shut and everyone was taken at the time when we took over in October so it was a case of trying to pull players, if we could, from West Cheshire football. [We] managed to get Dave Challinor in, and Graham Branch, who’s a friend, and tried to mug through.”
“We suddenly went on a run of 13 games unbeaten around Christmas time and really pushed on. We came from absolutely nowhere, and in the end, if I’m honest, we probably should have gone up. The only reason I thought we didn’t go up at the time was because we ran out of players. We went to Newcastle Blue Star in the semi-final of the play-offs and we just had no players. All our experienced lads were injured. We had Rob Hopley playing at the back! We playing against a side of lads who’d played in the football league and we more than held our own. Probably should have won the game in normal time and then got beaten on penalties.”
“The next year, Halifax were always going to lead the pack, they improved from the year before when they didn’t even make the play-offs. We made the play-offs again. I was under quite a bit of pressure, which I thought was a very unjust. [Because] Colwyn Bay where they are and they’re based and trying to entice players down there, and what we’d done the year before, I thought the pressure being applied was wrong.”
In the play-off semi final against “Curzon Ashton we were 1-0 down with 20 minutes to go. We changed it, two lads came off the bench and scored and we won 2-1. Went to Lancaster, again we’d done our homework, set our team up and we were much better than them on the day. There’s the argument that they finished 21 points ahead of us, but you know the rules before you go into it, and that’s cup football. We went there and had a fantastic day and managed win 1-0, a penalty but I thought three or four nil wouldn’t have been unjust on the day.”
“[It was a] fantastic day for the lads and fantastic for me; to take a side for the first time as the number one man and do what we did in 18 months at Colwyn Bay. Not being disrespectful to them in anyway, but obviously they’re out on a limb a little bit, so it’s very difficult to attract players unless you know them. We basically won the play-off final with a full team from the Wirral bar one Liverpool lad, which is a really good achievement, because a lot of those lads had only played West Cheshire [League] football.”
“Then obviously I was planning for the new season and the new league. I read the Non-League Paper but I wasn’t really taking any notice in the Chester job. At no time did I even consider putting in for it; I was under contract so I couldn’t put in for it. Then on the Thursday [Chester] approached Colwyn Bay and asked for permission to speak to me. Colwyn Bay’s chairmen rang me up, I have an agreement that if anyone came in for me they’d let me know, and gave me permission to speak to Steve [Ashton], Chris [Pilsbury] and Paul Baker. On that evening it was all done and dusted, very quickly done. There was a bit of wrangling about how to get me out of the contract, and that involved the game that kicked the season off [at Colwyn Bay].”
Since then we all know how quickly Neil has moved to get together a good side playing winning and attractive football. Let’s hope that in years to come Neil can look back on his time at Chester FC with great satisfaction on a job well done. No pressure then Neil!

No comments:

Post a Comment