In the final instalment of the interview, Andy talks about his career so far in management.
“When Dean Saunders left Wrexham to take the manager’s job at Doncaster Rovers, I was asked to takeover on an interim basis for three games and then another six. After seven wins in nine games, I was given the job permanently. It was a good time to take over as they were already a winning team and I had to keep the ball rolling. That first season we lost out in the play-off semi-finals after finishing on 98 points, which was heart breaking. The next year we went to Wembley twice winning the FA Trophy against Grimsby Town, before losing out to Newport County. After having got so close to promotion to the football league twice, it was difficult the following season, a few players had moved on and we didn’t do as well.”
“After leaving Wrexham I became assistant manager to Mike Jackson at Shrewsbury, we knew each other from our playing days at Blackpool. Shrewsbury were struggling in League One at the time and after relegation a new manager came in during the summer and for the first time I didn’t really have anywhere to go in football.”
“I joined Tamworth as player-manager after being interviewed for the position; it was a job that appealed to me because it was still a fulltime post. We turned the team’s fortunes around in the Conference North, just missing out on the play-offs despite a twelve game winning run. More importantly we developed the club from bottom to top, creating teams playing from the ages of six up to twenty-one, with an education programme and pathways to the first team squad. We had over 300 kids involved in the different age groups and we would get a lot of them and their families through the gate on match day. I believe the current youth set-up at Hednesford is far more advanced than the point at which we started at Tamworth, and will be a massive asset to the club moving forward. We were mid-table in the Conference North when I left Tamworth and I firmly believe the club are in much better position than when I took over.”
“You have to build a culture around a club and that takes time. Changes have to be made steadily and the right infrastructure has to be in place to make the progress sustainable. The first team squad needs to be settled with improvements made year on year and young players coming through the youth set up to compliment the more experienced players. As a club we want to be playing high tempo football at all levels, scoring goals and winning as many games as possible.”
Thanks to Andy for willingly giving his time to talk about his career during such a challenging time in lockdown for everyone. While the future is currently uncertain, with Andy at the wheel Pitmen supporters have a lot of reasons to be optimistic.
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