REMYCA Manager Assesses First Season

 Following on from Chairman Don Rimmers interview earlier this week, REMYCA manager Phil Stafford assesses his first season in charge. 

Remyca First team Manager takes stock and shares his plans for the summer and new campaign.

Litherland Remyca Manager has finally been able to sit down after a hectic seven months. After joining Remyca in October after a highly successful time at Maghull, Phil had his work cut out from the word go to convert a wet behind the ears squad, second from bottom of the North West Counties Football League in the clubs first season in the competition. Like many around the club, Phil has had time to reflect on a campaign that should see Litherland finish in the top ten in the table. Speaking this week, the gaffer looks at how close the first team came to the play-offs and his plans for the summer. He also looks ahead and tells us his ambitions for the new season.

“For us if any moment can define our season it would be the 88th minute at Ashton Town when they equalised to make it 3-3. You could see the players heads drop a bit, in fact there’s actually a picture somewhere of Andy and me taken as the goal went in which sums up the moment. Up to that point we had a wave of momentum behind us. We were playing well but only 3-2 up and then that happens. The one point from the game instead of three was a major set-back, then in the following game against Eccleshall here, we did ok in the first half but they sussed us out too easily in the second half and when we went behind after being 1-0 up there was nothing down for us in the match. You could see from that point that the players had lost their belief in our run for a play-off spot. I was speaking with Andy (Olsen) the other week via text and you could tell the frustration about what the extra five points could have done for us.” 

“We can’t afford to dwell though, when we came in here in mid-October we were second bottom of the league and at the time of writing we could still very well finish in the top ten having had a real effort at the play-offs. It just wasn’t meant to be for us this season but one thing for sure it gives us the hunger to lick our wounds, strengthen and get ready to go again.”

“Whilst it is easy to reflect on the negatives there are many positives to look at. We have beaten sides that are going to be right up there come the end of the season, we had a couple of right old battles with AFC Darwen only missing out to a goal from near the half way line scored by their keeper’ and some missed chances at their place. We gave Lairds a massive fright here, Hanley were turned over comfortably last week and you can look at the manner of performances as well. At times we have played some great football, we have been able to spread the play, create chances and score goals. In our planning for next season we will be looking for more of the same, although we will be looking to mix it up a little bit and play more direct when we have to. I look at teams who have a plethora of six footers in their squad whilst apart from Deano we are lacking a bit in the height department. That’s something we will look at.”

“We have had individuals who have shone as well, I can list a number of players from 1-16 who do well for us week in-week out, we have come together as a team. We have had stalwarts though, the likes of Chris Lowe, Sean Lake, Colin McDonald and John Hastings who have been the foundation to which we have built around. I could name many but I only have two pages this week!” 

“For the summer we will be looking at coming back in the second week of June for an early start and we probably won’t work with a ball for the first three weeks of that. I’m conscious of the fact we need to keep our stamina up. I will also be looking at bringing a few new bodies in to give us height and steel, what I touched on before, just so we can bring that option into the side. The one thing I cannot legislate for though is if other clubs come along and sniff around the players. We have a good squad here so its natural that other clubs are likely to try and attract some of the lads. We don’t pay here, but if a club comes along and offers money and expenses, then any player is likely to at least hear someone out but we hope that what we are looking to achieve here in the new campaign will counter that. We want to have a go and top 6 next year is a realistic aim based on performances, the squad and our experience.“ 

“We are looking at friendlies too, we have been in touch with the likes of Runcorn Linnets, AFC Liverpool and a couple of other local clubs, I am also hoping to get a game against a Welsh Alliance side. It’s a structured approach and one designed to challenge us, I don’t want us to face sides who we can turn over 6/7 nil, I want us to iron out any weaknesses early. The club will announce dates for any pre-season game so keep your eyes on the website over the summer.”

“Last but not least, I want to thank everyone concerned in and around the club starting with the players, they have been great for us. A massive thanks to the committee, having worked closed with the committee I can’t state enough how much effort those people put in for the club, its everything from paying the bills to getting the kit ready to making sure you can get a cuppa at the sports park. The effort it takes to run a football club is massive and it’s easy as playing squad not to see the efforts it takes to keep things running but the board have been great. To you – the supporters, thanks for your constant backing, it’s been a pleasure from the word go here at Remyca and we are looking forward to getting going again with a clean slate and having a real go for it next season.”

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