New Blues boss Mellish setting his sights high

New man Stuart Mellish wasn't beating about the bush when it came to asserting his hopes and aspirations for Clitheroe Football Club.

Thursday, 24th May 2018, 1:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th May 2018, 1:16 pm
New Clitheroe boss Stuart Mellish with club chairperson Anne Barker

Simon Haworth’s successor, who was appointed at Shawbridge at the back end of April, is determined to get the Blues out of the Evo-Stik First Division North as champions.

Mellish is no stranger to enjoying success at this level having guided Warrington Town to the title two years ago after replacing Shaun Reid at Cantilever Park.

The former Yellows boss, who guided the club to eighth in the Premier Division the following season prior to his departure, had also made his mark as assistant manager over a three-and-a-half year spell.

During that time the Cheshire outfit reached the eighth tier play-offs, picked up a first piece of silverware in 14 years when beating Farsley Celtic in the final of the Challenge Cup and went on to reach the second round of the FA Cup, losing out to Gateshead after beating League Two side Exeter City in the previous round.

Mellish, who will be joined by his assistant Lee Ashforth and first team coach Dave Mannix, a junior member of Liverpool’s Champions League winning squad in 2005, said: “My ambition is to win the league. I won it with Warrington and I want to do it again.

“I’ve got high ambitions, I always want to do well, and I’ll be informing the players of that. I’ll be doing the best I can to win it, it’s as simple as that.

“I had four-and-a-half really successful seasons at Warrington. We reached the play-off semi-finals, had a great run in the FA Cup, we won the Challenge Cup and we won the league. That was certainly a highlight of my managerial career.”

Mellish worked under a plethora of managers during his playing days, many of whom were an inspiration, and he’ll be looking to engineer a hybrid of those styles and philosophies when implementing his own approach.

With former Scotland boss Eddie Gray heading that list alongside Sam Ellis (Blackpool), Phil Wilson (Leek Town) and Brian Kettle (Southport FC), Mellish said: “I played under some very good managers as a player and I’ll shape my managerial philosophies around them. I’ll take what I learned from them and implement it in to my style.

“I’ll take a little bit of everything from them. Some of them were good coaches and others were better at man management. I’ll try and get a bit of a mix.”

The one-time midfielder is looking forward to linking up with the squad when they report back for pre-season on June 30th.

However, the hard work has already begun as Mellish looks to get a competitive squad in place over the summer.

“I won’t meet the players until pre-season but in the meantime I’ll be trying to find out what they’re doing and who’ll be staying on,” he said.

“I’m already in the process of approaching players and trying to bring them in ahead of the new season.

“There’s going to be quite a few changes. There’ll probably be about five or six retained from the current squad and the rest will be new players.

“I’ve already spoken to two or three players that have worked under me before so we’ll see how that develops. I know what they can bring and how they can improve us.”

Mellish added: “It’s nice to come here for a fresh start. I’ve got a blank piece of paper and that gives me something to work on.

“To be successful you need a clear direction and an understanding from the players of how we want to play. You’ve got to work on your strengths and play to them and everyone has a job to do.

“I want a mix of experience, youth and good characters in the squad. Getting that in the dressing room is massive.

“A good dressing room wins you games, you’ve got to have the right individuals to be successful.

“I want to have a really good go and make our home a fortress. I came here quite a few times with Warrington and it was always a difficult place to go. I think with the right team, the right atmosphere and the right spirit this club can go places.”

Clitheroe’s pre-season schedule will begin at home to Blackburn Rovers on July 7th. From there they’ll travel to Abbey Hey (July 14th), Irlam United (July 24th) and West Didsbury and Chorlton (July 31st) with the trip to Hyde United on July 21st yet to be confirmed. The Blues will also entertain League One side Accrington Stanley in the Ribble Valley on July 28th.

Meanwhile, the club has taken its first step towards creating an Under 21 development squad at Shawbridge.

The Blues are inviting young players from the Ribble Valley and surrounding districts to a trials day on Sunday.

The club is on the lookout for players who will show a commitment to the club and to the development of themselves as a player.

To be eligible for the trials individuals must already play representative football at some level and be a member of a school, college or league team. You will also need to be 16+ and under 21 on August 31st, 2018.

If you are interested in playing football at this level and would like the opportunity to represent Clitheroe FC then please get in touch by email at [email protected] providing your name, age, current team, position, contact number and we will contact you with further details.

Finally, the club’s Annual General Meeting will take place in the clubhouse on Thursday, June 21st, beginning at 7-30 p.m.