Exciting times lie ahead at Shawbridge, says Clitheroe chair Sharples

Phil Brown (right) has resigned as Lancaster City boss
Phil Brown (right) has resigned as Lancaster City boss

There are exciting times ahead for Clitheroe fans under new boss Phil Brown, according to the club’s interim chairman Lee Sharples.

The former Lancaster City manager, who was appointed as Lee Ashforth’s successor earlier in the month, has been given the goal of getting the Blues out of the revamped Northern Premier League First Division.

Officials at Shawbridge have drawn up a three-year plan to get the club moving forward which, in turn, will hopefully bring the feel good factor back to the Ribble Valley.

Speaking about Brown, who won the title with the Dolly Blues in 2017, Sharples said: “We had quite a lot of applications, some of them were eye-openers.

“We were receiving applications every day; we put a hit list together and Phil was at the top of it. For us, Phil ticked all the boxes in line with the club’s three-year plan.

“We just felt it was the right move to make. He’s been in this division, he’s managed to get out of it and he’s coached at a higher level as well. It just made sense.

“We spoke to him and he wanted to take the opportunity. I had an hour on the phone with him and outlined what I was looking for personally and what the club needed to reignite the spark at Shawbridge.”

Brown has been there and done it. The head of Myerscough College’s football academy, who had replaced Darren Peacock and Trevor Sinclair at the Giant Axe Stadium, oversaw City’s first season in the NPL Premier Division.

He was also Alan Lord’s right hand man at Stockport County in the National League North.

“The talks went really well, it was a positive meeting for everybody involved. We were all happy with how the talks went. Phil has been extremely busy ever since.

“We’ve got a really good fanbase at Clitheroe Football Club, considering they kept turning up during a season where we only won a few times at home and finished 18th in the table.

“We needed a selling point to give the fans some excitement. We wanted to develop the youth system, which we’ve done, and look at getting promotion. That’s our overall aim.

“We want to give something back to the fans. We’re just trying to get the feel good factor back at Shawbridge. We’ve spoke about playing in the division above and the steps we need to take to get there.

“We believe there are exciting times ahead, that was the whole point behind this change. Some of the fans were turning against us and we needed to address that.”

l The club is looking to widen the net in a bid to deepen their talent pool.

They’re offering the opportunity for young players aged 16-plus to represent the club.

A youth team will likely enter the Lancashire Sunday League Youth section while a development squad will be submitted in to the Lancashire County U21 League.

Those interested can send their applications to stevenentwistle@btinternet.com.