15 Apr 2019 in General News
SKINNER: “WHY I SAID YES TO BECOME ASHINGTON MANAGER”
By Brian Bennett
Ian Skinner said at the weekend that he felt he was left with ‘little alternative’ other than to accept the proposal from Ashington FC to be installed as their new manager.
When former boss Steve Bowey resigned in mid January, Skinner took over the reigns in an interim capacity before being asked by the Woodhorn Lane outfit to continue in the role to bring both stability and continuity to the playing side: “First and foremost, I’m an Ashington lad and if the club thought it was in their best interests and I was the best person to do the job then I suppose I was left with little alternative but to accept,” said the 42 year old, “I’m pleased - but there is a lot of hard work to be done which started as soon as the news became official.”
He continued: “The club made mention of the possibility a couple of weeks previous stating that the club was beginning to turn itself around a little bit both on and off the pitch. People will have seen the attendances we have had recently which have been fantastic and the chairman basically said ‘look we can see the team are starting to have a little bit of direction and are starting to come together a little bit’ and he said ‘why don’t we just continue on for next season and continue to build and offer some stability rather than we bring someone else in who would maybes want to change quite a few things? There is a lot of work which people don’t see going on behind the scenes in terms of the overall structure and running of the club. There is also the overall football side of the club as well but the re-introduction of the reserves and incorporating the juniors will actually look after the whole football side of the club.”
He went on: “We are already planning for next season and I need to sit down with my backroom staff to see if they are going to remain or if there are going to be any changes. We then need to sit see the players who are currently at the club and talk to them about what their aspirations and thoughts are. After that we will look at recruitment because what we will want to do is to improve on the pitch. We have finished in the bottom three but FA rules state that at step five only two teams are relegated so we should be okay and that’s a positive as we know we’ll be planning on being in the first division of the Ebac Northern League. If you look back to October when I first came back to the club with Brian (Shotton) there were scores of people who didn’t think we would get to this point of completing the season. But we have and that’s after a fantastic achievement from everybody - players, management staff, sponsors, supporters, the community of Ashington, everybody involved behind the scenes and the committees etc – it’s an absolute full credit to everybody that we have got to this point. In recent weeks, the club has looked to get back on its feet in terms of people coming to the club and generating interest within the club and we’ve had some interest from players who have heard the managerial announcement which is nice because obviously they want to come and work with myself and want to represent Ashington. There is a lot of hard of work and planning to be done and we won’t settle for anything other than improved performances on the pitch.”
Ashington-born Skinner who lives at nearby Stakeford and who is Head of Participation at the Northumberland Football Association added: “We will make announcements in due course about the backroom staff. Do I think there will be a lot of changes? - No. I brought them to the club because I trusted them. They are Ashington people and have got Ashington’s best interests at heart but I just need to sit down with them and understand that they still want to continue - which I think they will. We all came together in such a haste and it was basically all hands to the pump with everyone mucking in and doing a little bit of everything - so we now need to have a structure as to who does what and who is responsible for what.”