23 Apr 2019 in General News
BUCHANAN: “APPOINTMENT DIDN’T COME AS A SURPRISE”
By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC club captain Wayne Buchanan revealed at the weekend that he ‘wasn’t surprised’ when the Woodhorn Lane based outfit appointed Ian Skinner as team boss.
Skinner took over the reins as interim manager in mid January after previous incumbent Steve Bowey resigned then the club made the position permanent 24 hours before Ashington’s final game of the season at West Auckland. Buchanan – who was forced to sit out the last three games due to an achilles injury – said: “The appointment didn’t come as a surprise really. Ian (Skinner) has come in and done a good job by stabilizing everything and with Paul Antony and Lee Anderson alongside, it’s a familiar management structure and everyone is both happy and comfortable with it. We all know what the expectations are and I had no doubt Ian Skinner was going to get the job. Everyone just expected it - I don’t think anyone expected anything different to be honest - and we can move on as a club.”
He continued: “The players put markers down in the last few games to make sure they are going to figure in the plans for next season and then over the summer the management team will be looking at which players they would like to bring in to try and strengthen the squad but I don’t think we were that far away because when we played the teams who were at or near the top of the league we performed well. We have got a deep enough foundation but with no disrespect against any in the squad at the moment we maybes need a few new players so that especially in the final third we can be a bit more threatening and clinical. At West Auckland we saw that they are a quality side and football wise for me were probably the best team in the league. They can pass the ball and turn the opposition - and we just need a bit more of that. The young lads have been brilliant for us and it’s been nice for the fans to see that as well that the boys are being blooded and we’ll probably see more of that over the coming years. With the new set up and the reserve team coming on board, everything is in place for us to push on. I think the league is now going to move in this way – about the development of young players – as well as players dropping from the league above to get games. What we need is at Ashington is to pluck diamonds from nowhere and try and grow our own talent - and so other clubs may look at the model we have.”
Buchanan acknowledged that the club had come through a difficult season and sent a heartfelt thank-you message: “As club captain, I’d like to thank everyone who has helped the club to survive during what was a very difficult campaign,” he said, “To all of the players who played their part; to Steve Bowey, Gareth McAlindon, Gary Neasham (the previous management team) who were very well liked and respected; to Ian Skinner, Paul Antony, Lee Anderson, Jay Robertson, Alan Brown, Lee Hall (the current management team) who worked hard to keep things going. Also to chairman Brian Shotton, Gav Perry, the executive board, sponsors and everyone behind the scenes and to Jen and the bar staff, the supporters and the youth set up, players and parents who all really got together during tough times and made sure the club survived.”
Meanwhile, injury forced Buchanan onto the sidelines towards the back end of the campaign but the 37 year old is hoping to continue his career with the Colliers next term: “I’m hoping to play but we will see what happens over the summer,” he said, “It was frustrating having to sit out the last three games. I don’t think the injury is anything really serious but it is on the side where I broke my leg. I collided with our goalkeeper Conor Grant in the closing stages of the Stockton Town game and although I felt it was okay at the time, after doing the warm up I realised it wasn’t right.”