New North Walsham FC boss only wants local players
North Walsham Town kick off their Anglian Combination programme this Friday evening with a new man in charge – and virtually a whole new team.
Ricky Chase decided to stand down at the end of last season after the Angels had avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth and the club have appointed former Under-18s boss Daniel Cork as his successor.
Spurred on by his close association with the Walsham youth set-up, Cork quickly decided he wanted the club to be represented by local players, and as a result there are only two survivors from last season's first team squad.
The new-look team could hardly have picked a more difficult game for starters, with an evening trip to Acle, the side who were pipped to Sterry Cup glory by Cromer Town last season – but Cork is looking forward to the challenge.
'I know we could have picked an easier first game but it's probably better than having a home game that people are expecting us to win,' said Cork. 'That would probably have put a bit of pressure on the lads but at Acle there won't be so much to lose. Hopefully they can go out there and give a good account of themselves.'
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Cork said he had no hesitation in taking over the running of the side after a difficult spell that also saw the club threatened by relegation to Division One because of issues with their facilities which have now been resolved.
'I've played for the club, managed the under-18s and live close to the ground. It's my club and I am very proud to be manager,' he said.
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'It's been a tough spell but now it's time to look forward and I have decided to put together a team of lads from North Walsham and the surrounding area. I don't want players coming up from Norwich and then moving on when it suits them. It will be a very young squad – but I know they will give it everything they've got and I'm convinced it will be the best way forward. It may take time – as far as I am concerned this is a long-term project – but I am sure the club will benefit in the long run.
'It's an exciting challenge – and I think everyone is looking forward to it.'
Cork, who is being helped with the coaching by Alan Wardle, says any players from North Walsham or nearby who would like to get involved should turn up to training at Greens Road on Tuesday evenings from 7.30pm.
Chase had the consolation of bowing out on a high note as the Angels went on a good run at the end of last season to avoid the drop down to Division One, after they had looked doomed to relegation at one stage.
Explaining his decision to call it a day, he said; 'I had been doing the job for three and a half years and I just thought it was time for a break from football.'
Also tomorrow evening there is an attractive looking local derby in Division One.
Newly promoted Aylsham have the home advantage as they take on Holt United, who only narrowly avoided relegation last term.
With Aylsham on the crest of a wave after going up twice in a row to secure a return to senior football, and Holt anxious to bounce back after a poor finish to the previous campaign, the scene is set for exciting first game.
An added touch of spice comes from the fact that both clubs have new managers following the exits of Jim Blandford and the hugely successful Brian Clark. Martin Meek has taken up the big challenge of continuing Clark's good work at Aylsham while Stephen Simmons is the new boss at Holt.
On Saturday reigning Premier Division champions Cromer Town begin their bid for a third successive title when they visit Beccles while neighbours Sheringham, who finished mid-table last season, enter the fray on Wednesday evening when they entertain Reepham.
n Cromer Town will be holding their annual meeting in the clubhouse at Cabbell Park on Thursday, August 30. All club members are welcome to attend.