New boss Coombs expects hard graft at Ottery

New Ottery St Mary FC manager Mel Coombs doesn’t have a magic wand to turn around their Peninsula League fortunes, but he does believe in hard work, a no excuses approach to the game and an admiration for the management style of Blackpool boss Ian Holloway, writes Lee Glanville.

Coombs cut his teeth playing and managing at a higher level than Ottery in Surrey but is best known locally for his seven successful years at Sidbury FC and, through most of his playing and managing career, has won more games than he has lost.

He said: “I am looking forward to managing Ottery. They have a thriving youth system that we will tap into next year, and I intend to bring in as many local players as possible, but keep all the players we currently have at the club.

“I believe I can lift spirits at the club. There are very few championship winners in football and, for me, it’s all about the whole team giving all it can.”

“Players that can do that are real winners, win or lose.”

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Coombs, who will be assisted by Graham Beer and is currently on the lookout for another coach to join his team, believes he has a coaching method designed to get teams playing football with the right attitude.

The club has lost Dan Jewell to Exmouth, down to the results of the club this season. He did turn out for Ottery at Crediton - Coombs’ first match in charge, his only prep having been a brief meeting the previous Wednesday.

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“I could see what a quality player he is. Having said that I am sure I can bring players of his quality to the club. We have a small budget for players and every one of them deserved it at Crediton.”

Ottery lost 4-2 to Crediton on Friday night. they conceded two sloppy goals, a penalty and a well taken header, while scoring two goals themselves.

Jake Allen levelled an early Kirton goal, and they trailed 2-1 at the break. Crediton made it 3-1 but Chris Belsten pulled ottery back to 3-2 before the fourth was scored just before full time. Ottery made Crediton work hard for the win, which keeps them in touch with the leaders, while the Otters looked as if they would definitely earn points of their own soon.

“Everyone thought we would get hammered, but all the players deserved credit. I realise what a massive challenge this job will be, but it’s the kind of challenge I revel in. I thought long and hard about the offer of the post before deciding to give it a go. the club has a lot of history, even if their fortunes have been limited over the last 10 years.”

Ottery have been through a lot of managers during that time. It’s a great club, let’s hope the town gets behind it and their fortunes change for the better.

This weekend Ottery are away to Alphington (2.15pm kickoff)

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