One ‘all-through-the-club’ identity is the Ottery chairman’s vision
- Credit: Archant
Ottery St Mary Football Club chairman Mikey Ringer is delighted with progress on and off the pitch at Washbrook Meadows.
We caught up with the busy Otters boss and first asked him for his general thoughts on how far the club has come since he got involved.
He said: “When I first arrived at Ottery St Mary I saw a football club that was clearly on its ‘down period’ having had something of a glorious former life.
“We had the one senior football team together with four youth teams.
“Indeed, you walked into the clubhouse looked around and wanted to leave straight away!
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“Now, I do not say that to be negative in any shape or form and my description of initial thoughts on the place are in no way meant as a slur on the good folk running the place at the time.
“Quite the opposite, for they were fire-fighting at a remarkable level!
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“The likes of Craig Allen were doing an extraordinary job just trying to keep things afloat.
“Indeed, it was something of a standing joke that, when asked if the beer was on, the reply you’d invariably get was ‘sorry we could not afford to buy a barrel last week’.”
He continued: “Craig is still with us and what a man he is!
“He does so much and for me was the driving force behind the new beginning with yours truly deciding to get involved.
“The first two years were all about stripping back the hospitality side and working on how we can make the clubhouse work to move forward.
“Once a plan was in place came the growth of the youth and then the growth of the seniors, to where we stand now proudly sporting some 15 youth and four senior teams.”
The Otters chief then turned his thoughts to creating a new ‘identity’ for the club.
He said: “I knew that what was needed was a formal all-round identity, a situation where as soon as you saw royal blue, you thought ‘Ottery St Mary AFC’.
“That identity is so important to creating that all-important ‘sense-of-belonging’.
“For me, it’s all about us striding into the 2021/22 football season with a complete and total club identity, no matter what the age group team, seniors and women’s team – all with one clear identity.”
He continued: “The thinking, indeed ethos, goes so much further than simply having the teams all wearing the same kit.
“It’s about using the facilities together, enjoying ‘whole club’ specialised coaching across the board, wanting to have the desire to ultimately be part of the very pinnacle of our club – the first team!
“Over my years in football I have seen it from both side’s - a club providing a pathway to a prosperous footballing future and also a situation where you wonder about the very survival of the club you hold so passionately in your heart.”
“We are only young as a team of people within this organisation of a club that is nearly 110-years old, but I can assure you a player that comes in at any age will be a player of the club not just of the team they may play for.”