Otters chairman looking for club to embrace the local community
- Credit: ©-Anthony Rowe L.R.P.S
Ottery St Mary have started 2017 in grand style with the senior side becoming the first team to deny Macron League Four leaders Thorverton all three points – the side’s drew 2-2 last Saturday – and the ladies team bagged their first ever win – beating Keyham Kolts 8-4 at Washbrook Meadow last Sunday.
The ladies team is managed by club chairman Mike Ringer, the team was only formed at the start of the current season and, prior to last Sunday, had lost every match they had played.
The ladies team were all square at 4-4 at half-time and then scored four unanswered second half goals. Imogen Apsey (3), Georgia Horn (2), Jessica Jenkins (2) and Hazel Tucker, were the Ottery goal scorers.
Ringer, himself relatively new to the club says: “I took charge of the ladies team when it became apparent that no one was stepping forward and, rather than see them fold I decided to help out. I enjoy the coaching and developing part and certainly see the ladies team – rather like the wider club – as work in progress, but work that we can see making great strides.”
He continued: “Take the ladies team. Our very first game was away at Keyham in Plymouth back in early September.
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“For what is a predominantly young side [many of the players have stepped up from Under-16 football], that day proved to be serious baptism of fire! We got beaten 7-3 and I must say I recall it being a very physical encounter.
“To play the same opposition, just four months later, and totally outplay them in the second half to secure our first win, is very satisfying and testament to the work the ladies have been putting in.
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“It’s been tough for them for many of them had never experienced 11-a-side before this season and certainly were not used to play on such a big pitch as the one we have at Ottery.”
The Ottery ladies now train twice a week with one of the sessions used entirely for fitness and the other for ball work.
Ringer says: “We have a smashing bunch of ladies who are all keen to learn. I feel ladies football ought to be an integral part of a football club.
“I know a lot of people tend to look at a club and base it on its men’s first team. I am not like that, I champion a football club that is of, and for, the community and, as long as I am at the helm of Ottery St Mary Football Club that is exactly what we are going to deliver.
“I want the club to be at the heart of the community. I want young players locally to aspire to play for their home town team.
“I’d like to think that we can continue to develop our youth operation so we are able to take players all the way up through the junior ranks and, ultimately, into the Ottery St Mary first team.”
Ringer adds: “With the ladies team, and the wider club, I have three words which I like to us - ‘passion, drive and commitment’- a trio of commodities I like to see in people, and we are working hard to get the players from all our club teams and at all age levels, to buy into that thinking.”
The Otters, with someone as clearly ‘on his game’ as club chairman and ladies manager Mike Ringer is, are clearly in good hands on and off the Washbrook Meadow turf.
For all concerned at the Ottery FC the future looks bright, very bright indeed.