Ottery chairman: The first month has been one of real progress
- Credit: Archant
Ottery St Mary chairman Mikey Ringer is highly satisfied with what is happening at the Washbrook Meadow club one month into the new football season, writes Steve Birley.
We caught up with the Otters’ supremo and first asked for his general thoughts on a busy first month.
He said: “As chair it was always the intention to put together a squad that would be pushing for step six football and, it’s very much the case of ‘so far so good’.”
He continued: “Progress up the football pyramid has always been the name of the game. What are you in life if you are not ambitious and seek to improve your lot?
“However, I am also a cautious person and a realist. The new management have come in and set out their stall and the players, new and old, have responded very well.
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“We continue to work mighty hard to be able to deliver a sustainable model in terms of our club going forward, trying to be successful while also being very conscious of the need for us to have a club that is here not just for tomorrow, but for years to come.”
To the question of, is he enjoying the current brand of football being served up by the Otters, he says: “What I like to see is football being played at all levels by players enjoying what they do, growing in confidence and clearly showing a desire to listen and learn from their management/coaches.
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“My way is to have a squad that is not packed with primadonnas, but one that is full of ‘true grit’ and ‘passion’ and very much the sort that looks at a hurdle, gets through it and then says ‘where’s the next hurdle’!”
He adds: “What has been noticeable this first month is that, across all playing areas, men, ladies and youth, we have seen individual and collective performance levels raised significantly.”
On the more contentious issue of the coronavirus pandemic and the recent government announcement about greater restrictions, the Otters chairman says: “I am a great admirer of Boris Johnson, but would not want his job for all the tea in China!
“For our part, football does not – indeed, cannot – survive without the social side and so the new restrictions have added to our workload – and finances!”
As to what would further help the club’s cause, he says: “So much has been done already by the football authorities, and for that we are so grateful, but it’s clear we will need help again soon very soon.
Of course, health is of paramount importance and we shall continue to do everything we can to keep people safe.”
And so, to the future, and he says: “I long for the day that this club is playing at step five and running out in that team are players who began their football journey in the Ottery youth teams.”
On the subject of the Ottery youth, the chairman says: “It’s great to have the youth teams all back training and most playing once again Yes, it has thrown up a lot of issues with Covid-19 again playing a big role.
That said we have grown I size again – which is a hugely positive thing, and we have now have had to take up pitches elsewhere around the town, and there’s no doubt we are going to require even more pitches as the strength in depth of the club develops further.
“There’s no doubt I my mind that we are playing a big part in preparing local young footballers to go on and have a great future in the game at all manner of levels.”
The Ottery chairman then turned his attention to the superb support the club is now receiving.
He said: “It’s very clear to me that without the support of so many locally, we would simply not be here, but, in saying that, I’d also add that more is needed.
“We urge more to get involved. We are here with a clear mission to work with the local community in promoting the sport we love and to promote those local businesses that wouldn’t normally be involved.
“As for how the community has been supporting us – well, in a word ‘wow’ - we seem to be the ‘talk of the town’ and there’s a clear ‘buzz’ about all things Ottery St Mary Football Club.
“I must confess I cannot wait for the time when we can once again open up the full ground to get that stand of ours ‘rocking’ and look to return to the sort of matchday atmosphere we had last season.
“What I do know is that if last year’s atmosphere which was superb by the way, and that for a side at the ‘other’ end of the table, was special, then wait til the crowds are allowed back to watch this season’s football!”
Looking to the future, the Ottery chairman rounded things off saying: “Going forward, if I could make one wish then it’d be that we have a media at both local and national level that puts across what is actually happening in the real world of football.
“Yes, of course, we could just tell you about the wins and all the good times, but, in the ‘real’ world there are of course ‘ups and downs’ and hurdles to get beyond.
“It’s just the same as our normal everyday lives. I advocate innovation not imitation and as long as I am at the helm of Ottery St Mary football ball club then we are going to look to be leaders in innovation. Onwards and upwards with all things blue!