Ottery St Mary chairman speaks about new appointments and all things Washbrook Meadow

Honiton 2nds at home to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 40-16TI 9156. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton 2nds at home to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 40-16TI 9156. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Following the news of the appointment of a new first team coach and reserve team manager, we caught up with Ottery St Mary FC chairman Mikey Ringer to find out what his thoughts were on the continuing developments at Washbrook Meadow.

The Otters chairman said: “What a whirlwind these last few months have been. Since former manager David Fairweather left the club it was always my thought that it would need to be a case of taking it slowly to weigh up all the options and make sure that what we put in place next was going to be a system that would serve the club well over the longer term.”

He continued: “I recall at the time that many people who had my ear were urging me to make an appointment, but I felt at the time that if I could hold the reins, so to speak, then my patience would pay off and I’d ultimately get the ideal person, and system, in place.”

Ringer turned to former Cronies boss Billy Rouse and he continued: “That initial phone call to Billy seems to be such a long time ago as so much has happened since our first chat.”

He continued: “Here we now are with a terrific ‘off the pitch’ team of Billy Rouse, Mark Flay, Matty Daly, David Weeks, Billy Dainton, and now this latest pair [Stu Fraser and Ashley Smith] who bring such added experience and knowledge to the table, so to speak.

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“If you also add to that impressive list the likes of Lauren West and Jessica Jenkins on the sports therapy side, then, from a chairman’s perspective, I am beginning to be able to sit back into the chair, relax a tad, and look forward to a very promising future for our club.”

Speaking of the management structure he now has in place, the Ottery chairman says: “We have worked hard to collectively build a structure that can – and indeed, will – afford us solid foundations and longevity.

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“Yes, there are a few pieces of the ‘jig-saw’ still to put in place, but the progress we are making really does fill me full of confidence that we are on the right path.”

He added: “I am genuinely not interested in the ‘quick fix’ as seemingly preferred by many a club. No, for me it’s all about longevity and sustainability and I harbour an undying determination that we build something that is here for the community for the long term, rather than simply the here-and-now.”

So, with a new management team in place and the chairman no longer looking after the first team on a Saturday, what does that mean for him?

He is quick to respond: “I have no doubt I shall be just as busy! As any club chairman will no doubt testify, it’s not about a Saturday afternoon. Far from it, indeed, it’s about a week, a month, a season, numerous seasons...

“I take role of club chairman very seriously. I regard it as an honour to hold the post and I shall certainly be continuing with my feeling that it’s vital to the well-being of the club that any ‘on-pitch’ progress is matched in similar style ‘off-pitch’.”

He continued: “I am looking forward, in terms of Saturday afternoons, to take up my spot back on the patio outside the clubhouse from where I shall stand with the usual suspects, cheering on the Otters.”

The Ottery chairman is not lost to the dugout though for he is continuing in his role as manager of the Ottery ladies’ team.

He says: “I remain fully committed to the ladies’ team and it is my vision that we continue to grow the Otterettes and look to continue an upward journey in terms of the football pyramid.

“We have such great depth at the club on the female side and will, this coming season, also field girls’ teams at U12, U14 and U16.”

On general matters, the Ottery chairman says: “As a football fan and a person that has lived and breathed football for many years from humble beginnings as a youth player to following West Ham home and away across Europe and then, when my own playing days were done, moving into coaching and management, I think it’s fair to say I have football blood in my veins!

“Too many in my position seem to think that ‘throwing’ money at the product that is delivered on the pitch is the answer.

“Not for me though, and I champion the vision of creating a club that is run as one, from top to bottom and driven by folk with a similar passion for the game.

“As long as I am with this club, we shall continue to strive to be a part of the community that brings pleasure to many, on and off the pitch.”

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