New Faces At Ramsbottom

Sat 9th June 2012 | Ramsbottom United
By Ian Templeman

Ramsbottom United are searching for a goalkeeping coach to join the club's backroom staff as they look to establish themselves in the Evo-Stik Division One North.

The club, promoted as champions from the North West Counties League in April, are due to extend their portfolio with an Under 18s Youth side for the new season and are likely to have as many as six goalkeepers on the 'books'.

Therefore, the requirement for a goalkeeping coach, to join co-managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley and coaches Glenn Moses, John Hunter and Darren Greene as well as respected physiotherapist Katie Richardson, is paramount in their plans.

Anyone interested in this position should contact the club through the website or e-mail Anthony Johnson at

The club's plan to introduce an under-18 set up has been boosted by securing the services of Mark Whitaker, who managed last year's successful Nelson FC youth sides.

The charter-mark youth setup at Ramsbottom United already boasts fifteen teams, running from under 6s right through to two under 15s, but it has always been an aim of the senior team managers to bridge the chasm between youth and the senior team.

Anthony Johnson, joint manager of the newly promoted Rams senior side said: "Loads of clubs have this big gap between under 15s or under 16s and the first team, leaving players without anywhere to progress to once they reach a certain age.  

"It's madness to spend all this time and energy developing these kids' skills only for them to get told there is no place for them at the club once they get to sixteen.  Bernard and myself have always wanted to get decent under-18, under-21 and reserve sides in place, and it became top of the list for us as soon as we knew that our first team had secured promotion to the Evo-Stik League."

The club were considering how best to put together an under-18s side when they were contacted by Mark Whitaker, who had recently parted company with Nelson FC, and comes with a top-class pedigree.

"Mark is a first-rate manager", said Stuart Johnson, head of youth development at the Rams, "and when I heard he was available it seemed almost too good to be true.  His two youth teams at Nelson have, between them, won three Tameside under-17s cup finals, with one team finishing top of the league by a clear ten points and the other finishing runners up by a single point in their division.  Add to that a place in the county cup final and you can see the pedigree of players that Mark has managed to attract."

Mark said: "With Rammy taking on their own facilities at 'Top Park', and with the obvious aspirations that Bernard and Anthony have for youth development, I could see straight away that they mean business.  The decision to join Ramsbottom was a very simple one in the end, and me and the players are really looking forward to getting stuck in at our new club."

Mark sees few obstacles to him bringing over to Ramsbottom his plethora of young talent.  "For convenience we were already training our Nelson side at Woodhey High School, so if anything it's going to be easier for the lads to be playing their matches in Ramsbottom, and there are some really fantastic young players among them. 

"Our lads picked up the golden boot award, two player of the year awards and three man of the match awards at all three cup finals.  Three of our players were even signed to play in higher age-groups at county level.

"Once we have the more local talent on board, we will be the envy of most football league development structures".

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