Meadowbank United has appointed a familiar face as senior coach, with club patron Bill Mitchell taking up the reins for the coming campaign.
Mitchell answered the club’s plight following the departure of former coach Phil Collings at the end of last season.
“I keep an eye on it. I saw the ad in the paper that there was a coach required for the senior team. I’m the patron, I wouldn’t let it fold up, so let’s get back into it and give in another crack,” he said.
The former left winger began his playing career with Penzance AFC in Cornwall, England and once trialled with League Two side Torquay United before emigrating to New Zealand in 1972.
Mitchell’s affiliation with Meadowbank United, then known as Eveline Football Club, began shortly after his arrival from the UK and led the team, following another name change to Autoworld United, to three local division titles in as many seasons.
“I became more focused on coaching, so it was time for me to step back and let the young ones have a go and we actually won the competition three years on the trot,” he said.
The 63-year-old has a direct approach to coaching and will continue with the 4-3-3 formation used by his predecessor, Collings.
“You suss out the opposition. If there’s a weakness you play on it and if they’ve got a good player you mark them out of the game. You need to be fit and willing to win and follow the coach’s decisions and use your head,” he said.
“I like to play on the floor, you don’t want it, it’s a hot potato.
“If you’ve done something wrong, I’ll let you know and if it means I need to come at you, I’ll come at you.
“I’m a great believer that the game starts in the changing room. If you can say the right words and get them in the right mood when you go out on the field, you’re half way there.”
Mitchell has overseen three training sessions since his appointment and is pleased with the depth of talent in the squad, but insisted he was still looking for more players.
“There’s a lot of potential there, but there’s also room for more players,” he said.
“There are players out there that are capable of playing in that league, but you have to get them on board.”
Former Meadowbank coach Phil Collings insisted he had confidence in Mitchell, after being coached by the stalwart in his playing days.
“I’ve known Bill for a very long time; he has a wealth of knowledge and will do really well,” he said.
“He’ll get the respect of the players, it’s a good challenge and he’s more than qualified.”
Meadowbank United finished in third place last season, with a tally of seven wins, five losses and two draws but Mitchell sent a clear message that the Oamaru side was determined to win its first South Canterbury Division One title.
“You’ve got to aim for the top; you’re wasting your time if not,” he said.
By James Ford
PHOTO: JAMES FORD – Bill Mitchell will coach the Meadowbank United senior team.