NEW head of football operations Paul Collicutt says the unbridled enthusiasm from director Jed McCrory – and the chance to join his hometown and boyhood club – convinced him to join Stratford Town.
The former Evesham United manager will take on a remit looking after football activities from the academy, boys and girls teams, FC Stratford and first team.
Cheltenham-based Collicutt says he is looking forward to working with new manager Tommy Wright plus coaching staff Steve Walker and Paul Davis, extending the knowledge basis to help attract players to the club.
He admitted the call from McCrory came as a surprise but it provided the perfect pick-me-up after the disappointment of being axed by Evesham after five-and-a-half years in charge.
“The one thing about Jed is that he is so infectious,” said Collicutt. “He has got big ideas, big ambitions and if half of the things happen that Jed wants to happen then it’s going to be an exciting ride.
“You can see what it means to him and, after chatting to him over a period of three weeks or so, the enthusiasm Jed brings is uplifting.
“When he phoned me a week after leaving Evesham it came out of the blue, I’d never spoken to him before. My head was down.
“I really enjoyed my time at Evesham and I think I left the club in a better place than when I came in, but things move on and I’m looking forward to a new challenge with Stratford.”
The 60-year-old, who also had 13 years at Bishops Cleeve as boss to follow a successful playing career notably with Cheltenham Town and Trowbridge, recalls his first footballing experience standing on the terraces at Stratford’s old ground at Masons Road.
“The big thing in coming to Stratford is that I’m a Stratford lad,” he added. “I was born in Stratford and Stratford Town was the first team I supported as a young lad. I used to live in West Green Drive in Shottery and I used to get on my pushbike to go and watch Town.
“In those days, they used to play in yellow shirts and blue shorts.
“I’ve had my eye on their results since I was knee-high. It’s nice to now be involved.”
Town’s new management and squad was due to meet together for the first pre-season training session last night (Thursday) and Collicutt’s link has already added former Evesham midfielder Joe Tumelty to the squad.
Collicutt says he is looking forward to settling into his new role, although it will be an adjustment. He has not worked with Wright before but he already holds the former Darlington, Nuneaton and Corby Town boss in high regard.
“I’m there to help Tommy in whatever way I can,” said Collicutt. “I’ve not worked with Tommy before but people who I know have spoken very highly of him. He is an up-and-coming manager and he wants to do well and we’re all here to help him do that.
“I would like to think I can learn from him as much as he can learn from me. We can bounce ideas off each other to make the club better.
“The first thing for me is to get to know the club as a whole, the people and for the people to get to know me.”
MEANWHILE, new Robins boss Carl Abbott has continued his Jubilee Stadium revamp by signing experienced forward Brian Smikle.
Smikle, 33, started his career with West Bromwich Albion and went on to have spells with Kidderminster Harriers, Cheltenham Town, who he helped to the League Two play-off final at Wembley in 2012, Hereford United, Altrincham, Stourbridge, Rushall Olympic and Sutton Coldfield Town.
Outgoing is Sean Geddes, who has left United before starting his role as player-coach after accepting the managerial position at Black Country Rangers.
Gifted midfielder Geddes had been set to follow Abbott to the Jubilee from Quorn as part of a six-man management team featuring assistant managers Paul Tomlinson and Shaun Cunnington, coach Simon Johnson and head of performance Richard Gamble. Abbott confirmed Geddes will not be replaced.