The Cefn Druids manager hunt explained

Cefn Druids Chairman Des Williams explains the process surrounding The Ancients search for a new manager and what’s really going on behind the scenes at The Ancients. 

Welsh football is on the up and shaking off the moniker of being a part timers graveyard. Coaches over the border are now looking at clubs as a stepping stone to non league jobs or higher. Players are realising that playing in the Cymru Premier League is a place to be seen and discovered by clubs all over the world. As the standard of the league has grown, so has the need to do something different and that’s where the problems start for The Ancients.

Attacking, entertaining football using players from within the academy is our new mantra, but to do that we need a new manager, or do we? We want to change things by bringing in a Head Coach rather than a manager. Stuart Gelling was brought in as an interim coach and started making changes in training and the players adapted quickly, fuelling the desire to change the Druids management structure.

To do that we need a Head Coach that subscribes to that philosophy and ethos. 

It must be stressed that at the Druids it is not as simple as having to impress the Chairman to become their next manager. First, a committee of four men await you and they decide whether you get to make your pitch to the Chairman or not. It’s a process that a lot of professional clubs follow that can be time consuming but, done correctly, pays dividends. 

The decision makers are our International scout Marco Corriea De Oliveria who has a wealth of experience working with some of the biggest names in Italian football. Head of Perfomance, Levi Challoner assesses the playing styles of the candidates and the players they work with. Head of Coaching Jayson Starkey is heavily involved in the implementation of the new playing philosophy and Co-investor Jamie Digwood has experience working with some of the top clubs in the UK.

The interview process started in February and the club was inundated with CV’s and after sifting through the CV’s, the first round of interviews commenced and the shortlist was down to two candidates. Each was then asked to do a coaching presentation and then the decision was passed onto Williams and Digwood to make the final decision.

So, who is the new man and when does he start?

Talks are at an advanced stage. What can be said is that the club is thinking outside of the box, looking to do something very different and the budget for the right man sees a significant investment from the club and its investors.

Two people have proven to be leading candidates and we are looking at different roles for both. Each has worked and coached at Premier League level, one has coached a national team and the other has coached abroad and won titles. Both are under 40 years old and have a proven track record in developing young players who have gone on to play in the Premier League and or national teams.

What’s the timescale?

The lockdown affected football and contracts suspended and until that was lifted the club couldn’t commit to signing off the deal. Now that football has resumed in England, we can start talks again and hope to have a deal in place imminently. 

We will not be changing the rest of the coaching personnel and we are talking to all the current players about deals for next season. Some can’t commit to training three times a week and others are relishing the chance. Rather than being a team that challenges the likes of Wrexham, TNS or Connah’s Quay for playing budget, we aim to be a team that produces players that will go on to play for Wrexham, TNS, Connah’s Quay and maybe higher.