A NEW managerial team has been appointed at Alnwick Town, with ambitions of bringing a new brand of football to the club, consolidating its Northern League status.
Bosses at the Northern League Division Two outfit have named Danny Olson as manager and Rob Marshall as his assistant following the resignation of Dougie McEwan and Stephen Gibbard last month.
The pair, who bring with them a wealth of experience, took control of their first game on Saturday – a 1-1 draw at Whitehaven.
And 45-year-old Olson, from Whitley Bay, admitted the pair are relishing the challenge.
“We couldn’t turn this opportunity down and we are looking forward to getting our teeth into it,” he said.
“This club is steeped in history and the main thing is that all the lads are from the Alnwick area. It is their club.
“There is no budget as such but they are going out every week playing for their club and that was a big attraction. These kids want to play for Alnwick Town and there is a real family feel about the club.”
The pair take over following a difficult period for Alnwick’s senior side – managerless for almost a month and slumping to four defeats on the bounce. But Olson and Marshall hope they can stop the rot and turn things around, in what is the club’s first season back in the Northern League following a four-season absence.
Olson said: “The short-term aim is to try to stabilise the place. The club was managerless for nearly a month, which in today’s footballing times is a long time.”
Speaking before Alnwick’s draw with Whitehaven, he added: “We also need to try to stop the heavy defeats. In the last six games, we have conceded 17 goals and only scored four, so we need to look at the defensive side of things.
“We might not stop the defeats in the first few games but hopefully, we can stop the heavy defeats and then look to play a little bit of football.”
Olson brings with him an impressive CV, which includes a playing career at professional and semi-pro level – both on home soil and overseas – while his non-playing days have seen him coach at both Newcastle United and Sunderland academies.
He also has a number of footballing qualifications to his name, including his Uefa A and B licences, while 42-year-old Marshall – a former non-league footballer – is a Level Two FA coach.
Olson said: “Hopefully, we will bring a professional element to the club and we want to bring a bit more professional discipline, in the sense that we are playing senior football here and we are expected to win football matches, so we have to see games out and not concede silly goals.
“There is also a certain type of football we would like to play. We want to get away from the long-ball game and instead bring the ball down, play from the back and utilise our midfield players and get in and around defences, as well as working hard off the ball.
“We are going for a high-tempo, short, sharp style of football and if the lads adopt this type of football, they will enjoy it.”
Looking to the future, Olson adds: “We have to be realistic – we are one of the few teams who play without a playing budget, but if we can say in 18 months or two years that we are sitting comfortably in the top six of Division Two, then I would feel that we are going towards where we want to be.
“But it would be a nice feeling to think a side with no budget could maybe defy the odds, if you like, and push into Division One, and then re-evaluate the situation.”
Alnwick Town chairman Tom McKie said the club was ‘thrilled’ with the appointment.
He said: “Danny has been looking for a chance to prove himself in the Northern League and we have given him that opportunity.
“It is very difficult for any manager to come in and be told that you haven’t got a budget because we don’t pay our players.
“But he is prepared to take that on and we wish him all the success for the future of Alnwick Town Football Club.”
McKie paid tribute to Paul Yeadon, who stepped in as temporary manager, with the support of senior players.