PONTEFRACT Collieries manager Brendon Ormsby has delivered his verdict on his first few months in charge of the NCE Division One club.
In an end of term report the former Leeds United and Aston Villa defender admitted to being disappointed at Colls’ fifth place finish in the 2010-11 season, but remained excited at the prospects for the club.
He said: “Although I have only been at the club for the final quarter of the season, it has been a great privilege to be involved. I would like to thank everybody for their support during my first few months – from the players, supporters, committee and volunteers at the club. It already feels like ‘my club’ and I am grateful to have been granted the opportunity to achieve something special with Ponte Colls.
“In particular, I am grateful to Ian Burchnall and Guy Nottingham, who encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone – coaching, commentating and analysing games – and to step into the firing line. Football has been a huge part of my life, and this club have offered me the chance to put all my knowledge and experience to use.
“I am really enjoying the role – despite the frustrations – and am delighted to be on board. I’m excited for the future at ‘my club’.
“When I joined the Colls with ten league games remaining, the brief from the Chairman was to use the remainder of the season to settle into the job, learn about the remaining players at the club, and assess what we need. Despite Simon Houghton leading the team to the top of the league at the turn of the year, the results had tailed off and the club felt than realistic chances of promotion had gone.
“I am not so sure. The job is primarily about winning football matches and I am deeply disappointed that we tailed off with a few games to go, having made such a good start following my appointment. In particular, I was gutted to lose the Wilkinson Sword Trophy semi-final to Glasshoughton and particularly disappointed by how meekly we surrendered, particularly given the heroics the team had shown to knock Staveley out in the quarter-finals.
“The team have showed that they can beat anybody on their day – beating the champions twice in the later stages of the season has proved this – but we need to add a ruthlessness and consistency to our game to achieve success.
“I hate failure, and the fifth place finish coupled with the semi-final loss in the Wilkinson Sword Trophy are not good enough for this club and not good enough for me. Next year we are planning to win the league and a trophy or two. Anything less will be a failure.
“As far as my end of season report goes, I suppose it’s a case of ‘could have done better’ with a bit of ‘must try harder’ thrown in for good measure!”
In the games he’s had in charge Ormsby feels he has learned plenty about the players at the club.
He said: “In testament to the ability of the players, we have not been outplayed by anybody. However, we have, on occasion, been outfought, and this is something I will not tolerate.
“As a player myself, I was never the most talented. In fact, there are several players in our squad with more talent than I had at their age. However, what I lacked in talent, I made up for in commitment, never giving any less than 100 per cent in training or games. As a manager, I expect the same from my players.
“If they give this commitment, put the effort in and show a professionalism towards their game the sky is the limit. If they don’t, they will be playing elsewhere!
“One of the other areas we will improve for next season is the style of play. Too many times this season we have needlessly surrendered possession of the ball and invited our opponents to come at us. Although I don’t believe in playing stylish football for the sake of it – it’s all about winning games, at the end of the day – I expect my team to be able to look after the ball.
“Playing the right way requires both intelligence and courage. During pre-season, we will continue to work on the footballing intelligence in the side, to make sure we play the right way and make the right decisions on the pitch. But once they cross that white line, it is all down to the players, and I expect them to show the courage – moral courage – to play the right way, stand up and be counted when things are not going to plan, look for the ball, and not to hide or go missing. We will have no cowards and no cheats at Pontefract Collieries.”
Ormsby is not looking to make wholesale changes to the current squad as he plans to give the youngsters that have done well for him so far a chance.
He added: “Although we are looking to bring in two or three quality additions to the squad, the team requires evolution rather than revolution.
“There are a couple of areas where I feel we need the quality and leadership required to win the division, so we are working to bring in the right sort of player to help us get there. In particular, we need proven winners, with experience, the courage to play the right way, and the leadership skills to make sure the team does not get bullied out of games.
“I am sure that a couple of the ‘fringe’ players may leave in the summer. This is to be expected and we will thank these lads for their efforts and wish them well. We are working to retain the services of our key first choice players and also the nucleus of the youngsters who will continue to be introduced to the first team over the next couple of seasons if they keep up their hard work and continue to develop.
“I must also thank the university students that Burchy brought to the club to help out our depleted squad. One or two of these players could be great assets to the club, if they can commit to playing a full season.
“If we achieve this – and we’re well on with our pre-season planning as it stands – then we will have a good season in 2011-12, provided we also cut out the daft, schoolboy errors that have spoilt otherwise good performances. We have a lot of work to do in pre-season, but the last 12 games have allowed me to put together a plan to make sure we are ready to hit the ground running in August.
“For next season, my main wish is that we get off to a good start to put ourselves in position to challenge for honours and that we play some great football so that the people of Pontefract start watching the team in greater numbers.”