Wiltshire Publications

New manager not fazed by challenge ahead of him

WESTBURY United has a new manager – and at just 23, he is one of the youngest non-league managers in the country.

James Goddard took over the reins following the resignation of Shaun Gardiner late last month and despite a whirwind start, he is looking forward to the coming season and hopefully a successful future at the club.

He said, “Obviously we had a slow start to the season but we have picked up some good results and had performances that warranted more points than we’ve actually got. It’s still early days and there’s a lot of football to be played.

“I believe we need to consolidate and improve on our position from the last few seasons.  Obviously long term we need to be aiming to finish higher up the table, but it’s important we take it one step at a time.

“Off the pitch the club is in good shape and now we need to start delivering on it. We have some talented youngsters coming into the squad from Westbury Youth who, alongside the quality we already have, is giving us competition for places, which is only going to benefit the club.

“A few new players have signed and we still have areas we would like to improve on to take us up a level.

“The chairman, Matt Bright and secretary Greg Coulson, have been brilliant with me and my assistant Karl Freeman. We all agree on how this club needs to progress and the direction it’s heading in. The players have bought into the style and type of football we want to bring to the club and are working hard to make this happen.”

Despite James’ coaching background, his age has raised questions. James’ response is simple, “This has been the biggest question surrounding my appointment and I understand that people will always be sceptical.

“It is definitely unusual for someone who is 23 to be managing in the Western League. However, I have had seven years’ coaching experience and for me, the fact I’m 23 makes no difference to my ability to do the job.

“I am looking forward to taking this club forward and hopefully proving people wrong. I’m really proud to be given this opportunity. I’m looking forward to the challenge and managing at this level.”