Mossley AFC: Fishing for compliments

DAVID Fish was the standout candidate to be Mossley’s new manager according to vice-chairman Callum Irving.Mr Irving added the directors had been impressed with the 39-year-old’s vision for driving the Seel Park club forward, both on and off the pitch.

He said: “David was the standout candidate and we believe he is the right fit for the club at this moment in time. He is a big piece of the jigsaw.

“What impressed was not only his CV but the additional information submitted about growing the whole club.

“It is not just about the team – though obviously it starts with results on the field – but growing the club off it and contributing to the business.

“David wants to create a path from the juniors to the first team and he had clearly done his homework on the club.”

Mossley received more than 40 applicants for the post and a shortlist were interviewed as a successor to Dave Wild who quit in February to joint the coaching staff at Matlock Town.

Club captain Andy Keogh became caretaker but did not want the job permanently as the 32-year-old’s focus remains on playing.

It is a big step up for Fish, an audit director for Price Waterhouse Cooper, who has never managed at Northern Premier League level.

He began in the Lancashire Amateur League at Rochdale St Clement and for the last two-and-a-half years has managed at North West Counties League side Chadderton.

Fish has, however, a wealth of experience in non-league, a goalkeeper who was a member of Stalybridge Celtic’s treble-winning side of 2000-01 and appeared for Woodley Sports, Witton Albion, Hyde United and Curzon Ashton.

Fish, who has the UEFA B licence qualification, had been an academy player at Manchester United and late an apprentice at Stockport County where he had one year as a professional.

He created a structure at Chadderton which mirrored Mossley in many respects.

Fish, who was raised in Stalybridge in Carrbrook and Ridge Hill explained: “When I arrived at Chadderton the previous manager had taken most of the team with him.

“I spent the first season restructuring and rebuilding and introducing a new reserve team and youth set-up.

“I like young players who have missed the net of the big clubs or not quite made it at bigger clubs.

“I like to make them successful young players who will kick on and move up the leagues.

“While the focus will be on the first team and results, I want a wider pathway from the junior section.”

Fish also wants Mossley to be at the heart of the community which has been the ethos of the club in recent years.

Fish, a former pupil at St Raphael’s and Silver Springs, will be joined at Seel Park by Lee Ashworth, 36, who was with him at Rochdale St Clement and Chadderton and the pair have worked together for more than five years.

“We speak more or less every day and more often than to our wives,” joked Fish.

He also spoke about the success of their partnership, explaining: “There is an openness and we both share the same values.

“We rarely disagree and, occasionally when we do, we have a healthy and open debate.”

Ashworth added: “We both share the same vision about developing players and the clubs we have been at.

“We set out a clear route which is from the junior side to the first-team.”

Ashworth was a striker in local football before a serious knee injury ended his playing days aged 17 – he has had six bouts of surgery.

Ashworth began taking his coaching badges in his teens and has his UEFA B licence and coached at Rochdale St Clement from the juniors to the first team and at Chadderton where he was Fish’s No 2.

Schoolteacher Ashworth has also coached in America and at the Bobby Charlton soccer schools.

Ashworth’s father-in-law is former Oldham Athletic favourite Les Chapman, who was also Manchester City’s legendary kitman, and wife Suzy is well known in netball as a player and coach.


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