Manager Michael Shinn happy with first year in charge of Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side Newmarket Town
Michael Shinn feels that things have moved in the right direction during the first 12 months of his Newmarket Town managerial tenure.
The 34-year-old, who initially joined the Jockeys as a player-assistant manager to Kevin Grainger in October 2017, will bring up his first year in charge next month.
Big changes – both on and off the pitch – have been implemented since Shinn stepped up to the top job and while that has thrown up some challenges along the way, the former Braintree Town and AFC Sudbury midfielder is pleased with the work so far.
“It is a really good project we have got going. It was challenging at first to work with someone else’s squad and figuring out what we had in the dressing room, especially character-wise," he said.
“The summer was hard in terms of recruitment. With some of the work the club is doing off the pitch, it was always going to be tough to keep last season’s squad together.
“But we worked hard and had to take a punt on some younger players, but it has turned out well and we are moving in the right direction.
“When you look at some of the teams we are competing against, there are at least a couple of teams that can outspend the rest.
“There is no point in the club spending lots of money to keep up with them. Coggeshall went up last year and another one or two will go up this year, so next year we want to be looking at the top six.
“People always want to get promoted yesterday, but we are showing some patience.
“Things have to be right off the pitch to win leagues. You see it at so many clubs when they spend a lot money, go up, and then plummet.
“We started again squad-wise in the summer and the club wants to be self sufficient, which is very sensible.
“There is still plenty of things to be done, but it feels now that it is all coming together.”
Throughout his spell in charge of Newmarket, Shinn has continued to lace up his boots, often featuring in the heart of the midfield, just as he did during his stints at the helm of fellow Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side Haverhill Rovers and West Wratting.
Taking on both roles does throw up obstacles, but Shinn has done everything he can to counter those.
“It is massively important to surrounded yourself with good football people and luckily I have that,” he said.
“They are honest enough to tell me if I have not played well or when it might be time to drop out.
“It is important that happens because sometimes when you are playing you do not see the whole picture, you are absorbed in the game.
“And sometimes it has an impact on your performance because you are thinking about how you can change the game tactically.
“It is important I keep performing well so that the players do not start to question my inclusion.
“I would love to keep on playing for as long as I can. I am my biggest critic, so I should know when it is time to stop.”