IAN LONG says he has one simple goal after becoming Alvechurch’s new manager – to win promotion.
Long had led Tividale to the Midland Alliance title 12 months ago and he is determined to repeat the achievement by reviving the Lye Meadow club on and off the pitch.
Long’s arrival as Alvechurch’s fourth manager in the past 12 months is a real coup and, with the bulk of the Tividale squad set to follow their boss, Long is positive they can be real contenders in next season’s Midland Football League Premier Division.
“I want to win the league, that’s the target,” said Long. “We know it’s going to be tough but the squad I want to build will have the experience and know-how to compete. We want to go for it.
“The chairman has really big plans, he is ambitious and his ambitions match my own. We want to take Alvechurch to the next level.”
Alvehurch chairman Richard Thorndike said 39-year-old Long was his number one choice when he knew he was available.
Long announced he would be leaving Tividale last week after learning the club would be halving what was already the lowest budget in the Northern League Division One South and he has one more game next Thursday when they face Stone OA in the JW Hunt Cup final at Molineux.
But the manager, who has steered Tivi to a top eight place in their first season at non-league’s step four, has indicated the bulk of the Tivi squad will provide the nucleus of the Alvechurch ranks.
Key players like keeper Paul Evans, defenders Luke Paskin and Richard Huckfield, midfielders Mitchell Botfield and Leigh Downing and striker Nigel Penney have already agreed to switch clubs.
“A lot of players will be coming from Tividale but I also want to give the Alvechurch lads the opportunity when pre-season starts, that’s only fair,” Long added.
“However, they finished the season in 15th place so it’s clear we need to improve.
“We’ll work hard on our fitness, shape and pattern and we’ll do everything as professionally as we can. The more professional you are the more success you get.”
Long replaces Lee Knight, who has moved to Highgate United, and follows Ross Thorpe and Lee Adams as other previous occupants of the hotseat in the past 12 months.
Long will bring with him his own management team from Tividale, with Richard Colwell as his assistant manager, Rich Upton as coach and Chris ‘Billy’ Walwyn as goalkeeping coach.