City step up search for new boss

City hope for quick appointment

ST ALBANS City chairman Ian Ridley hopes to be in a position to unveil the club’s new manager as early as next week.

The Saints parted company with boss Steve Castle last week after three and a bit seasons in charge and Ridley has already had a number of potential managers get in contact regarding the vacant position.

Castle leaves Clarence Park for a second time following a spell as boss during 2003 and 2004 and while Ridley acknowledged the job Castle did in recent years in turbulent circumstances he says he felt the club needed a fresh start.

“It was a difficult decision to make in many ways and it was tempting to keep him on because of the difficulties he’s faced in recent seasons,” Ridley told the Herts Advertiser regarding his decision not to retain Castle.

“After weighing things up I felt we needed someone new to mirror the direction that the club is taking off the pitch.”

Ridley says the club has already had a number of people apply for the vacancy while there were some candidates he had in mind who he wished to talk to about the job and with the start of pre-season training approaching a quick appointment is favoured.

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“We’ve had about 15 people who have applied and some that I wanted to speak to,” revealed Ridley.

“There’s a shortlist that will be whittled down to three or four and I hope we’ll be in a position to appoint someone next week.

“We need to get someone in who can build a squad of players ready for the start of the season.”

The Saints chairman says experience isn’t a pre-requisite for anybody applying for the job with the main criteria being an ability to attract players to Clarence Park.

He said: “I’m pretty open minded. What we need is someone who can attract players to the Saints because we’ve been left with a squad that is very thin.

“We have to build on that and whether it is someone who is young and hungry or someone who’s been at this level and is tried and tested the common denominator will be their ability to bring players to the club.”

Outgoing boss Castle admitted he was disappointed by the outcome but says he understands that’s just the way of the game.

“It’s disappointing for sure but you move on; that’s football for you,” he told the Herts Advertiser.

“After the amount of rubbish I had to put up with with regards to finances and the instability of the players’ and my own position not just last year but for two or three years and then just when the football club looks like it’s on a sure footing this happens but c’est la vie.

“I understand it but it’s frustrating that I didn’t get the opportunity to get the club back on track on the pitch.”

The former Peterborough midfielder says he has had no real thoughts about his future in the game but says he isn’t ruling out a return to the dugout.

He said: “I’ll see how the land lies. I certainly wouldn’t turn any jobs offers away if they were forthcoming. I’ll enjoy a few more weeks off with the family but I’ve had no real thoughts on it.”

Other preparations for the new season at Clarence Park continue at pace with the club announcing that Premier League side Queens Park Rangers will visit Clarence Park for a pre-season friendly this summer.

Neil Warnock has agreed to send a side from his recently promoted club to take on City on Monday, July 18, with kick off at 7.15pm.

“It is not going to be their full first XI, it will be mainly their reserve team with a few first XI squad players but it will still be a strong side and a good test for us,” explained Ridley.

The QPR fixture is City’s fourth confirmed pre-season fixture joining those already announced with Potters Bar, Royston Town and FC Gabala of Azerbaijan.