Colney Heath opening came out of the blue says new boss Gary Phillips

New Magpies boss says he’s fallen back in love with football

NEW Colney Heath manager Gary Phillips admitted the opportunity to take over at The Recreation Ground came out of the blue.

The former Grays Athletic and Hemel Hempstead boss was handed the reins last week, overseeing the Magpies’ wins over Leverstock Green and London Colney, and the 50-year-old revealed he’s fallen back in love with the game.

“It’s something that I wasn’t actually looking for,” Phillips told the Herts Advertiser.

“I’ve been really lucky in my career so far and this certainly wasn’t what I was looking for but I had a phone call, I went and watched them last week at Aylesbury and ridiculously enough I fell back in love with football. I was really impressed with them and I’ve got a little buzz back and I’m enjoying it.”

Phillips takes over from joint-managers Glenn Draper and Kevin Cooper at a time when the Magpies are stringing a run of results together but Phillips says there is still plenty of work to be done.

“For me it’s a fantastic time to come in because every other club I’ve gone to they’ve either been losing or were struggling and that’s why you get the job,” the new boss said.

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“This one is different because I’ve come in on a successful side at the moment but we’ve got a lot of work to do. They’re a good little side, it’s a lovely set-up, I’ve really enjoyed it but we’ve got a lot of work to do.

“We need to bring in a few extra faces, we need to sort out discipline, a bit of fitness; lots of little things but they’ll only be done a bit at a time. We’re not going to go mad because it’s not broken at the moment so there’s not too much fixing to do but we do need to improve and that’s my job to do.

“It was comfortable tonight and that’s no disrespect to (London) Colney, they’re doing fantastic in their division and hopefully they’ll come up too. Saturday (against Leverstock) was an important result. It wasn’t a great game and we had a little bit of luck when they hit the post with a penalty.

“I saw them (Heath) at Aylesbury last week when they were magnificent, not quite so good on Saturday but it was the result that was important.”

Phillips’ number one priority is to instil a winning mentality at the club and he believes if that can be achieved there is no reason why Colney Heath can’t match his ambitions of getting back up the football pyramid.

“We’ve won a few games on the trot now and I intend to keep doing that, that’s why tonight’s win (over London Colney) was important,” explained the former Barnet goalkeeper. “I’ve told them it’s about having a winning mentality. I want to end up as high as we possibly can and there’s no reason why we can’t.

“I know it sounds crazy but there’s still promotion up for grabs and if I don’t look at it from that point of view it’s pointless me being here. I want to be as successful as I possibly can, I’ve been so lucky to have played and managed at higher levels and I want to get back to that level and there’s no reason why we can’t go a little step higher than we are now; I’m not saying that’s going to happen but that’s the idea we’ve got and that’s the ambition I have.”

Ian Cooper was the Magpies’ two-goal hero on Tuesday evening taking his tally to 15 goals in 16 appearances this term and Phillips says with that kind of quality in the side Colney Heath will always have a chance of success.

Phillips added: “He’s a pain in the backside but he scores goals and they’re valuable, whatever level you play at.

“Each time he got it I shouted ‘goal’ and I just know he’s going to score and if you’ve got that in your team you’ve got half a chance. He’s still got to do other things that we’re asking him to do; he’s still got to work hard and he’s still got to be more disciplined because he can be a little bit lippy but there’s good people around him and good players and if we can get things organised a little bit better there’s no reason why we can’t go on and be quite successful this year.”