Evo-Stik League side Ramsbottom United have reverted to a system that produced a successful rise up the non-league ladder when the club moved from mid-table in the North West Counties League to the Premier Division of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League in a short five year stint under the guidance of former joint-managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley.
Having failed to retain their place at non-league’s level three under first Jon Robinson and then Garry Vaughan, and suffering the first relegation in the club’s 50 year history, the task of returning to the Evo-Stik Premier Division has been handed to another joint-manager duo in the form of Paul Fildes and Mark Fell.
Ramsbottom United Chairman Harry Williams is delighted with the appointment.
“We had over 30 applications for the position, which reflects well on the club”, he said. “But after creating a short list and interviewing some very strong candidates, we felt that these two had the hunger and desire to take the club forward and produce the style of football and entertainment which should see the locals coming back in numbers.
“Having sampled a couple of seasons in the Premier League, we are, of course, keen to return, but no pressure will be put on Paul and Mark, we just want them to reverse the club’s fortunes and push on. I have every confidence that they will do so and look forward to working with them both.”
35-year-old Paul Fildes has been a prolific striker in Lancashire non-league circles throughout a career that took in the likes of AFC Fylde, Lancaster City, Kendal Town, Colne, Padiham and Barnoldswick Town, before he took up the managerial reins at NWCFL side Nelson part way through last season. Scoring well over 500 goals in a career that finally ended last year, he has now turned his attention to the management side of the game, and is delighted to be offered the opportunity to restore the fortunes of the Rams.
Upon receiving the news of his appointment, he said “I am really excited to be joining Ramsbottom United Football Club and also delighted to be working with Mark Fell in management.
“I know Mark well and I am fully confident out styles with bring out the best in the players and fulfill the expectations of the chairman and committee and all the supporters at the club.
“These are exciting times for us both and we are really looking forward to the times ahead.”
Joining Paul in the dug-out is Mark Fell, a UEFA ‘A’ coach and Head of Sport at Accrington and Rossendale College. Mark was manager at Nelson for three years (October 2012 to October 2015) during which time he led them to the divisional title with an amazing run which included 16 straight wins and 153 goals scored (a NWCFL record). He also gained four “Manager of the Month” awards. He has previously led Whinney Hill to the top of the West Lancashire League.
“I’m delighted to be joining Paul as managers of Ramsbottom United,” was Mark’s comment upon receiving the news. “I’ve know Paul for a long time and we will undoubtedly compliment each other with our approaches. The position represents a great opportunity for us both to work in the Evo-Stik League and we are keen to repay the faith shown in us by the committee.
“Our dealings with the club so far have been extremely professional and the club clearly match our ambition as young managers with a passion and desire to progress.
“Our work now begins to assemble a side capable of challenging next season, as well as providing the people of Ramsbottom with a brand of football they will be keen to watch.”
Both managers already have a number of potential signings lined up as they begin the task of putting to bed the last disappointing 18 months at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium, and leading the club to a more enjoyable and successful future.