Ricky Marheineke, the new manager at St Ives Town, says his first job is to talk to the current group of players – and then he will decide who he needs to bring in for the club’s second season in the Southern League.
The former Huntingdon Town manager left Histon where he was the assistant boss to Brian Page to take up the hot seat at St Ives after Jez Hall and Warren Everdell stepped down following 12 years in charge. The club announced Marheineke’s appointment on Friday afternoon and he talked to The Hunts Post on Saturday.
He said: “I spoke with the directors and it is quite clear that it is an excellent club run very well from top to bottom. It’s an opportunity for me to come in and try to build on what Jez and Warren have done over the past 12 years, which is nothing short of remarkable.
“To take the club from the bottom of Step 6 to a mid-table finish in Step 4 with numerous cups along the way is a massive achievement and as soon as those two decided to call it a day it was a job that was always going to attract a lot of interest and I was one of those people interested.
“So, after speaking to the directors, it was quite clear it was something I wanted to get involved in and I am grateful to be given the opportunity to manage the football club.”
Marheineke was appointed the manager of Huntingdon Town in 2011 with the team near the bottom of Division One of the United Counties League. He steadied the ship in what remained of that season and guided them to the championship and promotion in the 2011-12 campaign. Last season Huntingdon finished fourth in the Premier Division - two places behind the promoted St Ives - and took the team to the top before leaving for the job at Histon earlier this season.
His assistant, Seb Hayes, took charge at Huntingdon and the team finished second behind big-spending promoted champions Spalding United. Histon, who hit a financial snag after Marheineke was appointed, finished one off the bottom of the Conference North and will play their football in the Premier Division of the Southern League - with St Neots Town - next season.
Marheineke said: “I think I am definitely a better manager and a better coach after my experiences during the last eight months at Histon. I went in there to gain some experience and work with Brian Page who is a fantastic coach – and learn how they do things at a higher level.
“I think that the last eight months has aided me in my development and I come here a better person and a better coach and hopefully a better manager.
“I miss the emotion and the pressure of being a manager. Even though there was pressure on us to win games at Histon, being an assistant manager is not the same as being a manager.
“I felt I could go to Histon and be a number two and when the opportunity presented itself I was always clear that I would want to be a manager again. So I am here at St Ives and I am looking forward to the challenge.”
A mid-table finish was great for the club in their first season. But a few more players in the squad might have seen them do even better than 13th.
Injuries and suspensions seriously damaged the team’s chances in games they might have won with a full-strength squad. And when Dubi Ogbonna and Jared Cunniff were in devastating form – Kettering Town and Rugby Town respectively came sniffing around and offered the players more money.
Marheineke is currently talking about the budget with his new club – but says he will sound out the former management team’s players before looking elsewhere.
“The first thing is, I will sit down with the board and work out what is available to spend on the players,” he said. “We will then concentrate on the current squad and the players that want to stay and we will decide which ones out of those that want to stay, we feel are good enough. Then we will concentrate on trying to strengthen.
“I think it is quite clear, knowing and watching St Ives over the last couple of years, that if you can keep the current group of players fit and suspension free, they are a very good group of players. So we don’t think we will need to make too many additions. We will be trying to tweak rather than revamp the whole squad but once we have spoken to the current group we will be making decisions based on those conversations.”