Ricky Marheineke reached a managerial milestone last Saturday when taking charge of St Ives Town for the 200th time – and he hopes to remain as boss for many years to come.
Unfortunately Saints were unable to mark the special occasion with a win as they slipped to a 3-1 defeat at Banbury United in the Southern League Premier Division despite being level for much of the contest thanks to an early Ben Baker equaliser.
It continued the most difficult campaign of Marheineke’s reign which stretches back to the summer of 2014. The third-bottom side who would ordinarily have found themselves in the clutches of relegation but only the basement side will go down this term due to a major restructure of non-league football.
Marheineke looks back on the past four years - a time which includes a promotion and a county cup success - with pride and remains adamant he can continue to take the club forward.
He said: “It’s not often that a manager is in a job for this length of time. I’m very proud to manage the football club in the town where I live and it would be very nice to be around for another 200 games as well.
“We’ve had a promotion, a Hunts Senior Cup and another cup final in the past four years. I’ll never forget the play-off triumph - very few managers will ever get to experience euphoria like that.
“We want more days like that and more trophies, but this season has been our toughest yet.
“We are still punching above our weight by staying at this level of football. That constitutes success for us at this moment in time.
“This is the first year during my time as manager that we haven’t progressed and that obviously disappoints me.
“There are reasons why – one of them being that the league is stronger compared to less season and another being that I made some very poor decisions in terms of player recruitment in the summer.
“I signed good players and do not question the ability of any of them, but they didn’t fit into the way we do things.
“We would obviously have been in big trouble had this been a normal season with four teams getting relegated.
“The challenge is to ensure we’re not in this position next season. I remain confident that I can move the club forward again.
“I’ve had difficult spells in three of my four seasons as St Ives Town manager, but I have never even thought about walking away. I’ve always backed myself to turn things around and continue to do so.”
Marheineke also guided Saints to the Southern League Challenge Cup final last season when they were beaten by Hayes & Yeading on penalties.
He still has some way to go to rival the management duo he succeeded in the St Ives hotseat. Previous bosses Jez Hall and Warren Everdell enjoyed a staggering 12 seasons at the helm, overseeing 689 games in the process.
St Ives are back in action tonight (Tuesday) when they entertain Royton in a re-arranged clash at ProEdge Westwood Road. It’s a fixture which has been postponed twice already this season.