NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Chairman gives his full backing to St Ives Town boss after torrid Southern League Premier Division start
- Credit: Archant
Chairman Gary Clarke is adamant that Ricky Marheineke remains the right manager for St Ives Town - despite a difficult start to the season.
Saints have won just one of their opening 14 games in the Southern League Premier Division to slump to third-bottom in the standings. Eleven of those games - including a 1-0 home reverse at the hands of Bishop’s Stortford, have ended in defeats.
But Clarke is confident that Marheineke and assistant boss Jack Cassidy, who steered the club to promotion to this level for the first time in 2016, can mastermind an upturn in fortunes during a season in which only the bottom club will be releagted.
“The manager and his staff have my backing, 100 per cent,” Clarke told the Hunts Post. “We’re not a club that hires and fires.
“Our previous managerial duo were with us for 12 years and hopefully Ricky and Jack are around for that length of time as well.
“They led us to promotion less than 18 months ago and gave us the highest level of football we’ve experienced in our history.
“They had a hiccup in their first season, had a clearout and turned things around. There was also a tough spell at this stage of last season, but they got it sorted again - and I have no doubt the same thing will happen again.
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“We’re barely a quarter of the way through the season and we’ve been decimated by the amount of injuries that would hurt any club.”
Clarke met with Marheineke, who took charge in the summer of 2014, and Cassidy earlier this week.
And he has urged fans to turn out in force for a tough home clash against Weymouth at ProEdge Westwood Road this Saturday, 3pm.
“I had an informal chat with Ricky and Jack on Monday,” added Clarke. “They have identified what needs to happen and we are fully behind them and will give them whatever help and support we can.
“Playing at this level is a learning curve for all of us. Some of the fans have a whinge and a groan, but if we win a couple of games Ricky will be the best thing since sliced bread again.
“He has great knowledge of the game and players in the local area. He lives in the town and is well respected for what he has achieved in putting our small-town club on the map.
“Jack is also a huge part of the club – not just at first-team level. He heads up our football and education programme and it is great to see young players coming through. Right now they both need everyone behind them and hopefully people will turn out in force on Saturday.”
Marheineke has released defender Andrew Iwediuno after three appearances for the club. Summer signing Lewis Hilliard has also been allowed to leave the club.
Saints have completed the capture of Bedford Town wideman Ben Sawyer and he will feature in the squad against Weymouth along with goalkeeper Jacob Marsden and defender Jamie Short, who both made debuts in midweek.
Marsden is a former Ipswich Town youngster who played at Leiston last season, while Short is the skipper of Saints’ Under 18 side.