NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Milestone reached in a managerial reign which features a fairytale promotion and many more moments to savour
- Credit: Archant
Ricky Marheineke has completed 250 games in charge of St Ives Town . . . but he hopes he’ just getting started!
The 37 year-old chief is nearing the end of his fifth campaign at the Westwood Road helm and his reign has brought much success.
Marheineke guided the club to promotion to Step 3 football for the first time in their history thanks to a fairytale Southern League Division One Central play-off final triumph in 2016.
Since then Saints have established themselves at the higher level and they are currently enjoying an excellent 2018/19 season in which they are safely sat in mid-table of the Premier Division Central.
A record of 90 victories, 64 draws and 96 defeats for Marheineke is particularly impressive given the majority of his reign has been spent with Saints punching above their weight – both in terms of finances and facilities – against much bigger clubs with considerably more sizable fan-bases.
The Saints managerial post is probably the safest seat in football. Previous bosses Jez Hall and Warren Everdell completed 12 excellent years of service before stepping aside and allowing Marheineke to settle into the hotseat in the summer of 2014.
“It’s a huge honour to be manager of such a great club,” said Marheineke. “It’s the only job in football I want and I don’t ever see myself being anywhere else.
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“I live half-a-mile from the ground and everything about the job is perfect for me.
“Jez and Warren did a great job to take the club to Step 4 and the challenge for me was to try and inspire further progress.
“There have been some tough times along the way, but there are also many great memories although I have to admit I don’t recall much about the play-off final.
“The game – and indeed the whole day – is just a cloud but it was a brilliant achievement for the club.
“We’ll have to go some to top the euphoria of winning promotion on our own ground and in front of so many fans, but I’m sure I’m not alone in dreaming of more success.
“The plans are in place for a new ground and the future is potentially very exciting for the club.
“Pound-for-point we are in the top two or three sides at our level in my opinion and that is something everyone should be proud about.
“The most important thing is to ensure we remain at this level until we are in a position to try to kick on again in the future.”
A Hunts Senior Cup triumph (a few weeks before promotion in 2016), a Southern League Challenge Cup final appearance (which ended in the agony of a penalty shoot-out defeat in 2017) and a trip to the mighty York City in the FA Cup this season are other special occasions picked out by Marheineke from his four years and nine months at the helm.
Throughout that time he has always had the unwavering support of charismatic chairman Gary Clarke – even in moments of difficulty during four of his five campaigns in charge.
And Marheineke is quick to credit the two men who have worked alongside him for their contributions. Jack Cassidy was at Marheineke’s side for the first three-and-a-half seasons of his reign while Craig ‘Bully’ Adams is the excellent number two currently in post.
He added: “I couldn’t wish to have a better chairman, a better board of directors, a better group of volunteers behind the scenes or any better fans.
“I’ve had great support from the chairman, in particular, during a couple of really difficult periods in terms of results.
“I’ve also had a couple of very loyal and knowledgeable people alongside me in ‘Cass’ and now ‘Bully’.
“Managers are judged on their results and I feel I have a decent record when you take into account the level the club is at. If we can match that going forward we stand every chance of continuing to be at this level.
“My philosophy has always been to do whatever is required to win games of football. If it’s not always easy on the eye then so be it.
“If we played lovely football and didn’t pick up points, I wouldn’t be a manager for very long.”