When Mick Edwards approached me about becoming Harrogate Railway manager I thought very hard about it. The obvious answer was NO. About 10 managers have come and gone since the F.A. Cup days. The good days have gone, the money has gone, the support has gone. We are rock bottom and the club has been in free fall; we all know it.
So why did I take it? There was probably only myself and Rob Hunter, both local, that know the Railway setup, as Rob has a job at Garforth that leaves me. I wasn't prepared to see Railway drop any further.
I asked Mick what he expected from a team that has 3-4 players left from last season, little or no budget, ended up 3rd bottom but had a reprieve so potentially have to go through it all again?? Mick's answer was 'if you lose every game and get relegated it won't be your fault, it will be ours, the Railway committee.'
So for the last 3-4 weeks, myself, Craig Ogilvie, Simon Brooker and The Little Man have been working hard, having meetings, making phone calls and having more meetings.
We decided and announced that on 16th June we will be having an open day trails but we had that much interest we are having a second trial on 23rd June. A positive sign of things to come.
Between the management and committee we have decided to become a community club again. Harrogate Town and Knaresborough Town are flying and I wish them good luck but we have to start again from scratch and rebuild.
We are going recruit players from as local as we can. Players who have an interest in playing for pride and not money. We want locals to come back to Railway to watch and support the club again. A lot of Starbeck people remember going to the 'Dagger', there was some great nights there and there will be again.
Over the years the club has become about only the first team, not anymore, if things go to plan we will be in a position to announce a pathway for the juniors, starting at 7 years old working through the years. We currently have two under 17 teams progressing to the under 19's and they will now be going into the Harrogate and District league to get accustomed to playing against men. Building a great foundation before they then progress to the new under 23's development league and hopefully onto the 1st team.
I hope everyone agrees this is the correct way to rebuild this club, our club, our Railway.
Let's bring the good times back.
Updated 22:40 - 10 Jun 2018 by Dave Shepherd
1st Team Manager