McAloone looks to build as Mansergh signs off at Crooklands
Despite having been slow out of the blocks in manager Marc McAloone’s first season at the helm – leading to a 10th place finish – Crooklands Casuals can take a few positives from the season.
Having confirmed the same management team will still be in charge ahead of the next campaign, there is hope within the club that the team can build a side capable of challenging for promotion.
With McAloone again aided by Matty Taylor, the only change has been in the reserves with current manager Lindon Cooper being joined by last seasons U16’s coach Stephen Jackman; continuing the club’s tradition of feeding junior players and coaches into the senior set-up.
Speaking about his debut season at the club, McAloone said: “I was really enjoying it until the coronavirus came around.”
“The biggest positive is that we competed all the time,” he added. “Even though we were struggling before Christmas, we competed with the higher placed teams such as Lostock etcetera”.
Picking up derby wins against Millom and Askam, who he described as “always tough”, McAloone still believed they would finish the season strongly, particularly impressing in their last game, away at Eagley.
It’s when talking about his future plans where McAloone seems to thrive,clearly believing in his players.
“[They] have the ability to stake a claim in this league and get the club back where it belongs. It’s something myself, Matty and the other coaches have to build and it will take time, but the club off the pitch is in great hands and is always moving forward”.
One area of concern will be the departure of talismanic centre forward Dave Mansergh who confirmed last season was his last for the club, with McAloone admitting: “Dave is going to be a huge loss for any team. The lads look for him and are used to playing in certain ways to find him, so that’s something we will have to work out.”
Mansergh himself confirmed: “This just felt like the right time, ready for a break. [I] lost a bit of motivation to carry on and the enjoyment was impacted for the first time.” He will, however, continue to serve the club as manager of the U12 ‘Blacks’, as treasurer of the junior section and as a member of the club committee.
Whilst the on-pitch action may have stopped, like many clubs, the off pitch work has stepped up. CCTV has been installed at the club and a series of pitch renovations have been carried out by Perfectly Planted in Gosforth, with Mansergh admitting: “the playing surface has never looked so good.”
This has come at a significant cost, however as a lack of playing means a lack of income via the clubhouse.
Mansergh admitted that the club was losing out on “significant revenue” – the result of cancellations of both senior and junior games, along with big events such as their summer tournament and presentation nights.
However, Mansergh was also quick to praise the fabulous support from the junior’s parents.
“[They} have continued with monthly standing orders, despite their kids having no action, and we’ve had some amazing gestures from ex-players and locals offering donations to help keep the money coming in.”
Added to this is the relief from the government grant, a Sport England award and a pitch grant from the Football Foundation he admits this has helped. “It fills that financial hole and allows us to keep investing in the facilities for the benefit of all that use the club.”
With the club entering it’s 50th Anniversary this year, the celebrations have been postponed due to Covid-19, but Mansergh reassured: “When we can get together again, everyone involved in the journey of CCFC will be celebrating.”