Ben ready for new challenge at Dalton United
West Lancashire League Division Two outfit Dalton United have announced Ben Shirley is to take over the management of their first team from the start of the 2021/22 season.
Shirley has spent all of his coaching days at near neighbours Askam United, leading the villagers to promotion to West Lancashire League Division one in 2014, as winners of the Second Division.
Recently Shirley has been managing Askam’s reserve team alongside Jon Byers and it is here, he says, he got the bug to get back into running a first team at a higher level again, adding:
“I’ve coached football in Askam since I was sixteen, and have managed every team at the club in that time.”
“Askam’s a fantastic club, and I will always be grateful to everyone for the opportunities they’ve given me in the sport that I love, and I hope that both teams continue to do well. That said, the time feels right now to take on a new challenge.”
“I’ve had a brilliant couple of years getting back into it at Askam. Thanks to these couple of years I’ve got the itch again, and I have always looked to Dalton as a very well run club. I can’t wait to get started, and I’m very much looking forward to the challenge ahead.”
The announcement comes after previous first team manager Stuart Rutherford stood down when the West Lancashire League season was brought to an end owing to the Coronavirus pandemic. Club stalwarts Ian Callison and Phil Rigg took the reigns, joined by Darren Barker in the dugout. The trio guided Dalton to the quarter finals of the West Lancashire League’s supplementary club competition, topping a group made up of higher division opponents in the progress. Ben praised his predecessors saying:
“I am inheriting a good squad and a great set of lads. I want to thank Stuart, Ian, Phil, and Darren for everything they’ve done. Everything is in place for me to come in and do well thanks to them.”
In what is another new addition to the club’s coaching set up, well respected local coach Lindon Cooper is also making the move across Dalton to join up with Shirley at Railway Meadow. Cooper leaves Crooklands Casuals after managing youth teams, and the reserve team there for the last two seasons. Lindon will join Darren Thomas in running Dalton’s reserve team next season.
Dalton chairman Graham Bickerstaff welcomed the new additions, and said, ‘ First of all I want to echo what Ben has said and thank Stuart, Phil and Ian for their contribution to the 1st team over the last few seasons, everyone on the committee is grateful for the effort they put in. Looking to the future, the addition of Ben and Lindon to join the two Darren’s, Barker and Thomas, is a huge boost for us, were all excited about what the future holds for the club.
Training for the 2021-22 season starts on Tuesday 22nd June at 5.45pm at Railway Meadow, then every Tuesday and Thursday at 6.00pm. Ben and his team would like to encourage all old and new players to attend.