Former Walsham assistant boss Fergus O'Callaghan gets the nod for vacant Haverhill Rovers manager role
Former Walsham-le-Willows assistant manager Fergus O’Callaghan will be the new first team boss of Haverhill Rovers, with the club set to announce the appointment today.
He replaces outgoing joint-managers Stuart Wardley and Dario Seminerio.
O’Callaghan’s role in the success of the ‘small village team’ in last season’s Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division – who eventually finished ninth – led to Trevor Newman’s right-hand man being the frontrunner for the top job.
He said he is ‘very excited’ by the opportunity, which will see him step from an assistant or head coach role into management boots for the first time, although he feels he has the experience to make the transition.
“If I’m honest, I would love to try to reproduce what we achieved at Walsham last season,” he said.
“If I’m goal-setting then I am already aiming for a mid-table position – the club finished 12th last season and I want the same, or better, again.
“I’m very excited by the role, it’s a great club with great facilities and I’m really liking their vision for the future.”
He confirmed that former Bury Town Under-18s manager James Bloomfield would be moving from Whitton United to join O’Callaghan as head coach in the dugout.
O’Callaghan is aware of the budget restraints at the Step 5 club and agrees with Rovers’ approach to developing players from within and on a youth development pathway.
“I’m not scared of having to hone players,” he said. “I will take the challenge head on and I’m looking forward to it.
“But I am also hunting for the right players to join us – nearly all the goalscorers went to higher-league clubs last season so we do need to strengthen the squad.
“And I would like to do this locally; I think there’s some really great players locally with a great attitude.”
He added that he wanted to ‘let the dust settle’ a little before making any big decisions for next season, while also letting the players have a break.
Haverhill Rovers chairman Ali Shulver echoed the sense of enthusiasm, as he told the Echo: “He’s got really good experience in bringing youth through the ranks and that’s something we are very keen on doing.
“We have been really impressed with what Walsham’s first team achieved last season and we’re very excited to be bringing someone in that was involved with that.
“What they did is the sort of thing we would like to see here – they are a small village club but, through the best use of their youth set-up, have done better than expected.
“We knew of him anyway, because of his work and Walsham took a lot of people by surprise with how well they did, so he was on our radar.
“The moment he applied, we knew we wanted to interview him. We’re very pleased to have him on board.”
O’Callaghan added that he would be keen to hear from any interested players and would be using his pre-season schedule to offer trials to anyone that wanted to ‘prove their worth’.
The club will announce its pre-season schedule in due course.