Belford: “It’s a long-term project”

New Hinckley AFC manager Courtney Belford sees the club as a long-term project to “wake a sleeping giant”.

The 29-year-old was appointed as the club’s new boss on Friday following the departure of John Ramshaw, to follow in his dad Dale’s footsteps as a Hinckley manager.

It extends the family connection with Hinckley AFC to a third member, with brother Ty also having played for the club.

And having cut his teeth as manager at Nuneaton Griff and had a spell on the coaching staff at Romulus, Belford knows the Midland League and the area well.

As such, he feels he can offer the stability that the club has struggled with over the last couple of seasons. He said: “It is a long-term project, and that’s how I sold it to the Board.

“Most people know that the budget isn’t the same as it has been, but by bringing experienced players in the right positions alongside the younger players means we can give them a really good pathway.

“It’ll be transitional and won’t happen overnight but we’re buying into a long-term vision.”

He already has an idea of the sort of players he would like to bring to the club, and has started having conversations with a couple of key targets.

Now the season has finished, Belford is wasting no time in trying to secure the players he wants for next season.

“The club’s a massive draw at this level, but I want players to buy into what we’re doing here and make it a club you want to play for.

“We need the right type of players, a  young and enthusiastic squad who will give everything and get that connection back with the fans.”

And, as someone who knows the club, through his family connections, Belford has as strong a desire as anyone to get the club back up the table.

“Hinckley’s a club I’ve always had an affiliation with, through my dad and my brother. I was at the club in the youth team and I’ve always kept an eye on the results.

“It’s a massive job for me. The Board have shown faith in me, so I’ve got to give that back.

“We need that connection back with the fans, and ultimately we want to finish in a better place than we did last season.”

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