Pic: Altrincham FC
MATT DOUGHTY has given his Altrincham squad a simple message: The season starts now.
Alty are struggling at the bottom of the National League North table following relegation out of Non-League’s top flight last season.
Summer appointment Neil Young left at the end of August and replacement Jim Harvey lasted three months before he was sacked at the beginning of December.
Former player Doughty – affectionately known as ‘Buzz’ – took over as caretaker having assisted Harvey, and on New Year’s Day was confirmed as boss until the end of the season.
Robbie Lawton and legendary ex-Alty manager Graham Heathcote are assisting the 35-year-old, who says it’s time to move on from a torrid 2016.
“I’m very proud,” Doughty told The NLP. “Neil Young has won leagues, including this one, but it didn’t work out. They went for experience and they don’t come any more experienced than Jim Harvey. That didn’t work out.
“So why not go for a young, hungry manager who loves the club. Why not? That’s why I’ve got Robbie Lawton in and Graham is there to help me as well. Everyone pulls in the same direction at Altrincham.
“The first thing I said was, ‘I don’t want any negativity around the club’. It’s the last thing I need and the last thing the club and players need.
“We’ll give everything. It won’t be without commitment, desire or pride to wear the badge. It’s my job to get the belief back in the changing room, which I’ve done. Everyone who I played with or under will tell you the same – the dressing room is my domain.
“My main aim was to get people motivated. The changing room is a totally different place to when Jim and Neil were here.
“The club have given me time now. I know what we’ve got to do. I’ve told the lads that 2016 has gone, we don’t want it back. The season starts now.”
Doughty, who is also a coach at Everton’s Academy, has a strong rapport with the fans after a successful playing spell, where he helped the club to promotion to Step 1. But he’s already learning about life as a manager.
“It takes over your life – in a good way,” he said. “I’ve not had much sleep because I’ve been getting phone calls from the physio, other managers and agents! But I want to be a manager and that’s all part of it.”