FC Halifax Town: New management team a great combination, says Bosomworth

Actions from FC Halifax Town v Cheltenham at the Shay, Halifax. Jim Harvey (left) and Darren Kelly
Actions from FC Halifax Town v Cheltenham at the Shay, Halifax. Jim Harvey (left) and Darren Kelly

The combined abilities of new management team Darren Kelly and Jim Harvey was a deciding factor in their appointment, according to Town chairman David Bosomworth.

The combined abilities of new management team Darren Kelly and Jim Harvey was a deciding factor in their appointment, according to Town chairman David Bosomworth.

The duo took charge of the club last week after leaving League One Oldham just nine games into the season.

That was Kelly’s first job in management, although he was a coach at Sunderland’s academy, but Harvey has previously been at the helm with Morecambe, Forest Green, Chester and Stalybridge.

Halifax had more than 150 applicants to succeed Neil Aspin, with the board drawing up an initial list of about 40 names which was trimmed down to around 26 who were given an initial interview.

Seven, including Kelly, were then given second interviews, with the decision being taken last Thursday.

Bosomworth said: “We wanted to bring somebody with good coaching experience to the job.

“Darren’s very well qualified, very keen and an up-and-coming young manager.

“He’s done his bit at Sunderland’s academy and at Oldham.

“We felt that we’d had some excellent candidates but the combination of Darren and Jim, being an experienced manager himself and someone who understands non-league really well, was one that really appealed to us.

“There were two or three other candidates who were quite close but we felt very comfortable with Darren and Jim.”

All seven candidates who were given a second interview had to do presentations, and Bosomworth was impressed by the standard of the applicants.

“Darren gave a presentation to say what the rest of the season would look like under him and how he would approach the job.

“A lot of the applicants, including Darren, had already seen the team play.

“One of them had seen the team five times, so they were all very thorough in their preparations.

“Until we get to April, early May, we won’t know what the outcome is.

“But I know the board, the management team and the players will all be totally committed to getting us in the right place.”

Kelly was appointed on a deal until the end of the season, with an option to extend the contract, but Bosomworth has not set any targets the manager has to achieve to earn a longer stay at the helm.

The Town chairman stressed the first priority this season will be survival, and insists the board will provide the funds for Kelly to strengthen the squad.

He said: “There will be funds available if Darren wants to add to the squad.

“It’ll have to be loan players for starters and then we’ll look at it during the window, but the players you want then aren’t necessarily available.

“We’ll do what we have to and hopefully the contacts Darren and Jim have got will help us with that.

“There’s a lot of work to do on fitness, structure and shape of the team, how it functions as a unit.”

Bosomworth says he is open to the possibility of Town increasing the number of days they train, an idea Kelly has revealed he would be keen to explore.

But the Halifax chairman is preaching patience with his new manager.

He said: “Rome isn’t going to be built in a day.

“The fans are going to have to be patient but at the same time get behind the team.

“There’s a lot of work to do on the training pitch.

“If they do bring some players in they’ve got to integrate them into the squad.

“But I know they’ll be working really hard. We all want the same thing.

“Ideally we’d want promotion this season but obviously we’re not going to get that at the moment.

“We need to think about staying in the division and building from there.

“We have to be realistic, we’ve made a horrendous start - 14 games, one win, it’s not great.

“That’s relegation form and we have to reverse that trend.”

Bosomworth was keen to act quickly in changing his manager and is hopeful doing so will mean The Shaymen can drag themselves away from the relegation zone.

He added: “If we’ve made the change early enough and can bring the appropriate players in to effect a change within a system that works, then hopefully relegation shouldn’t be an issue.

“But if we haven’t resolved things by the end of April, then we’ll be getting very worried.

“Hopefully we’ve given ourselves enough time to be able to redress the situation and start moving up the table.”

The Town chairman admitted the 7-1 thrashing by Cheltenham last weekend was an awful experience for the club, but feels he was justified in changing his manager given Halifax’s start to the campaign.

He added: “Nobody likes a 7-1 defeat, and certainly not at home.

“But at the end of the day it’s better we see that now, warts-and-all, than waiting until February and March and thinking ‘we’ve got to do something about it’.

“The league table doesn’t lie. When you’re second-bottom and have been for much of the season then you have to say things are not right.

“We’ve got to try and find a formula that makes it right and gets us enough points to stay in the division. That’s what we’re going to try and do.”