Forster marks new Athletic Era

hsb  Wetherby Athletic Manager Mark Forster.  (130708M5a)
hsb Wetherby Athletic Manager Mark Forster. (130708M5a)

New Wetherby Athletic boss Mark Forster intends to bring an expansive style of football to the Ings to continue the football education of the region’s rising stars.

Forster, who turned around a struggling Harrogate Railway Reserves last season, has taken over from Des English who stood down at the end of the last West Yorks campaign.

Alongside Railway, the 49-year-old has strong links with Harrogate Town and he hopes Athletic can be a haven for academy players to broaden their horizons.

The boss has already brought more than 10 new inexperienced faces to the club as he looks to build a techincally-gifted young side.

But he confirmed the club’s current players will be given a chance to shine over pre-season.

Forster said: “I am very excited about it. We have got some great players and Wetherby will have a team to be proud of.

“We really want to continue the experiment. Can we play great football and be successful?

“It’s now about winning and losing and not about developing. Players will need to have strength of character.

“I will pick the best team. That might not be the best players that are coming with me.

“Everybody is going to have to work hard to get into that team.”

Ripon City midfielder Joe Wilkes, Railway’s Tommy Lee and Sam Kellegher and young Town prodigies Jack Emmett and Jake Lofthouse are amongst the new arrivals at Athletic.

Forster is delighted with the talent he has acquired and wants them to challenge the league’s top sides Bardsey, Leeds City , Oxenhope Rec and Beeston St Anthony’s.

He said: “Tommy Lee is the best player to have come out of ‘Railway’s youth system.

“Jack is, pound for pound, the best winger I have ever seen. He is just something else.

“Jake is going to be the next Harrogate Town goalkeeper. He is as good as Craig MacGillivray was at that age. He just needs toughening up.”

Town boss Simon Weaver recommended Forster for the role after excelling with the club’s junior set-up.

“Simon said he thought his would be a good step up, to keep players together and keep them training,” added Forster, who led Railway reserves to only two defeats in 18 league games.

“It’s an ideal opportunity to keep everybody going.

“The pitch was a big draw for us. It’s the best football pitch in the league, if you can’t play football on that, you can’t play football anywhere.”

Forster has been joined by Richard Lawrence and Duncan McCarthy who both coached under him at ‘Railway.

Former boss English has taken over the club’s second team and backed his successor to succeed playing attractive football.

“We are really pleased to get Mark on board,” English said.

“His football philosophy fits what the clubs wants. There’s no pressure on him in terms of results.”

Forster added: “I love to see good football and I know that is something Des tried to instil last season.”

“I hope what comes out of it is a technically good team with a bit of steel.”

Athletic are still searching for a fourth team manager. Interested applicants should contact Claire Stubbs 07999 887235.