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Ossett improving as chairman stands down to take support role PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Walsh   
Thursday, 22 October 2020

phil smith.pngIf there was any doubt about Ossett United improving after a nightmare start to the season it came on Tuesday night.

The Yorkshire side travelled to unbeaten Marske and came back with a deserved point from a 1-1 draw, which had followed their first win of the season, 3-2 at home to Widnes.

This little unbeaten run followed six straight defeats -five in the League and one in the FA Trophy – during which time they were rock bottom.

Workington will travel to Ossett on Saturday when manager Danny Grainger has acknowledged the progress being made by their hosts and knows his side will have to work hard for anything they get.

But Grainger has stressed that Tuesday’s fine, thrilling late win over Clitheroe will count for nothing if they slip up in Yorkshire.

It appears that injuries greatly handicapped United in the opening weeks of the season but they are almost back to a full complement.

But there was a change at board level announced today when chairman Phil Smith (pictured) said he was standing down from the top role.

In a statement he said: “It has been an absolute honour to be chairman of this great club in this fantastic town and despite the roller-coaster of emotions and sleepless nights over the last two and a half years I won’t change that sentiment and never will.

“However, the time has come to make some changes to the executive board and these changes will ensure further stability and future growth of Ossett United.

“At a time when uncertainty and worry is at the doorstep of non-league clubs, we face it head-on and will battle through in true Ossett United spirit and come out of the other side even stronger.

“With me now living out of the area and having family commitments that see me travel a lot, I am no longer able to attend every single game.

“I truly believe a chairman should be front and centre on match days, at board meetings and at other key events. For a while now the day-to-day role of OUFC Chairman has been carried out by someone else whilst I have focussed more on other specific tasks and this has worked very well which has led me to be extremely happy in suggesting these changes to the group.

“At the end of the month I will be stepping down as chairman and handing the reins to James Rogers, who without doubt should be the natural successor to the role. James is a born leader who has been carrying out many of the jobs associated with a chairman already and is someone who is no stranger to running a football club.

“His tireless efforts often go unseen by many and his passion for football in this town are second to none. Both he and Dawn care so much and do so much for the club and recognising that we are all truly thankful.

“I am not leaving the club. We have a fantastic team and I want to continue to be a part of it. I was especially pleased when James specifically asked if I will stay on the Board as vice chairman - and of course I will, I love this club and anything I can do to continue to support OUFC and deliver our ambitions I will.

“So, at the end of the month I will be officially moving to the role of vice chairman and focussing my time on things that I can have as much high impact on as possible.

“I will continue to look after commercial activities and work with our sponsors to maintain a relationship that we promised from the outset. Secondly, I will be overseeing football operations and how we further develop our on-pitch activities across all of our teams.

“I have really enjoyed working closely with Benno, we speak four or five times a day on a quiet day and over ten times on a normal one! My primary passion is to make sure we have the right players and facilities in place in order for the management to do their job and push this club on.

“At this point I’d like to thank Lee Broadbent for his knowledge and support in this role and we are happy to report after a shocking first two weeks of injuries we are fixing that problem as fast as we can and this can be seen in the last two fantastic results.”

Smith was originally brought in as chief executive to the new Ossett United club in 2018. He has a wealth of sports administration experience working nine years in New York with the Yankees, New York Red Bulls and Nike followed by four seasons at Manchester United.

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