01:30PM, Tuesday 15 June 2021
Alan Devonshire has admitted he won't get much of a rest during the off-season, as he plots to bring in the right kind of players and characters to improve Maidenhead United once again next season.
The Magpies boss, who has signed a new contract that will keep him at York Road until 2024, admits it’s becoming increasingly difficult to financially compete with some of the division’s bigger clubs, but it’s a challenge he enjoys, and he wants to edge the club forward, year on year.
“I like to try and get a bit of a rest, but we won't have it,” he said.
“It's five weeks where we have got to get players in. Players leave, they move on like they have done, so it's a very busy time for me.
“I wouldn't say we've got pulling power because we've still got a small budget.
“We did quite well last year, and we want to try and improve. It's going to be very difficult because there are a lot of clubs with a lot more money than us. But listen, that's the challenge.
“We'll see. We've got the new ground in a couple of years so that's something to look forward to. But we've got to realise that we've got to take it one year at a time, one season at a time and make sure we have another good season coming up.”
Josh Coley’s move to League 2 Exeter City was confirmed last week and several other key players are tipped to move on this summer, leaving Devonshire and chief scout Lee Devonshire, his son, with another rebuild to replenish the squad. However, far from bemoaning the turnover, Devonshire is delighted that players get the chance to prove themselves in the football league and says he gets ‘a buzz’ from giving players a helping hand into the professional game.
Sam Barratt, Harry Pritchard and Max Kilman, who moved from the Magpies to Premier League club Wolves, have all progressed under Devonshire’s watch and it remains a key reason why a club of Maidenhead’s stature are able to attract players, and maybe even steal a few from under the noses of league rivals.
“It’s funny how they go and play in the topflight and they still phone me and call me ‘the gaffer’.
“It’s nice, you must be doing something right.
“Listen, if I can help them in any way then that’s my buzz to be fair. I get a lot of satisfaction knowing I’ve helped a kid get onto better things with the knowledge I’ve learnt over the years.”
Reece Smith, a United academy graduate who forced his way into the first team in the final weeks of the season, scoring a beautiful first senior goal in the final match of the season at Boreham Wood, is another player who Devonshire likes the look of and feels could have a bright future.
He said: “I think over the years, I’ve helped quite a lot of boys.
“I wouldn’t say that we're similar,” he said. “He’s got a lot to prove on what I’ve done. But, at the end of the day, the kid is just the way he is.
“How slight he is, when I was 19, I was very similar in stature.
“He plays off the left aswell, that’s his best position which mine was too.
“I look over the years, really now over the last few years at Maidenhead - Sam Barratt is a left winger who went into the pro game, I know he’s back out. Harry Pritchard is a left winger; Josh Coley is a left winger, and I was a left winger so that must have helped in some ways.”
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