Former Burnley youth team captain takes charge at Shawbridge

New Clitheroe FC boss David Lynch is willing to bet that the Blues will be the fittest team in the BetVictor NPL North West Division next term.

By Dan Black
Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 12:30 pm
New Clitheroe manager David Lynch
New Clitheroe manager David Lynch

The former Burnley youth team captain will be a familiar face to many at Shawbridge having served as Simon Garner’s skipper for a couple of seasons from 2014.

Supporters will be well aware of the midfielder’s hard-working mentality and desire to succeed during his first spell in the Ribble Valley and he’ll be doing everything in his power to ensure that those qualities rub off on his squad.

In his second season, when donning the armband, Lynch helped the club push for the play-offs during a campaign that resulted in a seventh-place finish.

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Midfielder David Lynch pictured during his time at Turf Moor

“Anybody who knows me knows that I’m a winner,” he said. “I don’t accept anything less than 100%, though I know there’ll be times when we lose. As long as my players give 100% I can accept that. I won’t be bringing any players in that aren’t hungry to win.

“It’s as simple as that because I’ve always been a winner as a player.

“We all know Clitheroe’s budget is never going to be the biggest in the league, but I’ve been at clubs where the ambition has been to win every single football match, whoever we’re playing.

“We’re going to be on the front foot, we’re going to be aggressive, we’re going to go after every single team that we play against and we’re not going to be scared of anybody.

David Lynch captained the Blues for two seasons under Simon Garner

Lynch, who has been appointed in a player-manager capacity, added: “If we can get the few additions that I’m looking at, the experienced players down the spine of the team, to compliment the young lads, we’ll press the life out of the opposition.

“We’ll be full of energy, we’ll have legs, we’ll get in their faces and I can assure you that we’ll do everything we can to try to become the fittest team in the league.

“Pre-season will be tough and I’ve already told a lot of the lads that. There will be no team that’s fitter than us and that was me as a player in a nutshell.

“We’ll never get outfought and we’ll never get out-scrapped. There will be bumps and scrapes along the way, but one thing my team will never be accused of is a lack of fight or a lack of desire.”

The former Alfreton Town midfielder hasn’t been off the phone since taking the reins last week as he looks to put his own stamp on the group.

However, he made it clear that he won’t be ringing the changes in the Ribble Valley following the positive contribution his predecessor Phil Brown had made.

Lynch is committed to keeping the majority of the squad in place, but he’s intent on bringing in some new additions to strengthen what he’s inherited.

The National League North winner with Halifax Town has already secured two of his top targets and he’s hoping his wish-list will be complete in time for the new season.

Lynch said: “This opportunity has come about while I’ve been furloughed so it allows me to hit the ground running in terms of speaking to last year’s squad and

hearing their intentions about coming back.

“It’s enabled me to get a feel for their character straight away and has also given me time to get stuck into a few targets who I trust, I know inside out and who want to come to Clitheroe for all the right reasons.

“I’m looking to keep the majority of the lads and continue the good work done by Phil Brown. I want to pay tribute to him for the stability he’s brought to the club. I respect him for that.

“The two main targets that I was going after are already over the line so that’s done. They will be two very good additions, which will vastly improve last season’s squad in my opinion, so that’s a boost.

“We’ve already got the ball rolling in terms of recruitment, I’ve been non-stop on the phone, because I’m trying to get us prepared for when the new season does start.

“The two lads have got massive experience in the National League North.

“They’re both local lads so they’re massive coups for the club so, with me on board, we’ve got three lads who have been playing at a higher level recently.

“There are four of five players who could really strengthen us in terms of experience. I don’t really want any more than five because I think we’ve got to respect last season’s squad and they’ll all be given an opportunity.”

This opportunity represents a significant step in Lynch’s career. While it’s a step up from his previous managerial post, the central midfielder politely declined a number of offers to prolong his playing days at the top end of non-league football.

Lynch, who has also played for Burscough, Altrincham and Southport, will be joined by former England Under-21s international Chris Holland (assistant manager) and former club chairman Carl Garner (Director of Football).

“If I felt that I wasn’t ready for it or I felt that it couldn’t work then I would never have accepted this opportunity,” he said.

“I think I’m prepared for it; I’ve been managing a senior Sunday League team for the last five seasons. I’ve got that experience of dealing with men and managing them.

“I won the Lancashire Cup with Crown Paints FC, we’ve finished as semi-finalists and runners-up in the competition, we’ve won the Blackburn League three times.

“I know it’s not a semi-professional level, but some of the players in that team were former semi-professional footballers.

“We ran it professionally and I don’t think that can be down-played in terms of giving me experience of management. I’m not going into it fresh, it’s not my first job of standing up and motivating a dressing room, I’m not shy, I can get my message across so I think it’s prepared me.”

Lynch, who will keep Charlie Russell on as club captain, added: “I know there’ll be a few eyebrows raised with me dropping down from the Conference North, but if anything I think that’s a show of intent.

“I was willing to sacrifice a good contract offer at that level plus two contract offers in the league above to come and do it.

“It’s a club that I love, I’m a huge believer that if I hadn’t have gone to Clitheroe I wouldn’t have gone on to do what I’ve done in non-league football.

“I’ve always had a special affiliation with the club.

“I’m looking forward to it and I’m delighted to be given the opportunity. I think my passion for the club came across in the interview and I can’t wait to get started.

“It feels like I’m 18 again, going into Burnley as a first year pro, I’ve got that excitement back.”