Harrison puts pen to paper

The Director of Football at The New Saints, Craig Harrison, has put pen to paper on a new long term contract with The New Saints Football Club. Having joined from Airbus UK the Gateshead born Harrison has guided his team to two Welsh Premier League titles and a Welsh Cup triumph in his time at Park Hall.


The former Middlesbrough defender was understandably very happy to have agreed the deal and said, ‘It has been fantastic since I have been here and we have won the League twice, the Welsh Cup and I have had two fantastic experiences in the UEFA Champions League. I am enjoying my development as a coach and as a manager and I feel that is just as important to be enjoying the people you are working with. I am also really enjoying working with the chairman as well as all of the players and they are, without doubt, the most important ingredients of any Football Club.’


Harrison, who joined The Saints after an impressive stint with The Wingmakers, went on to point out that there are some great players at the Football Club and that by extending his contract, the plan won’t alter, ‘We have some great players with great attitudes and I really enjoy working with all of the players on a daily basis. Signing the contract won’t change anything in terms of the plan and I am more driven than ever to succeed. Carl Darlington worked with me at Airbus and we devised a plan when I joined the club and for me it was never a short term plan because I feel as though if you only do short term planning, then you only get short term results. We had a plan that worked out fantastically well in the first six months by winning both the League and the Cup and the following year we stayed on course by winning another League title. We wont be changing anything and we will keep pushing forward with the plan that we have put in place.’


The former Crystal Palace defender then spoke about what the contract means to him off the field, ‘Football is a very up an down industry and I have been part of a professional Football Club since I was 14 years old. Therefore it is always nice to have a bit of stability but the club on a whole is in a very stable place and it is a great environment to work in. However, winning games and results is what it is all about.  It is a great commitment from myself to the football club and it is a great commitment that the club has given to me. I work hard every single day which everyone at the club already knows and I appreciate the work that people do at the club too.’


The Director of Football then revealed that the contract has been near enough tied up for the past few weeks and that he is delighted with how close his relationship with his staff is, ‘The contract has been agreed for the past few weeks but we have got it done this week and I am really happy. Obviously this has been a hectic time over the last few months with the Champions League and we have sorted out the finer details this week. This time of the season is much more structured with a game every weekend and that allows me to sort out training accordingly. The staff at the club are also great and I enjoy having a close relationship with all of them. Carl, Dave, Bernie and Gord are all employed because of how good they are and off the back of that, we have all developed friendships.’


After retiring from football aged 24, Harrison never thought he would become a coach or even a manager, ‘From when I was 24 until I was 28, I probably couldn’t have thought of anything worse than being a coach but time is a healer and I started to work a little bit with the Academy at Middlesbrough. From there I met my current partner and I got involved in a local team from Cheshire. From taking training one night a week, I then ended up at Airbus UK before joining The Saints. I quite enjoy coaching and I hope to be on my Pro licence next year, having already done my C, B and A licences during the last three years. In terms of the coaching, the big pull for me was Carl Darlington. Carl came to work for me at Airbus and up until that my point I never really thought coaching was so important. He is the assistant director at the Welsh FA and he is very good. Thanks to Carl I have now embraced coaching and I am a lot more forward thinking than I ever thought I would be. Carl and I have become good friends from work colleagues.’