With TNS Ladies enjoying a very good first half to their season, earlier today following yet another victory, we caught up with the man at helm, as we interviewed Andy Williams.
TNS: Andy, whoever said time flies wasn’t joking and we’re now halfway through the season. More of that later though but for now, tell us how you ended up at TNS Ladies.
Andy: Without giving you my life history I’ll give you the shortened version if that’s ok? I was working in an advisory capacity with the English Schools FA U15 girls’ international team but was itching to get back into the hot seat. I saw that the Ladies’ first team manager’s position was vacant, so having discussed the possibility with my family happily threw my hat in the ring. Having spoken to the chair (Ian Brazier) on two occasions it seemed a natural fit; I was privileged to be offered the job.
TNS: You have a wealth of experience in the game – and not just in women’s football either – but how much did you know about TNS Ladies before taking on the position?
Andy: I knew more of the men’s set up than the women’s that’s for sure. I am an avid follower of football and of players I’ve previously coached, so I had crossed paths with Park Hall several times before in my ESFA capacity so knew of TNS and their players Paul Harrison, Jon Routledge and Wes Fletcher. I knew little of the women’s team, only their recent history and the changes that had occurred.
TNS: The team has certainly got off to a good start under your leadership. Have the results so far been what you expected or have you been pleasantly surprised?
Andy: Let me start by paying credit to the players who have bought into everything we are introducing them to, their passion has been faultless. With the correct environment and a willingness to engage, the results will always look after themselves. Things are stacking up nicely at the moment so let’s see how we do in the second half of the season but rest assured we will be looking for the players to push on.
TNS: With the season now at the halfway mark, looking back how much of a learning curve has it been?
Andy: As a coach you are always learning, that’s part of the joy. For the players I think it’s been more of a learning curve but you’d need to ask them. I am steadily passing on my game insight and principles of play in all phases of the game, which I think has left a few with a headache or two at times. But more importantly we are having fun together along the way.
TNS: Football is all about moving forward and so looking ahead to the remainder of the season, what changes can we expect to see to the overall set-up at TNS Ladies?
Andy: As we speak we are close to appointing a new Physio and I guess we will make another couple of signings as we seek to build momentum and that final push for silverware on the run-in. Ideally though we need more volunteers to help around match day and gaining vital sponsorship to help project us as a team, so I would encourage those interested to get in touch.
TNS: Ladies football at this level is self-supporting. With Oswestry not having the advantage that some clubs have in being close to areas of high population, how much of a challenge is it to attract players to continually improve the squad?
Andy: All coaches aspire to add value to their athletes by applying their philosophy and experience. Along with my coaching staff we hold a similar stance, a stance I was really clear about this issue when taking over in July; we were adamant that loyalty would be shown to those players already here.
We have worked hard at empowering the players, providing them with a deeper insight to the game, developing cohesive on field playing strategies, improving individual technique, and developing all aspects of fitness. As we speak we have only signed one new player to the squad from last season, Phoebe Davies, who scored her first goal today in her fourth appearance. So the results to this point are testament to the quality of the individuals in our squad. The improvement in performances, results and league position are the key indicators of how well things are going.
In attracting players, ultimately we want our performances and reputation to do our talking for us. If we get our coaching right the results will come, in turn this will attract attention and the interest of additional players. We want to create a club, a climate, and a style of play that inspires others to want to come and join us.
Finally, Andy, you’ve had some time to settle in and looking to the big picture now, where would you expect TNS Ladies to be in 5 years time?
Andy: I am really happy here; I feel as though I am in a quest with a brilliant group of people. My ambitions for the team and the club are as big as you can imagine, but for the moment we are focused purely on next weekend’s game away to Long Eaton.
TNS: Andy, many thanks for your time. It’s great to have you as part of the TNS set-up and we wish you, your staff, the players and everyone involved with TNS Ladies all the very best for the future.
Andy: And in return I’d like to thank you and all of those connected with TNS, including our wonderful group of fans, for making me feel so much at home.
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