Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
Wayne Benn says Frickley Athletic’s dramatic opening day win at Maltby Main has brought an instant feel-good factor back to the club.
Lee Bennett hit the winner in the last minute, curtailing the slide which resulted in the club’s relegation to Step 5
It was a brilliant start, especially considering Benn was appointed later than other managers and had to build a side from scratch.
“I think it was just nice to see smiles on faces because they haven’t had a lot to smile about, certainly over the last few months of last season and probably longer than that,” Benn told Non League Yorkshire.
“There’s been huge positivity around the appointment and the pre-season friendlies and performances and I can’t speak highly enough of how positive everyone has been about things.
“It was important to try and build on that by starting well. There’s no better way to start than getting three points.
“I think it is a great effort from everybody.
“(Because it is a new side) it could have gone the other way and taken us a few weeks to get off the mark.
“I think it is testament to the work we have done and the recruitment we have done and we have a good set of boys.
“There’s a togetherness and team spirit starting to build.
“It is great to get that win and it can only do wonders for confidence.
“It shows people that whilst we are behind some, we’re not a million miles away.”
Benn’s feet are still firmly on the ground though as it is only the beginning of a long project.
“We’re not daft, we know there’s a lot of hard work ahead of us to get us where we want to be,” he said.
“I’m not here to accept mediocrity, we want to be a very good side eventually.
“We’re putting the foundations in place to do that but that’s a long process and it will take time.
“The boys who are with us now might not stay with us and there may be tweaks as we go along like with most squads.
“There will be ups and downs in the early parts of the season but I do believe we’re a club who will go from strength to strength as the weeks go by.
“You’ve interviewed me enough times to know I’m not one for making predictions so I’m not going to say I think we’ll finish top six or bottom six.
“With such difficulties circumstances I think our first focus is to stabilise everything and build on the positivity and try and build some momentum to get the fans back on side.”
Benn also praised one of his assistants Rudy Funk, the former Scarborough Athletic chief, who played a key role in the win at Maltby.
“I have to say Rudy did a great job with them in training during the week leading up to the season,” he said.
“Both Andy (Hayward) and I were away.
“He’s done a great job in getting them organised and he did some defensive and offensive organisational stuff with them.
“Fair play and credit to Rudy there and fair play to the players for taking it on board.
“We’re had to look at so many players in pre-season and we have had different players turning up for every session, trying to do any pattens of play or anything organisational-wise has been really difficult.”