New Frickley manager aiming to learn from role models

John Stancliffe with his predecessor as Frickley Athletic manager Spencer Fearn. Picture: Onion Bag Photos
John Stancliffe with his predecessor as Frickley Athletic manager Spencer Fearn. Picture: Onion Bag Photos

John Stancliffe is not short of role models to learn from as he steps into football management for the first time with Frickley Athletic.

After being assistant to Spencer Fearn with the Blues and before that with him at Maltby Main he has learned plenty about football at Frickley’s level and how his predecessor went about his business.

As a player – a goalkeeper for Harrogate Town, Guiseley and Scarborough – he played under some well known footballing names. And then there is his father, Paul, a Football League defender who racked up almost 700 career appearances, playing for Sheffield United, Rotherham United, Wolverhampton Wanderers and York City.

John intends to use bits of what he has picked up from each in a bid to make himself the best manager he can be and Frickley can be the big winners.

“I learned a lot from Mick Wadsworth, an excellent manager at Scarborough,” John told the Express.

“Glyn Snodin was my youth team manager at Scarborough as well and he went on to be a coach at Leeds, Bradford, Sunderland and Northern Ireland.

“Bobby Davison at Guiseley was good too. They were all well known within the game and you do pick up their different styles.

“Of course there’s my dad and I pick up information from him as well. He had a great career in football and now is in charge of the under 18s at Doncaster. I’ve got a mentor in my dad to speak to, but there’s all the other managers as well. You pick up things and you just mold them into the way you want management to be.

“I don’t think any manager, even Pep Guardiola, will say he’s the finished article. You are always learning and that’s what I will do and I will be like a sponge when I get chance to speak to other managers.

“It’s important I do listen and seek advice because that’s what all good managers will do.”

Stancliffe was happy as number two at Westfield Lane, but after being given the opportunity to take over as the manager, on an interim basis initially, following Fearn’s resignation he aims to put his own stamp on things at Frickley.

He said: “I worked with Spencer for three-and-a-half years and he was just an absolute animal in the way he learned about football in different styles and the different techniques. Every day was a learning day with him.

“So I’m going to have learned some things from Spencer, but I’d like to put my own stamp on the first team and this football club and I have to find my own way of managing it.

“If you spoke to the players they will probably say I’m a bit different to Spencer. I’ve got my own style and hopefully it will be a winning style.

“It’s my first job in football management so I will learn as I go and that’s what I said to the players - we’re going on this journey together, we’ll learn together, we’ll win together and we’ll lose together.

“Hopefully we will win more than we actually lose and I must say they must be reacting and adapting well to my management because the performances have been excellent if we haven’t got the results we deserved in the games so far.

As for the playing style, which quickly developed into a thrilling, attacking one under Fearn, the new boss is hoping the team remains entertaining, while tightening up a little at the back.

He added: “I’d like to think we can continue to be an entertaining side.

“One thing we’ve got to look at is the number of goals we’ve conceded, but it’s difficult with the strikers we’ve got – Jacob Hazel, James Gray when fit, Sam Cable coming in, Connor Smith with his pace - it’s difficult to not want to score goals.

“Last season it was unbelievable the amount of goals we got. We have to be realistic and say we may not repeat that every season so we’ve got to look at shoring it up at the back and not always rely on the goal scorers.

“Every player, all the greats, has the odd off-day and that’s when our defence has to stand up and say ‘our strikers are not having the best game so it’s up to us now, we’ve got to make sure we got a point or three points from this game’.

“I’ll always want my strikers to shoot on sight. I’m not going to change that. We are going to be looking to be attacking, but there is a lot of work to do with the defence to make sure they don’t just rely on the strikers getting five if we concede four.

“It’s important that we get the 1-0 victories like we did at Worksop.”