Justin Merritt is predicting exciting times lie ahead for Oxford City after he was appointed as the club’s general manager.
Merritt, 39, was previously in charge of City and helped them to promotion via the play-offs to the Southern League Premier Division, before resigning two games into the 2009-10 campaign to concentrate on his business interests.
But Merritt, who has also managed Witney Town, said he had no hesitation in taking on a new role at City, which will see him work with Enrique Guillen, who has been promoted to head coach.
The Spaniard previously coached under previous manager Mike Ford, who was sacked last month.
“Enrique will be running the team and I will be supporting him with ideas and player recruitment,” said Merritt.
“But he will be working primarily with the players.
“We’ll be working together – he’s a very enthusiastic guy. He coaches our futsal team and is also a coach at Oxford United’s Centre of Excellence.
“I understand you can’t transfer everything from futsal across to the 11-a-side game, but we may bring it in as part of our training.
“We want to bring an exciting, attacking brand of football to the club, but we’re not unrealistic – we want to be successful in the league, so you have to get the balance right.”
Enrique Guillen joins Justin Merritt in Oxford City’s management team
He added: “Some people may have wished for someone who has managed at a higher level, but I feel I have enough knowledge and enthusiasm to achieve what we want.
“I have been out of football for a while and have had a rest, but I’ve got some ideas and I have also been working in the industry as a FA educator.
“I feel I have learned a lot and have matured as a person.
“The role is not directly being the manager. I’m going to have a more analytical role.”
Asked about the club’s ambitions for next season, he added: “I think (a promotion bid) is a very difficult one to call, it depends on how strong the other teams are in the league.
“The benchmark for City will be an improvement on last year and to develop a style that will encourage people to come and watch us at Court Place Farm.”
Merritt emphasised that while Ford was no longer boss, he still had a vital role to play.
“I’ve been talking to Mike and he’s been able to advise me on how the players that were here did last season,” he added.
“We want to carry on the work that Mike did here. He did a good job, but the club felt it was time to freshen it up at the top.”
2:00pm Thursday 3rd September 2015
IT was a case of damage limitation at Silverstone on Sunday in the pouring rain.
10:40am Thursday 3rd September 2015
Williams Martini Racing have confirmed that the partnership of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas will be retained for a third season in the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship.
9:30am Thursday 3rd September 2015
RUPERT Evans knows what it is takes to win the Minor Counties Championship as an Oxfordshire player, but admits beating Cumberland in this year’s final as coach would be just as special.
9:10am Thursday 3rd September 2015
MICHAEL Appleton is happy none of his players were nominated for a monthly award as he seeks to keep Oxford United under the radar.
9:00am Thursday 3rd September 2015
Oxfordshire ended sixth out of seven teams in the Home Counties League when they lost 132-100 to Bucks at Bletchley in their final game of the campaign.
8:00am Thursday 3rd September 2015
Woodstock Harrier James Bolton leads Abingdon AC’s Paul Fernandez by just one point ahead of tonight's final round of the Motavation Series in Oxford.
7:00am Thursday 3rd September 2015
Elizabeth Dorey represented England for the first time at the European Junior Touch Championships at Nottingham – just missing out on glory.
7:00am Thursday 3rd September 2015
Some of the county’s brightest young sporting talents are looking for glory in Manchester as they compete in the Sainsbury’s School Games, which get under way today.
More than 1,600 school-age athletes from around the country will descend on Manchester for the four-day multi-sport event – 15 of whom will be looking to bring a medalback to Oxfordshire.
Six of those will be competing in hockey, with Jona Boender (Abingdon), Niall Devaney (Oxford), Finn Dunleavy (Woodstock), Louisa Heathcote (Banbury) and Storm Sunderland (Deddington) all representing England sides, while Witney’s James Palmer has been selected for Wales.
Bloxham School pupil Heathcote, who is 17, will be representing England Girls White.
She is relishing the chance to shine saying: “I’m so happy to have been selected.
“My aim is to enjoy myself, but also play the best hockey I can throughout the tournament.”
Four Oxfordshire youngsters will be competing in athletics, which takes place tomorrow at the 6,500-capacity Manchester Regional Arena.
Luisa Chantler-Edmond (Headington), Emily Thompson (Banbury), Sam Way (Chipping Norton) and Ryan Craze (Didcot) have been selected to represent the Midlands.
Bicester duo Kieran Bird and Thomas Thornley and Faringdon’s Emily Nesbit will all represent England East in swimming.
Bicester Blue Fins swimmer Thornley, 15, said: “I feel very privileged to have been asked to compete in the Sainsbury’s School Games.
“It will be a great opportunity for me to develop as a swimmer and as an athlete overall.
“I can’t wait to get there!”
Oxford’s Saskia Freitas-Shoeffel will feature for England cadet women in volleyball.
And Benj Scheider, from Abingdon, completes the strong contingent from Oxfordshire with his selection for the England fencing team.
8:00am Wednesday 2nd September 2015
JAMES Roberts has been earmarked for a loan move away from Oxford United, but head coach Michael Appleton was quick to make it clear the striker has a bright future at the club.
6:08pm Wednesday 2nd September 2015
Bob Allsworth took two wins as Vikings whitewashed West Oxford Democrats Club.