FOOTBALL: Merritt excited by City's future after taking over

Justin Merritt, Oxford City's new general manager

Justin Merritt, Oxford City's new general manager

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in Non League Football. Call me on 01865 425488

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.”

Oxford Mail:

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.”

RUGBY UNION: Veteran Ross to start in London Welsh’s Tigers test

Oxford Mail:

5:21pm Friday 21st November 2014

VETERAN fly half Gordon Ross will make his first Aviva Premiership start of the season when London Welsh host Leicester Tigers at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium on Sunday (3.15).

Oxford United boss eyes more Irish talent after Hoban signing

Oxford Mail:

2:00pm Friday 21st November 2014

MICHAEL Appleton is keen to explore further the talent pool on offer in Ireland following the signing of Patrick Hoban.

Interactive Oxford United big match preview spread

Oxford Mail:

1:50pm Friday 21st November 2014

Here's our match preview spread for Oxford United v AFC Wimbledon with links to all the stories to explore.

FOOTBALL: Oxford City sign Mamadou Fofana

Oxford Mail: Oxford City fc logo

11:37am Friday 21st November 2014

Oxford City have added to their multi-national squad by signing French midfielder Mamadou Fofana.

RUGBY UNION: London Welsh announce signing of Elliot Kear

Oxford Mail:

10:31am Friday 21st November 2014

LONDON Welsh have today announced the signing of Wales Rugby League international wing Elliot Kear from Bradford Bulls.

'The Hobanator' relishing return to England with Oxford United

Oxford Mail:

9:20am Friday 21st November 2014

NOT many players would pick Sky Bet League Two over the Champions League, but Patrick Hoban is relishing the prospect of a second crack at playing football in England.

Oxford United sign Irish striker Hoban but he can't play until January

Oxford Mail:

9:10am Friday 21st November 2014

Patrick Hoban has put pen to paper at Oxford United, but will have to watch for six weeks before his debut.

Dunkley ready to battle for place in Oxford United's side

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Friday 21st November 2014

CHEY Dunkley is unfazed about the prospect of battling with three more experienced centre halves to get into the Oxford United side.

Sam Long's Oxford United future not in doubt despite loan - Appleton

Oxford Mail:

8:20am Friday 21st November 2014

SAM Long remains in Oxford United’s long-term plans, according to head coach Michael Appleton.

Rigg's Oxford United reunion ruled out by suspension

Oxford Mail:

8:20am Friday 21st November 2014

OXFORD United will not have to worry about Sean Rigg returning to haunt them tomorrow after the AFC Wimbledon winger was hit by a ban.

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