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 Non League 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.”

Oxford United's young guns relishing Manchester City clash

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Thursday 18th December 2014

OXFORD United’s rising stars will get a taste of the big time tonight as they attempt a giant-killing against Manchester City in the FA Youth Cup (7).

AUNT SALLY: Townsend hits six for Cricketers

8:10am Thursday 18th December 2014

GEOFF Townsend hit a six in his 14 dolls as Cricketers whitewashed Garsington B 6-0 in the Molson Coor Gladiator Friday League.

BAR BILLIARDS: Pincombe triumphs after epic encounter

Oxford Mail: Bar billiards

8:10am Thursday 18th December 2014

BOB Pincombe reached the second round of the Johnsons Buildbase Oxford League’s Men’s individual event after a thrilling win over Chris Bateman, writes PETE EWINS.

RACING: Grandads Horse surprises Charlie Longsdon

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Thursday 18th December 2014

Chipping Norton trainer Charlie Longsdon admitted even he was surprised by Grandads Horse’s recent winning run after the gelding’s heart-stopping victory at Doncaster.

F1 fans race in to snap up Marussia souvenirs in Banbury factory auction

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Thursday 18th December 2014

FORMER show cars from the collapsed Oxfordshire Formula 1 team Marussia sold for a total of £106,000 at a two-day auction.

RUGBY UNION: Saar stars as Banbury rally

Oxford Mail:

7:20am Thursday 18th December 2014

Hugh Saar bagged a brace of tries as Banbury Under 18s A finished with a flourish to win 33-14 at Newbury in OBB League Division 1.

ATHLETICS: Amend defends ladies' crown

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Thursday 18th December 2014

SAMANTHA Amend defended her ladies’ title at the Andy Reading 10k race.

BOWLS: Oxon A are swept aside

Oxford Mail: image of bowls close up of bowling woods and jack for sport

7:00am Thursday 18th December 2014

Oxfordshire A were beaten 27-13 by Avon A in the English Short Mat Bowling Association’s Inter County Competition at Bristol.

FOOTBALL: Scotland star Anya so grateful to Oxford City spell

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Thursday 18th December 2014

Ikechi Anya admitted he might never have achieved such considerable success as a professional footballer if not for his spell at Oxford City, writes Matthew Bruce.

ATHLETICS: Hat-trick heaven as City veterans prove class apart

Oxford Mail:

6:50am Thursday 18th December 2014

OXFORD City’s men retained the vet 60 team title for the third year running at the SEAA Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships.

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