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.”

BOXING: Harley Mace tops the bill at Town v Gown clash

Oxford Mail:

7:40pm Friday 30th January 2015

OXFORD University’s highly-rated welterweight Harley Mace tops the bill for this year’s Town v Gown show at the Oxford Union on Wednesday.

SCHOOL SPORT: Brilliant Bunn powers home to rack up a Vale four-timer

Oxford Mail:

6:59pm Friday 30th January 2015

FIONA Bunn recorded a fourth successive win at the Vale of White Horse Schools’ Cross Country Championships by retaining her under 17 girls’ title at Radley College.

Oxford United top scorer out to surpass his highest goals mark

Oxford Mail:

2:00pm Friday 30th January 2015

DANNY Hylton is reluctant to make predictions about his scoring tally but acknowledged he would be disappointed if this season was not the best of his career in front of goal.

Interactive graphic: Get ready for kick off of Stevenage v Oxford United

Oxford Mail:

12:40pm Friday 30th January 2015

Oxford United travel to Stevenage tomorrow and here are all our stories previewing the match in an interactive graphic.

Oxford United new signing Richard Brindley raring to get stuck in

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Friday 30th January 2015

RICHARD Brindley is raring to make his Oxford United debut at Stevenage tomorrow after joining on loan yesterday.

Appleton: Oxford United's window shopping may go to the wire

Oxford Mail:

9:10am Friday 30th January 2015

AS hard as Oxford United have worked to avoid doing business on transfer deadline day, head coach Michael Appleton is preparing to be involved in Monday night’s rush.

James Roberts sets sights on new goal target for Oxford United

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Friday 30th January 2015

JAMES Roberts is aiming to reach double figures for goals before the end of his first season as a professional.

Oxford United's John Campbell waiting on Roofing extension

Oxford Mail:

8:40am Friday 30th January 2015

JOHN Campbell’s career at Oxford United rests on whether Jarrow Roofing are willing to agree a delay over receiving a fee for the striker.

Westley highlights Oxford United's January investments

Oxford Mail:

8:20am Friday 30th January 2015

STEVENAGE boss Graham Westley says Oxford United’s movements in the January transfer window show they “mean business”.

RUGBY: To'oala suspension adds to Chinnor woes

Oxford Mail:

8:10am Friday 30th January 2015

SKIPPER Alfie To’oala’s suspension and continuing run of injuries has led to Chinnor making numerous changes for their National 2 South match at home to Launceston tomorrow.

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