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Club focus: Rathfern Rangers

By Keith Bailie

Rathfern Rangers manager Bill Campbell was honest enough to admit things didn't exactly go to plan this season.

Rathfern finished seventh in Division 1B, but they fell well short of promotion despite a fantastic start to the season.

Former Carrick Rangers coach Campbell said: “If I'm being honest, I'm slightly disappointed with how things turned out. Last year we finished sixth and our aim at the start of the season was to break into the top four. I believed we had a squad capable of that and, up until Christmas, things were going very well.

“I thought we were as good as the likes of Newcastle, East Belfast and 1st Bangor, but that all came back to bite us on the backside. While others got better, we tailed off. We only got two points from our last seven games and we ended up finishing seventh. It's an underachievement in my book.

“I think the most frustrating aspect of the whole thing is that we were only five points off fourth place, so we were only two wins away from achieving our goal. I think the 8-2 defeat to Ballywalter was a bitter blow which we never really recovered from.”

Like all managers, Campbell will be looking to improve his squad over the summer.

“We will certainly be looking to strengthen over the close-season. I've already put the feelers out, but we've got the same answer from every player we've spoke with: 'I'll tell you in a few weeks.'

“We need to strengthen but the problem in this part of the world is there are so many players fighting over the same players. The likes of ourselves Mossley and Nortel are fighting over a very small pool of players.”

Campbell spent 11 years coaching at Taylor's Avenue, including stints as manager of the Under 19s and the Reserves. The Rathfern boss is delighted to see his old side promoted to the Premiership after an incredible season in Championship One.

“I'm delighted for Gary Haveron and everyone at Carrick Rangers, particularly the likes of Glenn Taggart who has been there for so long. I managed their reserves last time they were in the Premiership and I've still a lot of friends at the club.

“I think the Premiership needs the likes of Carrick, Ards, Bangor and Larne. They're big teams who can attract decent crowds when they're going well.

“If Carrick are playing at Taylor's Avenue, that will be a major boost to them. Playing at Seaview really hurt them last time.

“I think Gary can keep them up. He's done a fantastic job.”


Club: Rathfern Rangers

Division: NAFL 1B

Ground: The Diamond

Manager: Bill Campbell

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