Belfast Telegraph

Tumilty upbeat as he aims to bring good times back to 4th Newtownabbey

By Martin Mawhinney

You might think it would be difficult to motivate yourself when your team is getting defeated week in, week out… but it genuinely hasn’t been a problem for 4th Newtownabbey player-manager Alan Tumilty.

The bottom club playing at the Intermediate level of the Northern Amateur Football League lost their clash with second bottom side Rooftop 5-2 at home on Saturday, leaving them with a solitary point from 18 games - and only six remaining games to try and avoid finishing the season without a league win.

Yet Tumilty, a player and dedicated servant to the club for the past 22 years refuses to let the club's current plight get him down. In short, he believes that the good times will come back… with those ever-important ingredients, time and patience.

He told The Park: “We are basically starting all over again - but we are getting there. Of course we aren’t there yet, and things are far from ideal, but it will come, long term.

“I don’t need any short term fixes. People have been saying to me why don’t I call this player or that player back to the team, but these are guys who are well into their 30s or 40s. It’s all very well having a list of 30 or 40 guys in your squad, but I would far rather have the 23 or 24 I have now, knowing that they will all come down to training.

“Some people might see it as an ‘old-school’ attitude, but I think over the long-term, it will work out.”

At the age of 42, Tumilty acknowledges the irony of playing for the club at a time when he is trying to bring new blood into what essentially had become an ageing first team line-up. However, for the time being at least, he also underlines the necessity of ensuring he can field a first eleven, with such tight numbers, when unforeseen circumstances arise.     

He continued: “I played last weekend because there were three players who cried off on the Saturday morning.

“I have asked the guys to bring a mate along to training, and in fairness, we have managed to get 8 or 9 new signings over the past few weeks. We had a 16 and 19-year-old up front, a 21 and 23-year-old central midfield pairing and two full-backs in their early 20s.

“But all the new fellas… I like to give them five or six weeks to show what they have. There is one guy, a 21-year-old , who has never played 11-a-side before. It’s just a case of finding a position for him.

“I want everyone to enjoy their football - that’s why we mostly concentrate on ball-work in training. And as far as people not turning up on a Saturday, I’ve now told the guys, if you’re not able to make it, send me a text in good time - that’s all I want. Then I can contact the second team manager and arrange things with them.”

It’s all straightforward stuff, but when these simple things are done right, they can make a huge difference to a club’s prospects.

Also on that front, a club’s youth set-up can be a major contributing factor. And 4th Newtownabbey’s youth ranks are clearly one of the main reasons for Tumilty’s optimism for the future.

With a total of 300 players, and 40-plus coaches (including Tumilty), the Carnmoney Development Centre now, for the first ever year, has a full range of teams from age 5 to 16.

That healthy supply of future first-teamers, coupled with the addition of experienced former club captain and ex-Linfield ace Jody Hill to the coaching staff should give the long-term vision of 4th Newtownabbey’s manager an excellent chance of being rewarded, in the end.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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