Prestatyn Town interim-manager Andrew Ruscoe faces big decision this weekend

Andy Ruscoe (black tracksuit with red stripe) standing in the dugout at Conwy Borough last weekend. Picture: ALUN ROBERTS/FAW

Prestatyn Town interim manager Andrew Ruscoe has not ruled out staying on at the club after this weekend’s home clash with Penrhyncoch.

Ruscoe initially stated Saturday’s game at Bastion Gardens would be the last of his tenure with the Cymru North outfit.

Over the past month, Ruscoe and management partner John “Barney” Barnes have worked hard steadying the Seasiders’ ship.

Almost the entire squad departed after former boss Ben Heath and his team stepped down in December, but Ruscoe and Barnes, as well as player and management team member Paddy Hamid, have built a new pool of players from virtual scratch.

The rewards were there to see in last weekend’s courageous performance at Conwy Borough, where the new-look Prestatyn only lost 2-1 to a 97th minute winner.

Ruscoe has now stressed the importance of “signing off” with a win at home to Penrhyncoch.

Town are currently fourth from bottom of the table but a good few points clear of the drop-zone.

Andy Ruscoe (left) gives pre-match encouragement to one of his players. Picture: ALUN ROBERTS/FAW

Wrexham-based Ruscoe said: “In all my time in football, I have always chased a dream.

“I’ve always wanted to prove doubters wrong and I always wanted to show I could manage a club at a good level. Prestatyn Town, thanks to (chairman) Jamie Welsh, gave me that opportunity.

“It’s been a roller-coaster of a ride since becoming Prestatyn Town’s interim-manager back in December after an emergency phone call from the chairman, but it was an opportunity I could not turn down.

“I had a chance to take on Rhydymwyn back in 2014 in the Cymru Alliance before convincing chairman Graham Roberts to take another gentleman on and I regretted it, so I had to take this opportunity with both hands but I could only promise 3 games as I have so many other commitments.

“Some people have dreams of playing/managing for Manchester United, Liverpool, Wrexham or Chester, but I have always set myself little goals which I feel are achievable.

“One of those targets was to manage a tier 2 club but for the life of me I never thought I would end up being manager of what I see as one of the biggest clubs in Wales.

“A club engulfed in so much history, a club that’s been in Europe. I’m so lucky, proud and grateful that I got this chance.

“Ever since I was a child I have had a fascination with the Prestatyn region, maybe due to the fact that we had a caravan in the region and the market that my nan would take me to, to get a blackberry pie always brought back fond memories. I literally fell in love with the place.

Picture: ALUN ROBERTS/FAW

“When I got offered the role to become interim-manager, I was probably at a very low point in my life with football.

“I had worked my hardest developing a club called FC United of Wrexham where I felt people saw me as some joke and to be honest I missed being involved at a club where I could make a difference like I did at Brickfield Rangers, a club who built me up, just to literally push me out.

“Being manager of a club like Prestatyn comes with its own challenges and during my short time at Prestatyn we have faced many different fires that have needed sorting – from trying to get the some of the fans back on board, convincing disgruntled volunteers they are appreciated and trying to get the players who seemed down happy and enjoying football again by helping them to understand why this club is so important to its community.

“This was achieved literally by showing those volunteers and players some appreciation.

“Just like Jurgen Klopp does with his Liverpool side and just like Fergie did with the club’s volunteers at Man Utd.

“Appreciation is so simple, because it shows people you care and that you believe in them. People want to be appreciated. Without people clubs do not operate. Human sustainability is just as important as financial sustainability.

“Do I believe I had any right to become Prestatyn Town’s first team manager? No I bloody don’t…how dare I take this role on, but to have this opportunity, on a VOLUNTARY basis, working around my current job role, family and Futsal commitments. I have given it my all and I have loved every minute of it.”

Ruscoe added: “At the start of 2022, we had 6 senior players and now we have nearly 25 and that’s thanks to my partner in crime, who is an amazing person, who shares the same passions as me, and brought in a lot of very good talented lads.

“Barney has been gold dust to this club. Also we helped identify players from lower levels who deserve the opportunity to express themselves even though they may have been told they weren’t good enough to step up.

“Believe me they have done themselves very proud and proved those doubters wrong in my opinion.
“And let’s not forget the famous 5 local youth lads Luca, Harrison, Kenzie, Elliot and Ryan who have proven this club has a great future when it comes to younger talent coming through.

Andrew (second left) with the FC United of Wrexham Futsal team

“People may think why did we take on such a huge task. We had comments like ‘that’s a huge job’, but it’s simple really and it’s never been any different and that’s to save the club’s academy so that youngsters within the club structure do not get disappointed that their club was let down.

“The very same academy structure who helped my son get to Oldham Athletic. For the club to have an academy it has to stay in Tier 2.”

As to the future, Ruscoe said: “I have been asked to stay on at the club and I promise you I really want to because in my heart I know I could make a bigger impact but my circumstances have changed in life and I need to make some decisions before I can further commit.

“I have to consider the fact I have commitments with my 4 children, I run FC United of Wrexham which has ambition of getting into the UEFA Futsal Champions League eventually and further continue to help my under-11’s, who I have managed since they were 4 years of age, to follow their dreams of one day playing European futsal.

“I am not ruling out staying though but I have to sit down with the chairman first after Saturday’s game against Penrhyncoch, because let’s be honest would the club actually want me to stay on if we lose on Saturday.

“Results may be improving, we may be matching teams and the lads may be loving life once again at the club, but it’s not like I have a great win record at the moment and football is unfortunately a statistics industry so we need to sit down and understand what the plans are for the club.

“I do, however, want to thank the players who have stood by the club during my time at the club. They have been amazing. Thank you for allowing me to be your manager. I want to thank the fans such as Geoff, Tom, Sades, Mikey, Darren and all the fans who supported us, I want to thank my partner in crime John Barnes – without this gentleman I’d have been lost – but most importantly I want to thank Jamie Welsh for believing in me.

“Hopefully on Saturday we can go and get the 3 points.”

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