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25 Jun 2020 : Lifelong fan joins McIntyre's Army

Runcorn Linnets are happy to announce that lifelong fan, David Phillips is the latest addition to new manager Calum McIntyre's backroom staff.

David will join the coaching team as assistant goalkeeping coach under the guidance of new goalkeeping coach, Graeme Hewitt.

After being a Runcorn fan since the early 2000s, David began his behind-the-scenes journey long before people may think. In the 2012/13 season, he worked closely with the then head kitman, Vernon Dwerryhouse in learning the job and everything that is involved in being a non-league kitman, followed by Jon Urquhart for a number of seasons.

David stepped up from the role of assistant to become head kitman in 2018, and he became a vital part of the dressing room while building a great relationship with manager Michael Ellison and the squad.

For the last two years, David has been very highly thought of by not only the squad and backroom staff but by everyone involved with the club. At the start of last season, under the watchful eye of Ello, David began a side journey as goalkeeper coach until goalkeeper coach Chris Appleton came into the club earlier this year. At that point, David began learning the ropes and all the detailed ins and outs of life of a goalkeeper.

David made the decision to step down as head kitman in late April in the hope of pursuing his role on the goalkeeping side of the game.

When new boss Calum arrived at the club, it was uncertain what would happen with the support team and this left David's position up in the air.

However, the new manager is very happy to welcome David into the backroom staff; "We are really pleased that David is going to continue to support the coaching team. He will work in support of our new goalkeeper coach but also provides some essential continuity on the coaching team. We are keen to provide such continuity in a number of areas including players, so this was a real positive".

David said: "I am absolutely delighted to be joining the backroom staff as it is something I really enjoyed over the past 12 months. I have worked with some fantastic people over the last eight years behind the scenes in numerous different roles and I'm over the moon that Calum has allowed me to continue my progress".

Asked about how he felt about working with new goalkeeper coach Graeme Hewitt, David added: "He's a coach with huge pedigree, having worked with some great clubs over his coaching career. I'm excited to be able to learn from someone with so much knowledge and desire to develop our club's goalkeepers".

David would also like to extend his gratitude to the previous management team and close friends, Michael Ellison and Matt Cross for giving him the opportunity to begin his coaching journey into the world of goalkeeping while thanking Chris Appleton for giving him some great insight into what it takes to be a non- league coach.

24 Jun 2020 : Graeme Hewitt is handed goalkeeping coach role at Runcorn Linnets

Our new backroom team continues to take shape with Graeme Hewitt joining Runcorn Linnets as goalkeeping coach.

Graeme, 33, brings a great deal of coaching experience from his work at a wide variety of clubs plus involvement with national leagues and associations.

Since July last year, he has been working at Liverpool FC in their International Academy Programme.

Graeme said: "I started coaching at Everton, aged 18 and was there until I was 27, working with the pre-Academy, 9-16s and U18s predominantly. I also spent a season coaching the Ladies goalkeepers in the Women's Super League.

"I have spent time at TNS, where I had three Champions League campaigns with games against Videoton (Hungary) Apoel (Cyprus) and HNK Rijeka (Croatia).

"I have worked as U18s GK coach for the FAW and still work as a talent ID scout for them, covering all age groups."

Graeme is a former first-team goalkeeping coach at Macclesfield Town (2018) and, immediately prior to the coronavirus lockdown, he had been lead Academy goalkeeping coach at Blackpool FC.

"I have recently left Blackpool due to a restructuring of the Academy because of the Covid outbreak," he explained.

"While at Blackpool, I worked with the U18 GKs, overseeing the entire Academy programme and assisting with the first-team goalkeepers.

"At present, I work within my own goalkeeping school, providing one-to-one and small group sessions."

Graeme has coached the first-team goalkeepers at TNS, Bangor City and Chester FC and worked at Academy level with Tranmere Rovers.

He has also coached for the FA Premier League in China - on the Premier Skills initiative in Shanghai.

Graeme added: "I am really looking forward to working with Calum, Colin and Luke at Runcorn Linnets.

"My plan was to have a season out of club football but once Calum asked the question, I found the opportunity to work with him too good to turn down. He's a great coach, a winner and someone I trust completely.

"I've not worked with Colin or Luke before but I have heard great things about both.

"Having been up and met everyone yesterday, I can see how passionate everybody involved is for this club and I really believe we can bring some good times to this club and its fans. I can't wait to get going."

Graeme is qualified in talent identification and opposition analysis through the Professional Football Scouts Association (PFSA) and also in talent identification (level one) with The Football Association. He holds a B licence in goalkeeping coaching with the Football Association of Wales.

Welcome to Runcorn Linnets, Graeme!

20 Jun 2020 : Physio Luke Davies joins our backroom team

MEET our new club physio!

We offer a very warm welcome to Luke Davies, who wil be a key part of the backroom staff, working with newly-appointed manager Calum McIntyre and assistant Colin Woodthorpe.

In asking Luke to introduce himself, we soon discovered he's no stranger to Runcorn Linnets - and he's actually played against us!

Luke said: "My general background is I am a Sports Rehabilitation graduate from Salford University in 2012.

"Once graduated, I joined Chester FC in 2014 and spent four years as part of the first-team medical team in the National League up until 2018.

"I met Calum whilst working at Chester FC. Calum's excellent work with the youth academy saw him progress to first-team coach.

"Calum has always been a winner at all the levels he has managed and I believe will continue to be so.

He added: "Since leaving Chester, I have been away from football and waiting for the right opportunity. The biggest compliment I can give is as soon as Calum asked me to join Runcorn Linnets, it was a no brainer for me.

"I have seen first hand that Calum is a winner and seeing Colin's AFC Fylde teams and coming up against them through the years, I know he is the same. That was something I was keen to be involved in going forward."

Luke had sacrificed his own playing career to concentrate on physiotherapy, with this enabling him (purposefully) to stay involved in football.

He explained: "I played for AFC Liverpool, I then moved to Ashton Town in the NWCFL whilst studying.

"I didn't play any competitive games against RLFC for AFCL.

"I did play against Linnets once for Ashton Town in the NWCFL Cup, back in 2011.

"We were the division below and went 1-0 up early. It would have been a bit of a result for us at the time.

"But Runcorn ended up winning 2-1 and I was at fault for the equaliser - I try to eradicate that from the memory haha!"

Luke explained: "Once graduated, I wanted to focus on the medical side of football and prolong my involvement in the game.

"I am delighted to be Involved in an exciting project.

"I have visited Linnets many times to watch matches and know that with the combination of the set-up, the fans and the new management team there can only be good times ahead."

19 Jun 2020 : Colin Woodthorpe named Linnets assistant

Our new manager Calum McIntyre has chosen vastly-experienced former Norwich City defender Colin Woodthorpe as his assistant in a major coup for Runcorn Linnets.

As well as playing at the top-level with the Canaries - likewise in Scotland for Aberdeen - 51-year-old Liverpudlian Colin boasts a high level of managerial success in the top echelons of the non-league game.

Assisting manager Dave Challinor at Colwyn Bay, former left back Colin helped the Seagulls gain promotion to Conference (now National League) North.

Colin then aided the rise through the divisions of AFC Fylde, again as right-hand man to former Tranmere Rovers midfielder Challinor.

Colin's marathon professional career in English and Scottish football ran from 1986-87 to the end of 2007-08.

His senior debut, however, had come in 1985-86 - as a 17-year-old Chester City apprentice who was handed his first-team chance in a Freight Rover Trophy tie at Rochdale.

A Football League opportunity followed the season after, Colin ending that campaign with 30 league starts and two goals. He scored in the Northern final of the Freight Rover Trophy as Chester lost 2-1 on aggregate to Mansfield Town.

Establishing a regular position and not missing a game in 1989-90 season, his last at Chester (after almost 200 appearances), Colin's quality earned him a six-figure move to Norwich.

In four years at Carrow Road, standout moments included facing Inter Milan in the UEFA Cup (1993), an FA Cup semi-final against Sunderland (1992) and scoring in a 3–0 win over Liverpool (1991).

The £400,000 move to Aberdeen in 1994 brought further European adventures. Colin's three years at Pittodrie, the only injury-dogged spell of his career, ended with a return to his native North West of England in 1997.

The destination was Stockport County, newly promoted to Division One (now Championship). The club would remain at that level until 2002, Colin becoming club captain.

A free transfer to Bury for 2002-03 saw Colin make the Division Three play-offs at the first attempt.

He remained a mainstay in the Shakers' defence as the side's elder statesman until his release and retirement from playing in May 2008, aged 39.

A new chapter, in football mannagenent, was opened in May 2010 as Colin was appointed assistant  to Dave Challinor at then NPL Premier Division club Colwyn Bay. Their runners-up finish led to promotion via the play-offs.

The management duo moved in summer 2012 to AFC Fylde. Various promotions over eight years saw the burgeoning Lancastrians into the National League Premier Division and a 2019 FA Trophy win at Wembley against Leyton Orient.

The pair left AFC Fylde in October. 

Colin first encountered and got to know new Linnets boss Calum McIntyre when Colwyn Bay based their training at Chester and was instantly struck by Calum's promise as a young coach.

"Calum's always kept in touch with Dave (Challinor) and myself and we have bumped into each other a lot of times.

"Dave's son is now involved with Chester at youth level too and Calum must have enquired about me.

"I had taken a rest after what happened last October. Then Covid-19 took a hold on everything. But now the time is right for a return to football.

"Calum's obviously interviewed very well. He has taken charge of Conference games at Chester - on not just a couple of occasions; he's had a run of games when the management has changed and done well results-wise in a team that wasn't doing particularly well.

"I certainly know him well enough. There's still a big connection at Chester with myself. There are people still there from 30-odd years ago when I first played for them.

"We knew he had potential and clearly Calum has progressed. He has now been given the opportunity at Runcorn Linnets. It looks like a journey's to be had."

Colin headed to The Millbank today from his adopted home town, Northwich and noticed quite a difference from his previous visit to play in a charity game - the additions of a new clubhouse and more recently, the hybrid pitch.

He has, however, still to erase one particularly bad memory, involving Linnets - Chester's 1-0 FA Cup first-round home defeat by our predecessors Runcorn AFC in 1987-88.

"It's the only time I have lost to a non-league side in the FA Cup," he reveals.

We can suggest the perfect remedy for that, Colin - more Linnets success in the seasons ahead!

18 Jun 2020 : Linnets are re-branding!

New season, new manager, new pitch... new brand.

Today we unveil our new club crest - part of a Runcorn Linnets re-brand, which will be rolled out over the campaign ahead.

The crest we've had since the formation of the club in 2006 was adapted from the town's official coat of arms, which had been part of our predecessor club's identity.

We felt it was time for a modern makeover and to bring the crest up to date with a fresh new look - so we set our graphics guru, Trust board member, James Eastup to work - here is the result.

James said: "Our overall aim was to improve the brand identity of Runcorn Linnets FC.

"Although our old crest had history - and links with the town of Runcorn and the former club - it wasn't immediately obvious to non-supporters to whom it belonged.

"Now, with a modernised version, which still incorporates parts of the town coat of arms, and the addition of the Runcorn Linnets name, we feel it better reflects our amazing club, as we continue to push forward for even more success."

Well, we think it looks great - hope you all do too - and not only heralds a new era but takes us into the future in style!

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