New 1st team Manager Appointed – Craig Elliott
By Wendy Walker, Yorkshire Evening Post, Published on Wednesday 23 May 2012 08:06
New Ossett Town boss Craig Elliott refused to let his heart rule his head as he waved farewell to Glasshoughton Welfare and embarked on “unfinished business” in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.
Elliott was confirmed as a permanent successor to Phil Sharpe – who left Town earlier this year – over the weekend after applications for the void left by caretaker-manager Eric Gilchrist closed on Thursday evening.
It means leaving Welfare – the club he served as a player more than a decade ago – after just two seasons in charge and just a month after leading them to promotion to the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.
But Elliott said he couldn’t refuse the chance to make his managerial bow in the Evo-Stik League First Division where he tasted title success as a player with Harrogate Town in 2001-02 when Ossett, ironically, were runners-up.
Elliott told the YEP: “It was a tough decision but I only had limited resources at Glasshoughton and I feel I took them as far as I could.
“They are a great club and because I played there they have a big place in my heart, but I am ambitious as a manager and I look at this as another step up. Ossett are in a league above, they are a good club as well, and I couldn’t turn it down really, it’s a great opportunity for me.
“Ossett haven’t done too well for the last two years and as a young manager I have nothing to lose and everything to gain if I can make them better which I believe I can.”
Elliott has built up a reputation as one of the most promising young managers in non-league football after injury wrecked his playing career at just 27.
He joined Glasshoughton after being released by Doncaster Rovers as a teenager but was soon picked up by a Harrogate Town side who were bound for Conference North. After injury intervened, spells at the likes of North Ferriby failed to get him up and running again so he switched his attention to obtaining his coaching badges.
He joined NCE League outfit Pontefract Collieries as reserve team boss and then after one successful season as manager of West Yorkshire League outfit Kellingley Welfare, which saw the club scoop four trophies, he was appointed Glasshoughton manager in July 2010.
In his first season Welfare, who had finished 13th in Division One the previous campaign and bottom 12 months earlier following relegation from the Premier Division, clinched seventh spot.
They then finished runners-up to Handsworth last time round to clinch promotion after a stunning end to the season, scoring more than 100 goals in the league along the way.
He will now be looking to have a similar effect at Ossett Town, who finished 17th in First Division North last time round after being relegated from the top-flight in 2010-11.
“I obviously had two really good seasons at Glasshoughton and the positive is I can leave on good terms and leave them in a far better position than when I took over,” said Elliott, who will be taking assistant Carl Fothergill – a former Ossett player – to Ingfield with him.
“It couldn’t have been left in a better position and it’s an attractive job for anyone coming in.
“But I am not a person who stands still, I want to progress my own career and I think I can do that at Ossett. I played at that level with Harrogate Town and I want to get back to that level as a manager. I retired early as well due to injury and I feel I have unfinished business.
“I am under no illusions, they have been on a downward spiral for the last two seasons, but I feel the challenge for me is to get them back successful.
“Someone’s got to do it and there is no reason why that can’t be me. I am pretty confident I can turn things around and there is a lot of work to do between now and the start of the season.”
Glasshoughton called an emergency board meeting for last night to discuss their next move following Elliott’s shock departure.