Essex Senior League: Barking’s future looks bright under duo Glen Golby and Steve Willis
PUBLISHED: 10:30 18 January 2017 | UPDATED: 08:42 19 January 2017
Mick O’Shea and Rob O’Brien discuss 2016 and look ahead to the future in our ‘Year in Sport’ pull-out this week
Barking enjoyed a fantastic 2016 under Glen Golby and Steve Willis, but their predecessors have backed the duo to make this year an even better one.
Blues chairman Rob O’Brien and academy manager Mick O’Shea handed over the first-team reins in October 2015.
It was a brave decision made to benefit both the senior side and the academy, and with Barking top of the Essex Senior League and on course for promotion it certainly looks a good move.
“Mick and I were doing 14-hour days, seven days a week, so whilst we love our football, we felt we were burning the candle at both ends,” O’Brien told Phoenix FM.
“We reached a common-sense approach and thought we are doing a really good job, but could we do a better one with the academy by handing the reins over to Glen and Steve?
“We hoped they could surge us on to better things, but it was a brave move because we relegated ourselves basically.
“But that is what we have done throughout our time at the club – we have made brave decisions to make Barking better.”
If Golby and Willis do maintain the Blues’ excellent first half of the campaign, this time next year they should be playing in the Ryman North.
And while the first team enjoy success, the academy provided a number of highlights in 2016.
O’Shea and O’Brien took the team to the Conference Youth Alliance League Cup final after an extraordinary set of results, before losing 3-1 to Kidderminster Harriers.
Dagenham & Redbridge, Brentford and Dover Athletic were all beaten and it shows the future is bright at Mayesbrook Park with several teenagers now involved heavily in the first team.
“Rob and I spoke and to be quite frank it was the right thing to do for the club. We get to concentrate on the academy and we were very successful last year getting all the way to the final,” said O’Shea.
“We were underdogs in every match, but I’ve got a great siege mentality and to get to the final at Wycombe Wanderers against Kidderminster was a wonderful achievement.
“In charge of the first team now we have Golby, who is experienced and has played for years. I don’t think he has ever been sent off, so he is a nice calm head.
“I can’t say the same for Steve, he has had a few reds, but he’s a great competitor and those boys will get us up, so what a quartet!”
Barking’s academy offers a full-time education and football development programme for 16-18-year-olds while playing competitively in the Conference Youth Alliance League.
Teenagers can start off studying BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Sport before moving onto a Diploma in Sport the next year.
The academy was established in 2011 and has been successful both in terms of developing players to represent Blues and in supporting each student’s football development, academy and career pathways. For more information visit http://www.barking-fc.co.uk/sch.html.
O’Brien added: “We started the mini-soccer as well this year and it is going to be fantastic and only going to get stronger in 2017.
“Our Eastern Junior Alliance teams are doing really well and feed naturally into the scholarship if they want it.
“If they want a pathway into football it is there for them and hopefully next season it will be into Ryman football.”
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