Former Mossley joint-manager Terry Hincks may have only been at NWCFL First Division South side Abbey Hey for a matter of weeks, but the mood in the camp is on the rise after relegation last term.
Hincks left the EvoStik side early in May and was only out of a job for a few weeks as Abbey Hey came calling, "To begin with, the Directors, volunteers, and supporters were all despondent because they’d being relegated. I think we’ve been in the job for about a month and it’s sky-high now, very optimistic. We’ve raised the profile of the club in such a short space of time and now the Directors and the volunteers are all tapping into where we want to go with the club. Everything at this particular moment in time is fantastic. The mood has changed dramatically, which is great."
With four promotion spots available next term, Hincks is targeting a straight return for his side to the NWCFL top flight, "Of course, that’s the target! You’ve got to set yourself a target and our target will be to get one of those promotion spots, there’s no doubt about that. A tough League, a tough Division and I’m sure every other team is in the same frame of mind but we’re certainly optimistic that we’ll be in the four.
"I’ve been in non-league a long time so I know exactly how important it [The FA Vase] is for the football club on and off the field. It’s an income stream so it’s massively important off the pitch to make sure that we bring some income stream in.
"On the footballing side, it’s exciting for the players to play in the FA Cup; it’s the national trophy. The FA Vase is realistically winnable at our level. I’ve been to the final myself with Glossop so I know how it is and I know how it works. It’s not a dream to get to the final; it’s actually realism. Any North West Counties side or Step 5 and Step 6 side can get to the final in the Vase so that’s exciting. So yes, the national trophies are important."
And on the recruitment side, "Fantastic, to be honest. We set out a number of targets and we’ve got every one of them so that’s a bonus. We invited the existing squad in and quite a lot of them have come in and they’ve tapped into what we want to do with the football club and they’re training really well. We’ve brought in a lot of young players as well, who are tasting North West Counties football for probably the first time. They’re doing very well so the squad’s really healthy at the moment."
Hincks also revealed he has had no problems attracting players, "It’s how you sell the club and how you sell your philosophy to football that attracts the players. Money also comes into the equation. We haven’t got any money so we have to work on the mentality of these players who want to develop and progress, move the club forward then obviously their careers moving forward as well.
"We’ve not found any issue at all. I’ve got a lot of contacts in football as well so they’ve helped me out with their fringe players. We’ve got quite a lot of quality from the higher levels all around us because I know their managers. They’ve helped me out on the recruitment side. It’s been a lot easier than I thought it was going to be.
"I’m really happy with the squad that we’ve got at the moment. The preseason friendlies are kicking in and that will be the proof of the pudding."
"For me and my assistants, Chris Woods and Wayne Harley, the most important thing for us is to create an environment and the mentality of winners. To do that, we need to be one of the fittest teams in the League. Our main priority for the preseason is to get the base fitness in then to get the match fitness in.
"I’ve been in and around Abbey Hey for a long, long time. It sounds cliché but it’s one of my favourite clubs. I know a lot of the Directors there. When I didn’t have any club, I always went to watch Abbey Hey so I’ve got quite an affection for Abbey Hey.
I’d been offered the role a few times before but I was always in work and managing elsewhere so it wasn’t a feasible option to take the job. With leaving Mossley at the end of the season, when the job came up it was a no brainer for me. As I said, I love the club and I felt it was the right time to go to Abbey Hey and see if I can move them forward.
I’m just really looking forward to the start of the season now. We need to kick on. The players are working really hard on their fitness so it’s getting them out on the pitch now. I’m really excited about the prospects both on and off the field at Abbey."
A big thank you to Ellie Dalglish for transcribing this interview.