Reds to make change to coaching group

Mike Woodlock has announced his plans to step down as head coach at Cambridge FC and will be replaced by the club’s WaiBOP Championship team coach Paul Richardson.

Woodlock says he always intended to “put his feet up” this year after many years of coaching, including leading Cambridge to two Loaded WaiBOP Premiership titles in the past three years.

And now he’s seen the Reds consolidate their position in football’s Northern League, after winning promotion last year, he’s happy to make way for fresh blood.

He also plans to retire in style with his last game in the dugout being the Reds’ first-round ISPS Chatham Cup tie at home to Waiheke Island.

“It couldn’t have worked out better,” he said.

Woodlock said he had been coaching at Cambridge since 2008 and his recent mission had been to see the Reds back in the Northern League.

“If I’d stepped aside at the end of last year, I wouldn’t have been sure we had the continuity and depth in the coaching group to go forward,” he said.

The arrival at the club of Richardson and reserves coach Mike Taylor had strengthened the line-up and Woodlock said he was now confident the club would continue its advancement.

“The club’s in good hands,” he said.

Richardson joins an experienced coaching team that works with the club’s top three men’s teams.

Kim Brierley has been the club’s goalkeeper coach for five seasons and Chrissy Goodin is in her third season as first team manager.

The reserves are coached by Taylor, assisted by Nick Sickelmore and team manager Des Beeney.

Brierley and Taylor have had considerable experience at Northern League and National League levels, highlighting the depth of coaching support at Cambridge.

Richardson (left) has been coaching the WaiBOP Championship side with assistant Steve Thomas and there’s likely to be a re-shuffle of roles to ensure that squad continues its development.

Richardson joined Cambridge this year after three successful seasons at Matamata Swifts where he took their first team from the threat of relegation in 2015 to runners-up spot behind the Reds last season.

“I’m looking forward to getting into some hard work in the near future with the lads and through that endeavour, we aim to strengthen the first team squad position primarily, and then the reserves and championship sides too as a direct outcome,” Richardson said.

“There’s lots to get our teeth into as a coaching team and I’m looking forward to working closely with the wider coaching group to get a decent platform in place, going forward to make us the players’ club of choice.

“I’m also extremely honoured to be given the opportunity to coach at such a fantastic club, rich in history and with a fantastic group of volunteers who work tirelessly to support the players.”