THERE’S no place like home and that’s certainly the case for Penrhyncoch based Matthew Bishop.
The new manager of Aberystwyth Town returns to Cardigan Bay after a successful playing and coaching career away from his home county. Although Bish pulled on the Aber Black and Green eight times, this opportunity represents the first time he has spend significant time at Park Avenue.
“I’m excited! I’m looking forward to the new challenge!
“It’s great to be very much working at home! Almost my whole footballing career and my coaching career has been down south or across the border.
“It’s always been my home town club. I had a very short spell as a player but I certainly came down there as a youngster, watching them win the league and watching them in Europe.”
After last season’s 8th place finish, Aber will be hoping to go one better and hit the Top 6 next season. But for now, Bishop is only setting short term goals.
“The challenge is first getting the team together and gelling that team. We want to be competitive and take every game seriously, including the Cup games and let’s see where it takes us. If we adopt that attitude you never know.
“It’s going to be tough because of where we are geographically. But we’ve got unbelievable contacts and it’s our job to get the right players in so that we can move forward as a football club.”
Bishop joins Wayne Jones on the management side with the former Haverfordwest County manager assuming the role of second in command. The duo have already been busy in the seven days since the official announcement.
“We’re already busy and have been for the past week or so. I’m speaking to ‘Wolvesy’ two or three times a day already about things, players and what we can do. We’re looking to bring some fresh faces into the squad and freshen things up a bit so that we can put a team that’s competitive on the pitch.”
“Ultimately, our priority, Wayne and I, is to come in to reinvigorate the squad and look forward to the new campaign. We want a team that’s fit and a team that’ll work hard. We want to play and get the ball down. We’ve got the new 3G pitch coming in which will help spread the play about.
With some of last year’s squad leaving Park Avenue for pastures new, Bishop and Wolvesy have the task on their hands of reassembling a squad before the first match day in August.
“It’s about looking for the best value for the money. You want good players at a football club. You want players that are hungry, you want players that are willing to work hard and want to win things. It’s about getting a side together that’ll be competitive.
“If you’ve got players that are hard working, willing to sacrifice, add that with a bit of talent and you can get some success out of it and that’s what we want. We’re looking to add some legs and we want to give it a go.
“It will be tough as some of the big boys are spending big money. But we want to assemble a squad that’ll be competitive, give it a go and entertain at the same time.”
Bishop joins the Seasiders after coaching spells with Aldershot, Newport and most recently Hereford where he was part of the management side that won an incredible three trophies in their maiden year since their phoenix club rose from the demise of the old Hereford United in the High Courts and Bish was quick to praise his former employers.
“I had a phone call from Peter [Beadle], our paths had crossed when I was at Newport, he was on an A license course that I was directing. We hit it off and kept in touch throughout the year so when the phone call came from him, especially from a club like Hereford with the history and tradition, it was a very quick decision.
“It was a unique year! When I arrived, the club had just reformed, we didn’t have a single player signed on. We won the league, we won two cups and it was unfortunate, we went to Wembley and on the day we didn’t quite get there.
“But taking 21,000 fans to Wembley will remain a special day. It’s put the club back on the map and it was always going to be difficult leaving there. Having the opportunity to come back home and make a difference.“
Aber Town’s brand new 3G pitch will herald a new era for the club. For the first time, the opportunity to play on Park Avenue will be available to all. The all weather surface will provide a stimulus for the community and those links are something that Bishop is keen to nurture and use.
“It’s going to be brilliant for the Town, club and the community. We want a team that’ll entertain so that people will come down and enjoy what they see.
“One of the key things we have to do as a football club is reengage ourselves back in the community. We’ve got to work closer with our local clubs. Look at Penrhyncoch! Gari, Freddie and Bari have done an unbelievable job at Penrhyncoch.
“Not only them, we need to get the likes of Bow Street, Cardigan and many more on board because we want the best players playing for Aberystwyth Town.
“We’re only going to do that if we have good relationships and it works both ways. We want the best footballers playing football so we’d like to send some of ours out to the Cymru Alliance because there’s no better experience than actually playing competitive football. Not only that but getting used to the travelling and the competitive element of football.”
But for now, Bishop is excited and relishing the opportunity to cut his managerial teeth in the league with his hometown club.
“I’m just delighted to be given an opportunity to manage a big club in the Welsh Premier League It’s lovely to be back in the Town and I’m looking forward to exciting times ahead.”