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Archived News from December 2008

STAGS OFFER MANAGER`S JOB TO DAVID HOLDSWORTH
28th December 2008 22:38




Mansfield Town offer Holdsworth Stags' manager's job
CHAD.co.uk, 24 December 2008, By Tim Morriss
THE search for a new Mansfield Town manager looks to be over after the Stags on Christmas Eve offered the job to David Holdsworth.

Full story at CHAD.co.uk here

The enthusiastic 40-year-old Ilkeston Town boss was locked in talks with the Stags on Christmas Eve morning and emerged to tell Chad: "Yes, I have been offered the opportunity to take the manager's job and I am delighted.

"I have one or two loose ends to clear up at Ilkeston, but I hope that won't take long and I would look forward to taking the opportunity at Mansfield.

"I would like to think there won't be any problems and I hope that within the next 48 hours everything can be cleared up."

The move to offer the previously 'unknown' Holdsworth the job will surprise many fans, but already some supporters are welcoming the news as 'an inspired and brave decision'.

For in his first few months as a manager he has transformed Ilkeston in the Unibond Premier, won many plaudits from fans and already been linked with the Grimsby managerial vacancy earlier this season.

An official announcement on his appointment to succeed Billy McEwan, sacked two weeks ago, is not likely until after Christmas, but it is expected that he will be in charge for Monday's match at home to Burton.

It is not known if Holdsworth - a vastly experienced player who made well over 500 first class appearances at several Football League clubs - will be at the Boxing Day match at Kettering, where caretaker managers Mark Stallard and Adie Moses will be in charge.

It was confirmed to Chad first late on Tuesday evening that the Stags had asked for, and been given, permission to speak to the former Sheffield United, Watford and Birmingham defender.

Just a few hours later Holdsworth - who lives in Sheffield with his wife and young son - then met Stags owners Andy Perry, Steve Middleton and Andy Saunders on Christmas Eve.

Holdsworth, who has a contract at The Robins until the summer, told Chad earlier on Christmas Eve that he hoped 'things can be wrapped up quickly'.

"Given the opportunity, I am looking forward to working with the board and players and hope we can resurrect the season and push on."

And Stags chairman Andy Perry told Chad on Christmas Eve morning: "We will be meeting David today and have already spoken at length on the telephone. I am quite confident that after all the interviews, this could be the guy."

However, Chad understands that any official announcement on the new Stags' manager is now unlikely ahead of the Boxing Day match at Kettering.

After guiding Ilkeston, featuring four reserves, to a 3-1 Derbyshire Senior Cup Second Round victory at Heanor on Tuesday evening in front of Ilkeston fans chanting his name, Holdsworth had told reporters: "I am sure that people are aware of the situation.

"People here (at Ilkeston) have made me extremely welcome. If developments happen, then developments will happen for football reasons.

"Mansfield Town are a very good club, but I am manager of this club (Ilkeston) and I will do things right."

It is not clear if Holdsworth intends to bring Ilkeston coach Kevin Philliskirk with him to Field Mill, should he get the job. Philliskirk, whose birthday is Christmas Eve, was head of youth development at Field Mill a few years ago.

Republic of Ireland Under-21 international defender Kieran Murphy, who last season was at MK Dons when Holdsworth was a coach and moved to Ilkeston in the summer, could be an early transfer target, according to some fans.

Initially, Holdsworth would come to Field Mill on his own and, according to Stags chairman Perry, 'evaluate who is here before making a decision on an assistant' - if appointed.

The owners had said on Tuesday that they would be conducting 'second' interviews with candidates this week and it has been reported that they have a second choice in mind if the Houldsworth move falls through.

Caretaker managers Mark Stallard and Adie Moses will be in charge of team affairs at Kettering whatever happens.

Stags chairman Andy Perry told Chad on Tuesday evening that he hoped the club would be able to make a statement over the next few days.

Chad had exclusively revealed late on Monday evening that the Ilkeston Town boss was being strongly linked with the Field Mill hot-seat.

And we reported first earlier on Tuesday how bookies Victor Chandler had suspended betting on the identity of the next Stags manager after original outsider Holdsworth was heavily backed.

We also reported on a last-ditch 'come and get me' plea to the club's owners by fans' favourite Richie Barker on Tuesday afternoon.

Holdsworth was not among the first names in the speculation that followed McEwan's sacking two weeks ago. But when the Stags' target Chris Wilder joined Oxford on Sunday, Holdsworth emerged as the favourite ahead of the likes of Richie Barker, Darren Patterson, Colin Walker, John Schofield, Gary Mills and Paul Cox.

Holdsworth (40), who took over as manager of Unibond Premier club Ilkeston Town in May, had a long playing career as a centre half.

The twin brother of Dean – who was most famous for his time in the Premiership with Wimbledon and Bolton – David Holdsworth played for Watford, Sheffield United, Birmingham City, Walsall, Bolton Wanderers, Scarborough and finally Gretna, and was capped once for England at Under-21 level.

His league career began at Watford where he played 250 times for manager Graham Taylor in 10 years at Vicarage Road, before moving to Sheffield United.

Then in 1999 Birmingham paid £1.25m for the defender, who had earlier gained one England U21 cap.

At the end of his playing career – spanning around 570 first class appearances – Holdsworth helped manager Sam Allardyce at Bolton Wanderers and then became reserve team manager at Gretna.

At Gretna he was also appointed director of youth development in May 2006, before being sacked in a cost-cutting exercise a few months later.

Holdsworth then did some coaching at MK Dons, but turned down the chance to be assistant to Paul Ince.

In the summer of 2008 the new owner of Ilkeston Town, construction tycoon Chek Whyte, brought Holdsworth to the New Manor Ground with a vision for the club within the community.

And their hard work has paid off on the field, with the Robins' almost completely new squad in fifth place in the UniBond Premier Division and through to the second round of the FA Trophy.

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Holdsworth: "I've been offered Stags job"
Evening Post, 24 December 2008
David Holdsworth has this afternoon confirmed to thisismansfieldtown.co.uk he has been offered the vacant Mansfield manager's job.

Full story at Evening Post here

The 40-year-old, who has been in charge of UniBond Premier side Ilkeston Town, has been in for talks with the club's board this morning.

But there are still a few loose ends to tie up before a new appointment can be confirmed.

Former Watford, Birmingham and Sheffield United player Holdsworth admitted he would love to take the reins at Field Mill.

“I have been offered the opportunity to take the manager's job,” said Holdsworth.

“I have one or two things to clear up at Ilkeston and, if I can, I would look forward to taking the opportunity.

“I would like to think there won't be any problems and I hope there won't be.

“Because of the scenario, it would now obviously be after Christmas if I did take charge.”

The club have already confirmed caretaker bosses Mark Stallard and Adie Moses will be in control of first team affairs for the Boxing Day game at Kettering.

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Mansfield Town to unveil Holdsworth as manager on Christmas Eve?
CHAD.co.uk, 24/12 10.10

By Tim Morriss and Rod Malcom - EXCLUSIVE

THE search for a new Mansfield Town manager looks to be over after the Stags asked Ilkeston Town for permission to speak to David Holdsworth.

Full story at CHAD.co.uk here

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Bookies suspend betting on Holdsworth as new Mansfield Town manager - UPDATE 23/12 16.12
CHAD.co.uk, 22 December 2008, By Tim Morriss
SPECULATION that the new manager of Mansfield Town will be David Holdsworth intensified further on Tuesday morning.

Full story at CHAD.co.uk here

Chad first revealed late on Monday night that the Ilkeston Town boss was being strongly linked with the Field Mill hot-seat.

And Chad understands that Holdsworth is now the leading candidate for the role, although on Tuesday morning Stags co-owner Andy Saunders stressed: "We have made no appointment at this moment in time and are still in negotiations with people."

Saunders and co-owners chairman Andy Perry and Steve Middleton are still thought to be carrying out 'second' interviews today (Tuesday) - and on Tuesday afternoon fans' favourite Richie Barker issued a 'come and get me' plea to the owners.

Holdsworth - currently in charge at Ilkeston Town - declined to comment on the speculation on Tuesday morning and will be concentrating on Ilkeston's Derbyshire Senior Cup clash with Heanor tonight.

Bookies Victor Chandler, who were betting on who would be the next Mansfield manager, had a run of money for Holdsworth on Friday and have now suspended betting.

"We were 25/1 about Holdsworth and after he was supported at that price, we cut him to 18/1," said VC spokesman Neal Wilkins.

"We went 8/1 and soon we realised that they were taking that price as well. At least we've given an early Christmas present to some of our clients!"

Holdsworth is known to be one of the three candidates on the shortlist for the Stags job - after nine people were interviewed last week - and has twice been strongly linked with the vacancy in the past few days.

Last week he said he was 'flattered' by the speculation, but declined 'to talk about other clubs'.

Then on Monday evening rumours spread that he was on his way to replace Billy McEwan, sacked almost two weeks ago, at Field Mill.

However, Stags chairman Andy Perry said at the weekend that an announcement on the new boss was unlikely ahead of the Boxing Day match at Kettering.

And on Tuesday morning co-owner Saunders added: "We have said all along we want someone in place by 1st January to be able to operate in the full January transfer window.

"It may be that we appoint someone sooner, but 1st January is the date we have always been working towards."

On Tuesday morning, caretaker managers Mar Stallard and Adie Moses continued to prepare for the Boxing Day trip to Kettering unsure if they would still be in charge.

"We are just taking it day to day at the moment and whoever it is will probably have been at the Weymouth game and will hopefully have enjoyed most of what they saw and seen the spirit and commitment and know they have something to work with," said Stallard.

On Sunday one of the club's managerial targets, Chris Wilder, joined Oxford.

Rumours have also linked Darren Patterson, Colin Walker, John Schofield, Richie Barker, Gary Mills and Paul Cox with the vacant job, while former Stags player Kevin Kent and Nottingham Forest legend Kenny Burns have also expressed their interest.

Holdsworth's relatively young age and non-league experience does fit criteria set by the club's new owners - Perry, Steve Middleton and Andy Saunders.

But the Stags chairman also said at the weekend that their targets did not have contracts at existing clubs which could be a stumbling block. Holdsworth is under contract at Ilkeston until the summer and it is not known if Ilkeston would release him.

Holdsworth (40), who took over as manager of Unibond Premier club Ilkeston Town in May, had a long playing career as a centre half.

The twin brother of Dean – who was most famous for his time in the Premiership with Wimbledon and Bolton – David Holdsworth played for Watford, Sheffield United, Birmingham City, Walsall, Bolton Wanderers, Scarborough and finally Gretna, and was capped once for England at Under-21 level.

His league career began at Watford where he played 250 times for manager Graham Taylor in 10 years at Vicarage Road, before moving to Sheffield United.

Then in 1999 Birmingham paid £1.25m for the defender, who had earlier gained one England U21 cap.

At the end of his playing career – spanning around 570 first class appearances – Holdsworth helped manager Sam Allardyce at Bolton Wanderers and then became reserve team manager at Gretna.

At Gretna he was also appointed director of youth development in May 2006, before being sacked in a cost-cutting exercise a few months later.

In the summer the new owner of Ilkeston Town, construction tycoon Chek Whyte, brought Holdsworth to the New Manor Ground with a vision for the club within the community.

And their hard work has paid off on the field, with the Robins in fifth place in the UniBond Premier Division and through to the second round of the FA Trophy.

Holdsworth was twice strongly linked to the Stags job last week by speculation on fans' websites and at that time was reported as saying: "I have been delighted with my time at Ilkeston Town and I hope it will continue.

"My name has been put forward for jobs three or four times now and I don't know where it comes from but, when you are successful, it is nice to be recognised.

"I want to achieve the best I can as a manager just like I want my players to reach the highest level they can.

"However, it is purely speculation and I want Ilkeston Town fans to know that I am fully focused on my job here."

"I am very happy at Ilkeston and I will never talk about another club but my contract runs out in May and that is a fact."

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Stags manager race takes new twist as Wilder joins Oxford
CHAD.co.uk, 21 December 2008, By Tim Morriss

CHRIS Wilder is out of the running to be the next Stags boss after he was unveiled as the new Oxford manager this weekend.

Full story at CHAD.co.uk here

The move had been hinted at by Stags chairman Andy Perry earlier in the weekend, when he told Chad that the club was keeping one eye on the Oxford situation.

The Stags chairman also said in an interview on BBC Radio Nottingham on Saturday that the three candidates facing second interviews for the Mansfield Town job are currently not under contract at a club.

Wilder had been reported since the beginning of last week as being one of those interviewed for the Stags position - and was one of the fans' favourites for the job.

But the Stags have been pipped for the former Alfreton and Halifax boss, who was assistant manager at Bury, by Oxford.

On Saturday Stags chairman Perry said that the club was still on track to appointing the new boss - from the now shortlist of three - ahead of the January transfer window, as they planned when Billy McEwan was sacked 10 days ago.

But yesterday's 2-1 last-gasp win over Weymouth, only the second in the BSP in 11 matches, has bought the club's three owners - Perry and co-woners Andy Saunders and Steve Middleton - a little time.

They will be re-interviewing the three candidates this week. Their identities remain unknown, but it is thought that ex-York boss Colin Walker and recently sacked Oxford manager Darren Patterson were among the nine candidates originally interviewed.

And both are currently out of work and have non-league experience - which is how chairman Perry has described the 'final' three.

It is not known if ex-Weymouth boss John Hollins - also available - has applied.

But Perry's statement on Saturday to BBC Radio Nottingham suggests that local non-league bosses Gary Mills, Paul Cox and Dave Holdsworth are not being considered as all three are under contract at Tamworth, Eastwood and Ilkeston.

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Stags manager search down to 3 or 4 candidates
CHAD.co.uk, 23 December 2008, By Stephen Thirkill

STAGS have narrowed down their search for a new manager to three or four potential candidates, chairman Andy Perry has confirmed.

Full story at CHAD.co.uk here

The un-named men were interviewed this week - club had held a total of nine interviews in the past few days - and are likely to be re-interviewed over the Christmas period, the chairman said just before kick-off of Saturday's match against Weymouth.

Perry also indicated the club, which does not expect to name the new boss until after the Boxing Day match at Kettering, is looking to appoint a manager with the necessary contacts and experience of the non-league scene.

He told Chad: "We have had interviews this week and have narrowed our shortlist down. We will talk to these people again in the coming days and see where that takes us.

"It is important that we get the right man who can work well with the board so that we can form a partnership to take the club forward.

"We are looking for a manager who has good knowledge of the non league scene and the experience to take the club back into the Football League.

"We need a manager with the contacts, experience and knowledge of the players at this level.

"All the candidates have their coaching badges so that is not a factor in choosing who to appoint. Man-management is a big credential for us.

"Whoever we appoint will get maximum support from the board to allow them to do the best job they possibly can."

Though the identities of the men interviewed and those among the three or four favourites have not been confirmed, Chad understands that ex-York boss Colin Walker and recently sacked Oxford manager Darren Patterson have been interviewed - while Bury assistant manager Chris Wilder has also been strongly linked.

Non-league managers Gary Mills, in charge at Tamworth; Paul Cox at Eastwood and Ilkeston's David Holdsworth have also been mentioned in the speculation.

Walker's assistant from his managerial days at York - Eric Winstanley - was at Field Mill on Saturday, according to reports.

Perry, who was celebrating his 40th birthday, also praised caretaker bosses Adie Moses and Mark Stallard for their professionalism in charge of the team.

"They have done an excellent job and the players have really responded well and are enjoying working with them.

"The team are giving maximum effort and really want to play for Adie and Mark and we are delighted with how they have done."


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BACKGROUND:
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http://www.watfordlegends.com/David%20Holdsworth.html
June 2008
David Holdsworth

David was a trainee at Watford with twin Dean in the late 80's and played through in to the mid-nineties. We caught up with him in June 2008 at his home in Sheffield, where he lives with his wife Lindsey and son Charlie, 3.


Hi David, thanks for talking with Watford Legends. You started out as a trainee with your brother Dean at the club. Why Watford?


Dean and I were from East London, and we played for a local team called Free United, and we were spotted by a man called Ken Brooks, who at the time was a scout for Watford, and worked with Tom Walley who was the youth team coach.


And as you progressed, you had a more successful time with Watford than Dean.


Well Dean left because he could not get in the side. He had the same aspirations as me but at the time he had a number of centre forwards in front of him. I was 'fortunate' that there was an injury to Mark Morris before a game away at Portsmouth which allowed me in to the team, and I never looked back. Dean had to take a step back by going to Brentford to take the next step forward.


Were you always a centre-half in your youth?


I was a centre midfielder as much as a centre-half. I played for my district and county at centre-half, and Watford played me there as well. So I stayed in that position. Also, to have an experienced player like John McClelland alongside me was very helpful towards my experience. He's a brilliant fella. I can still hear his voice now!


You played in some memorable games for Watford, like the famous Leeds victory. Do any games stand out for you?


To be honest, when I signed as a trainee for Watford my aim was just to play games. But to play over 300 games for the club, and captain them, was more satisfying than any one game. I am grateful to Watford for the opportunity.


And who would you say was your toughest opponent?


Jurgen Klinsmann.


Are you still in touch with any of your former team mates?


I see them all over the place. We had some great characters. I used to stay in digs with David Bardsley, and it was always great to have players like Worrell Sterling and Neil Smillie around.


You started out with Graham Taylor.


Yes I started my apprenticeship under Graham, and then I played for Steve Harrison, Kenny Jackett, Colin Lee, Dave Bassett and Glenn Roeder. A number of managers.


And if you had to pick a favourite? Could you pick one.


I learned the most under Graham, certainly in terms of discipline and professionalism.


The most contencious of those was Dave Bassett - what do you remember of those times?


I got on well with Dave. He was keen to develop youngsters, and wanted to bring his own ways to Watford. But to follow in Graham Taylor's footsteps was difficult. It's like following Jose Mourinho now in terms of stature. Watford was Graham Taylor's symbolic home. Dave was a good man, and I remember that when he went to Sheffield United, he wanted me to go there with him.



Was the dressing room divided at the time?


Well any new manager would try to stamp his authority on the dressing room, but the Graham Taylor way was still very much present in the dressing room and in the way of play. I personally was only in the reserves at the time, so it didn't hinder Dean and me, but any club is governed by what was happening in the first team.


And then moving on from Watford you went to Sheffield United for a fair size fee.


I had previously had a number of opportunities to move on, and there were other players who could/should have gone also. But I had been with the club for 11 years and felt I was very loyal to Watford, but it was the right time, I felt. Sheffield United was a great club, and I liked Howard Kendall.


And as a London boy going up north to play, was it daunting to be in a big footballing city?


I remember getting off the train in Sheffield, and as a London boy I went up there with my eyes open, which was the right thing to do. I was met by Nigel Spackman whose is a great friend of mine. Sheffield United were very welcoming, and they were good people to work with. Howard recognised my leadership ability by making me captain straight away. I had a good bond with the fans also. I was keen to stay but when Steve Bruce came in the dressing room changed as he had his own ideas. It then seemed like the right time to go to Birmingham City.


What appealed about Birmingham?


Trevor Francis bought me. He's a nice man, has a good manner and is a world renowned guy. I enjoyed working with him.


Then on to Walsall for a bit.


Walsall was a great time. I went there to get some fitness but got involved in a relegation battle. When I went there Walsall needed snookers when I arrived and was delighted when we survived and they maintained their status. I remember in my first game we beat Charlton in the cup. It was a great team effort at that time. I have fond memories.


You sound like you really enjoyed your football career.


You have good days and bad days - like losing the Youth Cup Final against Newcastle. But as a boy who kicked a ball around in East London it was a dream come true.


And then on to Gretna...


I was approached by Brooks Mileson, and we had a discussion, and I was really interested in developing this small club with him. I did a lot of work behind the scenes. We worked closely together for three and a half years, had three promotions and got to a Scottish cup final. We did alright didn't we?!


Fantastic, yes. He's not been too well recently.


It saddens me that he is so unwell. He is godfather to my son Charlie. I speak to his son Craig every day, and I just hope Brooks makes a speedy recovery. I had a great time up there, great players, great Chairman and living in Cumbria was a great place to bring up our son.


You were made redundant there?


I knew it was the right time to leave as I knew Brooks' health was worsening, and financially things were getting tough for them. People speculated that we had fallen out but it didn't happen, and wouldn't happen. Leaving seemed the honourable thing to do.


What have you been up to recently?


My wife Lindsey and I took some time out and went abroad for five months, whilst I looked for the right opportunity. But when you live in Cumbria nothing is round the corner. So I did a year's work for the BBC and other parts of the media. I was offered the first team coach role at MK Dons with Paul Ince, but I didn't feel that was right for the time.


Why?


We had moved in to a new house in Sheffield and it was a couple of hours away for a short term contract. So it wasn't quite right.


And now you're the new manager of Ilkeston Town.


Yes. I was lucky enough to be offered three jobs in three days, but I saw this as an opportunity to breathe new life in to a new club, with a new owner. The chairman and I are keen to develop a new path for the club. In a lot of respects I see parallels with the Gretna story.


Are you full-time?


I am employed full-time by the club, and the players are part-time. The players train two evenings a week and both days at the weekend, which is a little unheard of at this level. But we are trying to give the players discipline - they have targets for weight, body fat and stamina, my way will be structured.


Are you strict then?


The club finished 17th last year and we need to get higher. We're trying to be a better organised non-league club. I remember Glenn Roeder used to make us run up and down the A41 past the Watford Hilton in the rain, but you do it because it's the discipline requirement of your club.


You seem to have changed a lot of your squad since you arrived.


Well I need players who have the ability to adapt to the discipline of the club. It will be to their detriment if they do not. I ask for a good team ethic, and a good togetherness and belief.


Did you compete with your brother when you were playing?


Not so much compete. We looked out for each other. I remember being on the phone to him when Watford and Wimbledon were the last two clubs pulled out of the hat in the FA Cup draw and we couldn't believe it. At Watford we had nothing to lose - we were the smaller side and Wimbledon were a well established Premier league outfit. I was warned by our mother not to kick him that day. People would always make comparisons but we were very supportive to each other.


That game saw the 'Dead Ants' celebration!


Ha ha, yes! I remember running back after we scored. I turned to Colin Foster and said "What are they doing!!" We didn't want to join in on that one!


Do you keep an eye out for Watford now?


Of course I do. I did some work their last year for the BBC and saw some old, friendly faces. It's a lovely club and it always will be. I'd love to see them back in the Premier League.


David, thanks a lot. Good luck for next season.


Yeah, cheers. All the best.


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New regime hails exciting future for Ilkeston Town
21 May 2008, By Rod Malcolm
http://www.ilkestonadvertiser.co.uk/sport/New-regime-hails-exciting-future.4105312.jp
THE new owner of Ilkeston Town laid out a vision of a club for the community - as his manager spoke of bringing success through hard work.
Construction tycoon Chek Whyte said they would reach out to families and encourage them to the New Manor Ground, offering youngsters the chance to avoid problems with drugs and crime.

In front of fans in the clubhouse, he said: "It will be more than a football club. I am all for kids, if you look after them right, they will be all right.

"I used to live in Cotmanhay Farm and I don't think it was as bad then as it is now. There are places demolished, burnt out and boarded up.

"We have got to get kids off the street and into our community centre. Hopefully it will work," he said before introducing new manager David Holdsworth to a round of applause.

Holdsworth, a former defender with 475 Football League appearances, was picked from a list of 15 serious applicants. He will establish an academy while an under-19s team has already been set up.

"I want hungry players with a strong work ethic who will be 100 per cent committed. I don't like players who dive.

"Some clubs can progress, some can't. This one will," said Holdsworth who spoke of signing a "lovely winger" and of an interview with a 19-year-old who is "hungry for success and has a great attitude."

While working with Scottish side Gretna, he devised successful programmes to help young people combat problems of drug and alcohol misuse.

Mr Whyte plans to set up an information technology unit at the club to help the education of young people and equip them for work. "We want kids to get into a better lifestyle.

"That is why I bought the club and I want people to be better for it. It will be a great place for Ilkeston," he added.

Holdsworth said he had assessed four jobs in the last week and went on: "This is the most attractive. I am delighted to take it forward and with the new ownership we will be fine."

Mr Whyte said he was the only applicant to provide a dossier on all the current players and had been impressed with this approach.

Holdsworth, who plans talks with the existing squad shortly, said: "Wherever I have been, I have done my homework." He knew about the Unibond Premier and spoke of his good contacts in the game.

"If we have two star centre forwards go down, you have to get another one on loan. We will have a decent squad which hopefully can progress," he said.

His league career began at Watford where he played 250 times for manager Graham Taylor, who later took charge of England. He moved to Sheffield United before Birmingham City paid £1.25million for his services.

Later he helped manager Sam Allardyce at Bolton Wanderers and became director of youth development at Gretna, where he also managed a successful reserve side.

Mr Whyte said he hoped the local council and police would help establish the club at the heart of the community - and introduced Rachel Thornton who runs junior sides with her husband Steve.

She said that in the past, they had not been affiliated to the club but now felt a full part of it. She added: "We had no water, no electricity. We started with eight teams and it has grown to 24."

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