Former Wrington Redhill manager Alan Smith pays tribute to Colin Clark

PUBLISHED: 15:00 11 June 2020

Alan Smith managed Wrington Redhill for five years between 2011 and 2016.

Alan Smith managed Wrington Redhill for five years between 2011 and 2016.

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“Colin became my friend when he was chairman of Clevedon in the Western League and he appointed me as manager,” writes Alan Smith, as he pays tribute to Colin Clark.

Alan Smith with Rich Lucas after Nailsea & Tickenham to the 2018 Somerset Senior Cup.Alan Smith with Rich Lucas after Nailsea & Tickenham to the 2018 Somerset Senior Cup.

Smith left Wrington Redhill in 2017 to become the new manager of Nailsea & Tickenham.

He is still involved now as their first-team director after his son Jamie, along with Nic Steadman, became the new joint managers of the Somerset County League Premier Division side.

“After the well published demise of the team, Colin and a previous chairman began watching games together,” said Smith.

“After a season out of football we were travelling back from a pre-season friendly at Bishop Sutton, when Colin said we should call into the club at Wrington Redhill for a pint.

“I don’t recall ever having visited the club during my football career. I remember the length of grass was the same length, long, and didn’t know where the pitch was.

“Just before entering, Colin ambushed me. He told me the club had been bottom of lowest league in Somerset and had been for several seasons.

“He asked if I could speak to the Committee and tell them what was going wrong. On entering I was met with a circle of strangers and one empty chair.

“I was grilled for an hour and pulled no punches. I explained how to build a successful team.

“One member of the committee asked why they should believe me.

“Colin, who was stood at the bar jumped up and asked me to pop outside. All I could see was my previous two chairmen in animated conversation.

“When I returned, they asked me to run the team. I laughed. I didn’t want to manage, let alone the worst team in Somerset. Colin bought me a pint and said ‘imagine the journey’.

“I called my coach, Lee Probert. When he stopped laughing, he agreed. On returning I demanded a number of guarantees.

“A decent playing surface, thanks Trevor, decent kit and training facilities, thanks Marco Pierre White and Nick Taplin.

“Total support from the committee and thanks to John Clements, Simon Bull, Bill Gough and Nick Finch.”

He added: “Colin was part of the deal helping on the management side. Promotion upon promotion, great players and great fun. Colin always there picking me up after a defeat and putting my feet firmly on the ground when I got above myself.

“My final season saw us finish near the top of the Premier Division and our final game was The Somerset Cup Final, which we won, topping 125 years of Wrington history.

“This is one of the few pictures you will find of Colin in one of the best days of our life.”


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