Jon Haile on Weston FC: ‘Northmore had to go but now it is time to take the whole club forward’

Weston FC

Weston FC - Credit: Archant

It has been a testing opening two months of the season for Weston Football Club, with a damning run of eight defeats in a row ultimately costing their manager of two years his job.

But in an exclusive interview with the Mercury, the new caretaker manager – and the club’s director of football development – has revealed he has big plans for the club which extend beyond the first team.

Jon Haile is a member of the board at Weston and has a host of experience in the game.

He had a successful spell alongside Craig Laird from 2010-2012 before moving to Sky Bet Championship club Bristol City.

Haile then went on to work at Liverpool Football Club, with their academy side, before returning to the Seagulls at the start of this season.

Jon Haile

Jon Haile - Credit: Archant

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In conversation with the Mercury he said there were a number of things which prompted his return to the West Country, including family ties.

Haile was heavily involved in the decision to let Weston manager Ryan Northmore go and he said something had to change after their poor run of defeats – the last of which saw Weston limp out of the FA Cup against opposition two leagues below them.

Haile said: “I think something had to be done. I think Ryan is a great coach but something was wrong and wasn’t working.

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“We all wish Ryan all the best and I am sure he will be successful in whatever he does next but that is the business of football.”

Haile took charge of Saturday’s match at league leaders Maidenhead – which saw them defeated again 3-0 – and Tuesday’s Somerset Cup match at home to Shepton Mallett.

He added: “I was always going to take over as caretaker as I am responsible for all football development, so the football side is down to me.

“I always said I was not coming back to Weston for the manager role.

“We have one of the strongest squads this season since I have been involved at the club and there is so much more going on that is positive.

“I want us to have the best academy in the South West and that means developing players for the first team and players for the bigger clubs.

“We have had a number of scouts watching our Under-18s games. We want parents to come and realise Weston is the place to bring their youngsters.”

Haile told the Mercury there is no short term plan to get Weston’s first team tasting success but he did reveal the aim is to play Conference National football – a league above the level they are at now.

“We need 500 fans a game for Conference South and around 1,000 fans for Conference National,” Haile said. “I have seen it with clubs like Eastleigh and Forest Green, but it has taken time for them to get to the point they are at now.”

The next topic on the agenda was unsurprisingly the vacant manager position, which Haile is hoping will be filled by the time Ebbsfleet visit The Woodspring Stadium on October 8.

The caretaker manager said: “We have had a lot of responses – from the sublime to the ridiculous.

“But I think it is a great job for someone.”

The club are holding interviews this week and Haile said the main priority is recruiting someone who has the ‘same ideas’ as the club and who ‘knows this level of football’.

But the current boss also believes the football club ‘needs to be the centre of the town’ and it is down to the club to improve its appeal, as well as the players’ performances on the pitch.

“It is an exciting time for the club and I hope the fans can see that,” he added.

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