Playing group the priority for Max Mitchell but new Welwyn boss excited about future

Max Mitchell was named new Welwyn Garden City manager after a whirlwind four days.

Max Mitchell was named new Welwyn Garden City manager after a whirlwind four days. - Credit: WGCFC

New Welwyn Garden City manager Max Mitchell says the playing group is his first priority but he has been impressed with the club's vision for the future.

The 32-year-old succeeded Nick Ironton as boss of the Southern League club after the previous incumbent stepped down on Thursday.

And he inherits a squad that was left reeling from the decision to block their earned play-off spot after ground grading issues.

Mitchell said: "Towards the end of last season we were all moving in the same direction and then the news hit about the play-off situation. 

"A lot of the players and a lot of people are quite emotionally drained and rightfully so, I was one of them. 

"To go from the euphoria of the big win over Kidlington to then being told by Nick that we were blocked from the play-offs, and then to see North Leigh win it as well, it was a tough pill to swallow. 

"But that is the situation we are in. 

"In a managerial role, you have to take the emotion out of it quicker than what the players do. 

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"The good thing is there is a clean slate for next season. I'll speak to them individually and as a collective, just to share a little bit of clarity in all honesty because they are owed that.

"I’ve spoken to the club and I’m happy with what it looks like moving forward. 

"The vision and the objective remain the same and we want to realise that next season." 

Mitchell first joined the club in January as a player and that has gave him the benefit of seeing first hand what the club is like.

And he believes the building blocks for something special are already there.

He said: "Being in and around the club, seeing the works that have been going on, the size of the place and the social element to the club, it has huge potential. 

"It is well supported and the catchment area around Welwyn is massive and the good thing about the club, and I have spoken to Junior Charles, the academy manager, they are looking at a pathway and growing the club to be self-sustainable long term."

He will be assisted by long-time friend, and Hertford Town goalscoring legend, Tommy Wade, while Steve Rolfe will remain on as first-team coach, both significant appointments according to the new boss.

He said: "Tommy has played over 300 games at this level and scored loads of goals for our neighbours down the road. 

"He’ll add massive value to us as a group next year, I’ve no doubt about that. 

"Rolfey is a real football man and if you speak to him, he’s got a fantastic knowledge of the game and a wealth of experience. 

"I have learned a lot from him this year in training and his communication in training and on the sidelines with the group. 

"He is someone who was a key piece in the puzzle and a fantastic person as well. 

This isn't isn't his first spell in charge at alub, having previously been at both Hertford and more recently Walthamstow.

He stepped up into a director of football role after the birth of his daughter at the beginning of pre-season but has been itching to get back in the dug-out.

"I missed it," he admitted. "I had my playing hat on last year and after joining in January, I was fully engaged in helping to steer the club towards their ambition at the time. 

"The director of football role gave me an opportunity to learn about the other side and opened my eyes a little bit at what goes on behind the scenes at a club.

"But it can only leave me in good stead for the future. 

"I’m buzzing to be back and to continue the momentum we’ve had over the last few years."