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Oxenhope get their man as Brearey returns
1:05pm Thursday 7th June 2012 in Football
Paul Brearey admitted he had to think long and hard before coming out of retirement to return to Oxenhope Recreation as manager.
The 49-year-old is back at the helm of the West Yorkshire League Premier Division side, having led them to a succession of trophies during the last decade.
Brearey left Oxenhope six seasons ago and went on to become boss of Bronte Wanderers before stepping down from management in February 2010 to spend more time with his family.
And he admitted he had to make sure ‘the fire was burning again’ before agreeing to pick up the reins at the club he first joined as a 15-year-old in 1978.
He said: “I was asked to come back when Paul O’Neill resigned (last September) but had to say ‘thanks but no thanks’ as the only way I’d want to do it was if the fire was burning for the job.
“But my heart is at Oxenhope. I started to go and watch them again and my little lad was encouraging me to give it another go.
“It is their centenary year this season and I have never had a crack at managing at a higher level.”
With player-manager Mark Bentham (pictured) keen to return to a playing role, Oxenhope approached Brearey again towards the end of last season and he agreed to return following the club’s Keighley Cup success last month.
Now the new chief is determined to build on the consolidation achieved in the club’s first campaign in the top flight, with a top-four spot and good County Cup run the aim. As well as marking 100 years, the Worth Valley club’s first and second teams are returning from playing at Marley to the village’s Recreation Ground, which has been upgraded to league standards.
Brearey, who won 17 trophies during his first ten-year stint in charge, said: “Things have progressed in the six years I’ve been away but I’m pretty confident I can make them an even better team.
“The foundations are there and hopefully I can entice one or two players up to play on what is a cracking surface.
“I’ll be looking to make us a fitter side and a bit more organised and disciplined, with a bit more commitment from one or two.
“We want to make our new ground a hard place to come to. Now we are back in the village, we should hopefully get a lot more support.
“I’m excited about the challenge. If we can get off to a good start and hit the ground running, who knows – we could be the surprise package.”
Brearey has already been awarded life membership at the club following his achievements during his previous tenure.
Oxenhope regained the Craven League Premier Division title in 2003 after a gap of 37 years.
The team went on to complete back-to-back league and cup doubles in 2005-06.
The second double was clinched in a memorable ‘must-win’ last match of the season up which saw them beat Grindleton with the last kick of the game in front of a 200-plus crowd, causing a jubilant pitch invasion.
Brearey will be joined by assistant Dave Collier, who has a long and successful playing history with Rec.
The reserve team, who gained promotion to West Yorkshire Alliance Division One at their first attempt, will continue to be managed by Tony Trowers and assisted by Rick Cummins.
Johnny Coates, Simon Knaggs and Andy Lamb will continue to look after the thirds.