Ross McNeilly On Dorking Wanderers, Passion For Coaching And Working Alongside Marc White

Ross McNeilly On Dorking Wanderers, Passion For Coaching And Working Alongside Marc White

An interview with Ross McNeilly, by Callum McFadden for WFi.

You are the First Team Head Coach at Dorking Wanderers working with the manager and owner of the club, Marc White. How would you sum up your time at the club so far?

“I am enjoying my time at the club so far because when I was at Aldershot Town, we played against Dorking Wanderers, and I got to know Marc through those games.

“So, when he asked me to join the club, it felt like a good opportunity.

“It is a challenge because we are a club in transition as we are working towards becoming a full-time team. At the moment, we have a hybrid model of part-time and full-time players so it is something unique for me to be involved with.

“The rise of the club has been nothing short of remarkable under Marc’s ownership with the club going from Sunday League team to National League team in less than a couple of decades.

“I am enjoying working with the group of players that we have, and we hope that our results can pick up because we want to remain in the National League and build towards the Football League in the years to come.”

What is Marc White like to work with?

“He is good to work with, I do the coaching on the grass for each session and take full responsibility for that, but Marc picks the team.

“I have an input in that as he trusts my opinion but as the manager and owner of the club, he picks the team and comes to the fore, particularly on match days.

“We have other staff who work alongside me at training, so I link in and manage them too which is something that I enjoy because I enjoy having responsibility within the first team set-up.”

How would you sum up the level of the National League because there are some big clubs within it at the moment, such as Oldham Athletic and Chesterfield?

“It is a highly competitive league, and you just have to look at the two sides who won promotion last season in Wrexham and Notts County and the impact that they have had in the EFL to see the quality of the league.

“Every game in the league is competitive and there are a variety of styles of play within the league too which means it is challenging tactically each week.

“For example, one week you play against a team like Gateshead who play possession-based football and like to control the game that way then, the next week, you face a team like Eastleigh who are a direct and physical team.

“It keeps you on your toes and a coach and it means that the challenge of each match day is unique.”

You previously worked at Aldershot as Head of Youth and then First Team Manager. What were those experiences like for you?

“At Aldershot, I was academy manager and I was in charge of developing every side below the first team.

“I enjoyed that role as I am happiest when I am out of the grass coaching and striving to improve players.

“Then, I was asked to become first team manager last season and I enjoyed taking that challenge on.

“It was tough because the club was struggling when I came into the post, so I had to hit the ground running straight away and results were of paramount importance.

“Thankfully, we won 10 out of our first 20 games when I was in charge, and I left the club in a better place than when I found it which was my aim when I took the job on an interim basis.

“Managing first-team players who I had not signed was a challenge because I did not have the time to shape the team in my image by signing players to play the way that I would ideally have liked to, but I learned so much from the experience and achieved the objectives that were set out for me.

“It has certainly given me the hunger to be a manager again in the future if such an opportunity were to arise at the right time.”

Finally, Ross, what are the aims for you in the coming years with Dorking Wanderers and from a personal perspective?

“The big challenge at Dorking Wanderers is implementing the new full-time model and making sure that we remain in the National League while we do that.

“Following that, we want to keep progressing as a club and moving forward in the right direction.

“We ultimately want to get out of the National League and move into the Football League in the future.

“You only have to look at fellow ambitious clubs such as Altrincham who have implemented a full-time model and are pushing for promotion as a result.

“Of course, it will take time but in the coming years, both for the club and myself, we want to be as ambitious as possible and achieve the best outcomes that we can.”