Harrowby United boss wants to put the club on the map when football returns
Harrowby United’s manager is in his third season with the club, but is still yet to complete a full campaign.
Jamie McGhee, aged 31, took over in February 2019 and had just two players available for his first game as boss.
Since then, the club have made significant improvements both on and off the field. Although the rest of this season is in doubt, the Arrows have shown their promotion credentials this year, losing just once in their 10 games played.
Currently sitting in fifth place, wins from their two games in hand would take them within two points of top spot in the United Counties League Division One.
As well as this, the club have made great strides off the pitch, using the abnormally long periods without competitive football to enhance the club’s facilities.
The Arrows have renovated their club house, replaced pitch side fencing and invested in portable floodlights, among other things. All of which was made possible with the help of volunteers and grant funding secured by the club.
Speaking about the new facilities, Jamie said: “It’s brilliant. It’s a far cry from what it was. Not only that, it now becomes an attractive place to be at, especially as a manager.
“As well as turning that ground into a more up to date football ground, it becomes a more attractive place to come for players.
“The club is really backing the process of making the ground look really good.
“Not only for players, but fans. More fans will want to come and see it and if we can perform on the pitch, then the fans will stay.”
During his playing career, Jamie ran out for Grantham Town, Boston United and Mansfield Town, plying his trade as what he describes as “an old-fashioned type winger. I’d get stuck in, hence why I always got injured!”
Throughout his playing days, Jamie had often been a leading figure, captaining both Grantham and Boston to the play-offs and lifting a league title at the Gingerbreads.
Jamie said: “As time wore on, I had in my mind that I wanted to be late thirties before I managed and then, before I knew it, I was 29 when I got the Harrowby job, so I was really young in management terms at least.
“I got injured at Grantham, the new management team came in from Harrowby and they decided that they wanted to go in a different path and let a few of us go. I was one on that list, then Harrowby got in contact with me and said did you fancy coming to Harrowby? And I thought to myself, well, I can’t get injured standing on the sideline, so let’s do it.
“When I took [the job] on, we had two players available before the first game on the Saturday. It was a bit of a baptism of fire for me. Never been a manager in my life before.
“It was a tough task. I was under no illusions, but I was very driven as a player to succeed, so I’ve put everything into what I’ve done at Harrowby and the last two seasons, before the league was cut short, you can see the changes that myself and my management team have made. We’ve come a long way.”
When asked if there was a standout performance from his team this season, Jamie mentioned their opening day 6-1 win at Rushden & Higham United FC. However, the showing that pleased him most was a 1-1 draw with Holwell Sports FC, because, despite going one down to a looping cross that found its way in the net, his players trusted the process against a steely and deep defence, eventually getting a deserved equaliser.
Jamie has high hopes for his Harrowby team, with his eyes set first on promotion to the UCL Premier Division.
He said: “When I first got the job, as I said I was a player who wanted to achieve, I never wanted to sit mid table and just be in a team for the sake of being in a team. I’m here to achieve something.
“Realistically, [my aim is] step four, which is two leagues above us, because that’s where I mainly plied my trade as my career came to an end.
“The clubs there, you’ve got Spalding, Lincoln, Stamford, teams like that, that are local to Harrowby and Grantham that would be great for the fans to get those teams coming down nearly every week.
“So, that’s my ambition. Obviously, I want to get us to the UCL Premier League. That’s my short term goal on that front, but my long term goal is step four.
“People might think I’m a bit optimistic, but I’m aiming for promotion this season, if we do carry on. Failing that, promotion next season then I want promotion straight away. I want back to back promotions, because I’ve lost two seasons to the pandemic. That’s what I’m after, getting this club on the map really.”