Conference North dream keeps Holleran at Brakes

Paul Holleran believes he can deliver on his ambition of regular Conference North football for Leamington.
Paul Holleran believes he can deliver on his ambition of regular Conference North football for Leamington.

Paul Holleran said his “burning ambition” to establish Leamington in the Conference North was behind his decision to stay at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium.

Holleran will remain in charge of Brakes heading into the 2016/17 Southern League campaign after receiving the backing of the club’s board last week.

However, he said he would not have agreed to extend his stay if he felt the fans had lost faith in him.

“At the end of the day you can only be judged when you leave but I think the majority appreciate what goes on,” said Holleran.

“Some read social media too much but I think large numbers appreciate what we do.

“That’s the feeling that I get and that’s the reason I’m still here.

“I’ve got a burning ambition to get Leamington up and competing at the level above.

“And as long as I feel that is achievable that’s what I’ll keep trying to do.

“Being realistic, with the people behind the scenes there is no reason it can’t happen.”

Speaking to the Leamington Courier last week, chairman Jim Scott said promotion was the aim next season, whether that be automatically or through the play-offs.

Holleran was careful to avoid such bold statements of intent, however, aware Leamington’s lack of financial muscle means their promotion aspirations will once again be reliant on finding and refining rough diamonds. And huge slices of luck with regardto injuries.

“The budget needs changing. We haven’t got the budget of half a dozen clubs at this level.

“We’ll need to pick up players who are young and hungry and grow them into better players.

“Injuries cost us last year.

“When we had our best XI out we looked okay. We just never got it out consistently enough.

“But if we get the recruitment right there’s no reason we can’t go close again.”

Holleran announced the first of his retained players this week with Tony Breeden and Jamie Hood having agreed terms but says the bulk of his recruitment might have to wait until after clubs are back in for pre-season training.

“There are a lot of teams in this area and when there are decent players available everyone is fighting for them.

“We might have to bide our time and see where we are.”

One player Brakes will almost definitely have to make do without next season is midfielder Sam Austin who, despite having being released by Burton Albion, is attracting plenty of interest higher up the pyramid.

However, Holleran is confident he will find an able replacement, saying “over my time here there have been quite a few Sam Austins”.

n Kings Langley and St Ives Town are among the new faces set to be lining up against Brakes next season after the Southern League released the constitution of its three divisions.

The new teams in the Premier Division are Basingstoke Town and Hayes and Yeading United, both relegated from the National League South, Cinderford Town and Banbury United from the Southern League South & West Division and Kings Langley and St Ives from the Central Division.