As we prepare for our league clash against Stalybridge Celtic, we had a chat with First Team Coach David Dempsey to talk about his playing career and his journey into coaching and management.
First of all Dave highlighted how welcoming everyone at the club had been, making it easy for himself to settle in and help Brad from the off. This is the cornerstone of the club!
As a player, Dave was a product of the Wigan Athletic Academy, a highly rated youngster who started his playing career with Clitheroe as a teenager, making over 60 appearances for The Blues. A central midfielder and left back, described by a certain Matt Lawton as “combative” during his time at Leigh Genesis, he clocked up over 200 appearances at Northern Premier League level. He also representing Kendal town before captaining Runcorn Linnets in the North West Counties under Steve Wilkes.
Also on his CV is a spell in Wales where he won the Cymru Alliance with Connah’s Quay Nomads, gaining promotion to the Welsh Premier League before a 4 year stint at Prescot Cables. During this time, Dave had the opportunity of a spell at the Colls through his links with Warren Jones but at a mere 27 years old, he hung up his boots and dug out the golf clubs. Family commitments coming first.
Having coached at Liverpool’s academy and owning his own coaching franchise, the lure of the game was too strong and when Ashton Town made contact, Dave took responsibility for rebuilding the club after they dropped out of the North West Counties into the Cheshire League.
Starting the season with just 2 players, Dave built a squad, including former Collsmon James Sigsworth, that immediately returned to the Counties. The call from Brad Cooke came as Town sat in third place in Division One, a remarkable job, earning their Manager of the Decade accolade.
“I couldn’t refuse the offer from Brad to work at this level. I played with him and against him, he’s taken the dedication he had then into management. His professionalism shines through”.
“Since we’ve come in, due to the festive period and the amount of games, we’ve only had a few training sessions but the lads have bought into what we want, last night was a light session due to the game and the travelling on Tuesday. But confidence is high, we are in good form and created chances against Barrow, with our fullbacks pushing on, we took Barrow to the end”.
“We want the lads to enjoy their football, work harder than the opposition, we’ve got the quality; as proven”.
“In this league, the play-offs introduce pressure, pressure to beat teams like Atherton Collieries. For us, we can go out and express ourselves, it makes for a level playing field”.
“I’d like to put on record my thanks to Brad for the opportunity and believing in me, to the club for the welcome, but mostly to the lads for their application, their trust, taking on board what we want, they’ve been brilliant”.
“We’re really happy with the direction we are going in, we’re looking at a strong finish in the Northern Premier League”.
We’d like to thank Dave for his time, he’s a busy man with having to keep driving up to Barrow-in-Furness!