Old friends on hand with support as ‘monkey’s off the back’ for Stuart King

Stuart King can recall some Banbridge Town fans looking him out three games into his first job in management - five years on, one of those same supporters was cheering the newly-appointed Carrick Rangers boss towards to a first Premiership win.

King never has to look too far for examples of the beautiful game’s contrasting fortunes...

“A few carloads of Town fans came to Carrick during the week to support me for my first home game as a Premiership manager,” said King, who has kicked off life in top-flight management with a loss to Cliftonville and victory over Warrenpoint Town following his summer arrival from third-tier Banbridge and is preparing to next host Coleraine. “It really meant a lot to see that level of backing from my old club, a place so important to me and where I met some brilliant people and made amazing friends.

“One of those guys who made the trip had actually been calling for me to get the boot early on in my Banbridge career.

Stuart King celebrating his first victory as a Premiership manager following the midweek defeat of Warrenpoint Town for Carrick Rangers. Pic by Pacemaker.

“We’ve had a laugh about it since...plus I joked with the guys on the gate at Carrick to make sure and charge him full price, not the pensioner’s rate!

“But it was really nice to see some of those familiar faces in the crowd and to get that first win was great...I would love six points instead of three but it has been an encouraging start.

“The performances shows how we can be competitive and have carried the positive momentum of pre-season into the league.

“It’s something we’ve been keen to emphasise to the players...to take confidence as every game will be a battle so it’s important to build on the positives.

“But we also realise it’s only one win - and we’ve lost one game as well.

“I’m loving every minute as a Premiership manager, it’s what I’ve wanted and at Banbridge Town you would have to do so much on your own but now I’ve a team around me helping with coaching and analysis...even the kit.

“But you still have niggly doubts in the back of the mind.

“Although I’m friends with Jim Ervin and we go back a long time, to attract a player of his standing in the game to the club a few days into taking over at Carrick was a real moment that hit home how I’m now managing at the top level.

“I’m super confident but know, too, the importance of getting that first win, that monkey’s off the back now.

“So it’s about drawing belief but that this should be treated only as the starting point.

“We must keep on working hard and fighting for progress and I’m not naive enough to think everything’s going to be rosy from here on out.

“That’s one win but we’ve 36 games to go in the league.”


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