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News Archive > Sport > Can new Blazey boss Lafferty stir a sleeping football giant?

Can new Blazey boss Lafferty stir a sleeping football giant?

By Tom Howe 10th February 2021

Can new Blazey boss Lafferty stir a sleeping football giant?

New St Blazey boss Phil Lafferty has bullishly predicted that his appointment will stand the club in good stead to replicate their unprecedented success under the late, great Trevor Mewton, writes Gareth Davies.

Speaking exclusively to the Voice, in his first public interview since replacing Blazey’s previous management pair Matt Hayden and Shaun Vincent, new Blaise Park chief Lafferty spoke of the club as one with ‘masses of potential’ and described the Green and Blacks as a ‘sleeping giant’.

Lafferty, who privately declared his interest in taking the position to the Voice before Hayden and Vincent were involved in a breach of covid-19 rules before Christmas, has now seen those aspirations become a reality. 

Back at Blaise Park after two spells as assistant boss to Dave Philp and Glyn Hooper after Mewton had left the club in 2007, Lafferty was, it is understood, Blazey’s number one choice to take the managerial hot-seat despite Voice sources revealing the club had spoken with their former boss and current Bodmin town joint-manager Alan Carey too. 

“Anyone that knows Cornish football won't need reminding of what this club represents,” Lafferty said when asked why he has returned to St Blazey. “There is masses of potential and it is a sleeping giant.

“Some people might think that statement is a bit cliched, but this is a club that has got everything. No disrespect to any other previous management teams but I think this time the club are being given an even better chance of getting back where it belongs.

“Being in the locality, living where I do and knowing a few players around the area, I think it is a perfect time and a perfect opportunity.

“St Blazey were always on my radar. I have lived in St Blazey for 20 years and followed the club for that period of time. Obviously my affiliation with St Austell for a couple of years meant I was St Austell through and through, of course I was, but I tended to follow what went on at Blazey.

“I have had a previous position as a number two under two legends of this football club in recent history. I have made it known to the officers of this club many times that I feel I have unfinished business at this football club.

“The potential, the history and the facilities of this football club is a massive selling point to football players. I am fortunate enough to have that opportunity and feel I have the time, because of the circumstances put upon us, with potentially five months until the new season starts again, to start rebuilding and put things back together again. I couldn't be prouder to have the opportunity to do it.”

Despite the understandable positivity that emanated from Lafferty, he does face a complete rebuilding job with the bulk of Blazey’s playing squad also leaving the club for their part in the covid rule break scandal. 

However, instead of looking at this seemingly substantial task with trepidation, Lafferty insists he is excited about the challenge of shaping a new playing group. 

“You never get anywhere without a few challenges,” he remarked, defiantly. “I wouldn't be coming back to a football club, where it was all pre-built and put together and I was only needed to take the reins and carry on in a similar direction. 

“That's no good to me as my experience as a number two or an outright manager is to build teams and dressing rooms, by bringing people together for all the right reasons, with a massive hunger to succeed. The rebuild doesn't scare me and in actual fact, it excites me.”

Reviving fortunes on the field won’t be the only job Lafferty faces after becoming Blazey manager as, indirectly, he is also tasked with rebuilding the club’s damaged off-field reputation too.

The coronavirus related incident and subsequent fall-out which resulted in the vacancy arising, which was first reported by the Voice and went onto make national headlines, saw the great name of St Blazey dragged through the gutter.

Lafferty was keen to stress, however, that this is a new chapter in the club’s history and enthused about creating a new, positive vibe around Blaise Park which will result in Blazey becoming ‘even better’ whilst he is in charge.

He said: “People's opinions that are worth anything, be it attached to this football club, Cornish football all across the South West will know that St Blazey had absolutely no part to play in what happened.

By Tom Howe 10th February 2021

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