Chester FC: Departed assistant manager reflects on 'brilliant' three-and-a-half years
Gary Jones and Neil Young plan to renew the partnership that delivered three titles in three seasons for Chester FC.
Jones left his role as assistant manager this month, 37 days after his best friend Young departed.
“The last three-and-a-half years have been brilliant,” said Jones.
“It was great to work with all the volunteers and board members and I wish the club and everyone only the best.”
Jones, who came with Young from Colwyn Bay, took his family on holiday to Egypt after he and new boss Steve Burr decided a clean break would be best for all parties.
“As soon as I stopped playing I went to Colwyn Bay and then came to Chester so my family haven’t seen much of me on Saturdays,” said Jones.
“It was good to have a little chill out but I’ve spoken to Neil and we’re going to start watching a few games and look at some players with an eye on the future.”
When Young left the club, Jones agreed to stay on as caretaker manager and showed some interest in the top job.
But the friendship runs deep and the pair are keen to see if the partnership can continue to blossom elsewhere.
“With what we’ve achieved we would like to think our names will be bandied about,” said Jones.
Chances are there will be plenty of non-league chairman interested in bringing the pair on board.
But having seen how tough the Skrill Premier can be for part-time clubs, Jones said there was no rush to get back to work.
“We’re probably looking to take the next step now and that would be going into a full-time club,” he said.
“It’s very hard working with players once or twice a week and trying to compete in a full-time league as a part-time club.”
Jones admits he found that task tough this season, but believes the experience will stand him in good stead for the future.
He said: “It probably sounds weird but I really enjoyed the challenge of this season and I’ve learned more about tactics and sussing out opponents.
“We cruised through the first three seasons but we were up against big clubs with full-time players and bigger budgets.
“It’s hard for a club like Chester to be able to compete but that’s the challenge the club has and I really hope they can build and meet it.”
Jones left the Swansway Chester Stadium with many happy memories and the ex-Tranmere Rovers man said he had no hard feelings about his departure.
“We had some brilliant times,” he said.
“Seeing the ground packed for the first home game and the nerves at Garforth in the first season, the win over Northwich in the second season with Matty McGinn scoring and then seeing us break all those records last season.
“From starting with not having a ball to kick to winning three promotions, it has all been great.”