IAN Dunn has admitted his first season as player/boss of Pinchbeck United couldn’t really have gone much better.
The 31-year-old striker guided his side to a historic Peterborough Premier Division and PFA Senior Cup double, with a Lincs Junior Cup final loss the only blot on his copybook.
Although their title celebrations – and indeed Dunn’s golden boot hopes – were hampered by Oundle Town’s no-show at Saturday’s season finale, the ambitious boss has nothing but praise for the efforts of his players.
“I have to admit Saturday was a bit of an anti-climax,” said Dunn, who has taken to management like a duck to water. “We were five goals off 100 for the season and I needed a goal to get the golden boot, so there was much to play for.
“You can’t blame the Oundle management, it was the players who pulled out. If they can’t be committed, they should play at a lower level of football. But we didn’t let that spoil the party.
“In the end we were comfortably champions. People have tried to knock the achievement, but it’s been done with players that have mostly played at this level.
“We’ve worked hard as a unit and the lads have been great. When I took over I wanted us to train and play to UCL (United Counties League) standard – and that’s what we’ve done.
“On a personal note, it’s been a brilliant first season in management too. I couldn’t really have asked for much more.
“We should really have won three trophies, but doing the double more than makes up for it.”
Dunn cites the title-clinching 4-2 success at runners-up Kings Cliffe United as his moment of the season, while he feels two lengthy unbeaten runs at key moments of the season were the catalyst for their league glory.
But he’s keen not to rest on his laurels. After taking a short break over the next few weeks, the United supremo is intent on strengthening his squad – and also has designs on taking the club into the United Counties League.
One of his main summer priorities is also convincing defender Lee Marshall to stay on at the club. The converted centre half has signalled his intention to retire, but Dunn reckons he could be talked into staying.
The player/boss added: “Marshy is younger than me! He’s been great this year – equally as good as Matt Hocking, who has been a professional in the past.
“I’m hoping that after a few weeks of rest, he’ll realise that he’s still got plenty to offer.
“Keith Gray and Jimmy McDonnell are also considering if they want to play on, so we may have to make a few changes. Obviously our rivals will look to improve, so we can’t afford to stand still.
“The ultimate goal is promotion – that’s one of the reasons I came to this club.”