Blue Square Bet
Published 10th May 2012
....Premier next term on a wage-bill described by his predecessor, Gary Lowe, as “unworkable”.
McNiven is the surprise choice to lead Hyde into their historic first season in non-League football’s top-flight after Lowe stunned the Tameside club by quitting within a fortnight of steering them to promotion as Conference North champions.
Lowe’s shock resignation was prompted by his failure to agree a budget with Hyde’s owner, John Manship, who set a figure which the former Curzon Ashton chief said gave him little or no chance of keeping the Tigers up.
But 33-year-old ex-Oldham defender McNiven, who had a successful spell as Hyde’s caretaker-manager a year ago but left when Lowe took over, insists he’s not daunted by the prospect of working within the confines of what’s likely to be the national Conference’s smallest pay package.
He said: “Only time will tell if Gary Lowe was right, but me and my assistant, Gavin McCann, are ready to rise to the challenge set for us by Hyde even though we know the budget here will probably be the tightest in the division.
“I know what Hyde fans want and I certainly know what the owner wants.
“I’ll keep my expectations private, but me and Gavin will certainly be looking to keep Hyde in the national Conference and, hopefully, make an impact.
“It’s a terrific chance for us both – and we’re thrilled to have been offered it.”
The Lytham St Anne’s-based pair are life-long friends, having first played football together as seven-year-olds, with McCann going on to clock up more than 300 Premier League appearances for Everton, Sunderland, Aston Villa and Bolton while also being capped once for England, against Spain in 2001.
McNiven added: “It’s a real coup to have attracted Gavin to Hyde.
“Not only does he have vast experience of playing at the highest level, he’s also close to becoming a UEFA ‘A’ licensed coach.
“He and I will be looking to keep as many of Hyde’s championship-winning squad as possible, while also exploring opportunities to strengthen.
“You don’t have a season like Hyde have just had without having a great team spirit, so, hopefully, we can keep the nucleus of the squad together.”