Uhlsport Hellenic League
Published 16th July 2012
Mark Coles, 47, replaced David Tuttle ahead of the new campaign, where Henley will compete in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One East.
The club was thrown out of the Premier Division for failing to fulfill facility requirements and has been stricken with financial problems over the past few months but Coles said he is confident of a promising future.
He told the Henley Standard: “I know the club well and I plan to get it back on its feet playing-wise if I can.
“It’s my blueprint, my team and my expectation of the players but we’ll take things one step at a time. I don’t have to answer to anyone other than the chairman. Hopefully I can get a few decent results but I’m not planning to win the league this year. A mid-table finish would be nice because I’ve got a totally new squad.
“A little cup run would be nice as well, particularly in the FA Vase as this would generate some much-needed funds for the club.
“All the first team have gone and the reserves are stepping up. One or two of them have gone and one or two won’t make it but we’ve also got ten new players training so far.
“There are also some players who were disillusioned under David and left last season but have come back, which is good.”
Coles joined the club last season as reserve team manager but was elevated to the first-team after being offered the job by temporary chairman Jack Hollidge on the final day of the campaign.
His predecessor had announced at Christmas that he would leave at the end of the season and he has since been joined by many of Henley’s first-team squad at his new club Hartley Wintney.
Coles said: “I hadn’t planned on taking over the first-team, or at least so quickly, but it was always going to be my goal to become first-team manager because I’ve always followed Henley’s results.
“I said I wanted it after David announced his resignation. I spoke to Jack and the committee and they offered me the job.
“I’m happy to get it. It’s a shame what’s happened to the club with regards to the finances but from a personal point of view I’m a club man.
“I don’t plan on going anywhere too soon unless whoever is the chairman decides I’m not the right person and sacks me.”
Coles, who is a team leader in a warehouse in Didcot, where he lives, was manager of Hambleden for seventeen years.
He won the Wycombe & District League Junior Cup in 2002 and the Premier Division in 2005 during his time there.
Having also occupied the roles of club secretary and physio, Coles is prepared to take on duties off the pitch as well.
Already, he has arranged for a free kitchen to be fitted by his brother David’s company and he will take charge of tidying other areas in the ground, such as the kit room.
His father-in-law Ian Bogart’s building consultancy services firm will sponsor the home kit this season.
Peter Sinclair, his assistant in the reserves, will also make the step up to the side while Simon Johnson will become first team coach and Ashley Trice physio and goalkeeping coach.
Coles said: “I’ve put together an excellent backroom staff and we are really buzzing. We can’t wait to get going. The league we are in is only one division above the reserves but the biggest challenge is their fitness levels have to improve a lot. That’s where we will gain points.
“When other teams are more experienced and we’re trying to get a goal, if our fitness levels are where I require them to be, the last 20 minutes is where we should win a few points.”