RONNIE Sharp was officially unveiled as the new Nairn County manager at Station Park this evening and the incoming boss could not hide his joy at being back in the post he last held 12 years ago, writes Graeme Macleod.
Sharp was Nairn County manager between 1999 and 2004 and he is now back at Station Park having been confirmed as the club's new boss this morning.
Speaking exclusively to NCFC Media, he said: "I am totally delighted to be back in the job and I did not expect it at all. I did not think about the prospect of coming back until I met with the committee and was offered the job, so it is still a bit of a blur to be honest because it has all happened so quickly."
Sharp accepted an invitation to meet with the club's Management Committee on Friday and was sold on carrying forward their vision for the future of Nairn County from that initial contact.
"When I met with the committee and saw the enthusiasm they have, it helped make up my mind to say yes to the job offer," he revealed.
"The challenge of coming in and building up the squad again also appeals to me. When I first took the job, Nairn were second bottom of the league and I had the chance to rebuild the squad back then and put my ideas over. I have that chance again and hopefully I can take the club forward. When you see the enthusiasm of everyone around the club, it was very hard to turn them down."
The 50-year-old will take his first training session tomorrow evening and has less than three weeks to work with his new players before the start of the Highland League season on July 30th.
He added: "My first port of call is to meet the players. I have spoken to some of them today but I will meet them all at the first training session tomorrow night, which I am looking forward to."
"I do not really know how they train, so my training could be totally different. It is going to be a case of getting the players to buy in to my ideas - that is going to be the main thing."
"I might train slightly differently to what they have been used to before but from the players I have spoken to, they are looking forward to it and sometimes a change is a good thing."
Sharp steps up to the manager's post from his role as coaching the under-20s, a position he took on in November.
He said: "I thoroughly enjoyed that role and it was really good to get back involved again a year-and-a-half after leaving St Ninian."
"I enjoyed my time at St Ninian but I knew it was time to leave there. I had a break and getting back involved with the under-20s was great because they were buying in to what we were trying to do. Hopefully, we can use the first team and the 20s together and everybody trains the same way. There is not a huge gap then for the 20s to step into the first team squad because they will already be used to the training. They will have done the same work and hopefully they will know the players a lot better because they will have interacted with one another a lot more. That then makes it easier for them to play together in the same team on a Saturday."
Sharp sees his former charges in the under-20s as playing a big part in the first team going forward into his second reign as the club's manager.
"Bringing through your own players is something I think Scottish football has to look at as a whole," he stated.
"There is no point in having a youth policy if you are not going to use it and that is the way I see it. We will have a core of first team players but we have to have the young boys to push these first team players and keep them on their toes."
"There are some very good first team boys and we know that from last year's squad and the boys who are still here. We do not know exactly who is still going to be here over the next few months because of the financial position the club is in and although it is a big step, young boys surprise you at times and that is a good thing. Some of them will step up to the mark with no problems whereas some will take a bit longer and that is just the way it works. I am hoping that the first team will buy in to this and help the younger boys along."
Sharp has been away from the manager's job at the club for 12 years and believes he is now far more suited to taking up the role and making a success of it.
"Hopefully I will be a bit more relaxed this time!" he stated.
"You learn as you go along. The first time I took this job, I was just a novice at it and I had five years here. We went from second bottom of the league up to fifth at one point. Working in the juniors, you have to do a lot more coaching to get the players to buy in to your ideas."
"There are 18 teams in the league, so I am in a pretty privileged position because there are only 18 managers at this level in the whole of the north of Scotland."
"I am really looking forward to it and hopefully I have changed for the better in the 12 years since I was last in this job and hopefully I am more relaxed."
The boss is looking to put together a team which will be pleasing on the eye for supporters but is asking for time to implement his methods having taken up the position so close to the start of the new campaign.
He said: "I would ask the supporters to be patient because we might have to blood a few of the younger boys, especially at the start of the season because I am coming into the job a bit late."
"What I will try to do is play as an attractive game as I can. We are not going to play an open, open game all of the time because it is about winning but I still believe it is about producing players and playing the right way - if the players play well then we win games. It is as simple as that in my view."
"Hopefully, things will go well right from the start but if they do not, I would ask for the supporters to be patient because I am confident it will come good."