Written by Nairn County FC October 1st 2016

NAIRN County manager Ronnie Sharp has agreed a new three-and-a-half year deal. The boss will now be contracted to the club until the end of the 2019/20 season. Sharp initially agreed a one-year contract when he became manager of Nairn County in July but he has now pledged his long term future to the club. Delighted chairman Donald Matheson said: "This is an indication of the Board and the Committee's support for what Ronnie is trying to achieve at the club. We feel he has made a positive start and when the subject of issuing him with a long term contract was discussed, it was decided unanimously to enter into negotiations with him immediately to safeguard the long term stability of the playing side of the club." "Now that we are into the heart of the new season and the turnover of players has settled down, we were able to enter into negotiations with Ronnie and after a couple of brief meetings with myself and Graeme Macleod (Director of Football), we were able to swiftly agree terms." "Ronnie picked up the reins at short notice and had next to no time to assemble a squad capable of competing in the Highland League prior to the start of the current season." "He wasted no time in shipping out those players who did not want to be here and made no concessions for any individuals regardless of their status within the squad." "That allowed him to clear the decks quickly and begin assembling his own squad, although it is worth nothing that less than a week before the opening game against Brora Rangers, we only had seven signed first team players." "He was given the mandate of building up a competitive squad as quickly as possible and I feel he has achieved that when you look at some of the results the team has achieved this season." "Yes, there have been some disappointing days along the way and undoubtedly there will be one or two more before the season is out but I would prefer to focus on the positive and that is we have gone from being left with just seven senior players to having a competitive squad where no one is guaranteed their position in the starting line up and a team who, I firmly believe, are capable of giving any side in the Highland League at least a run for their money on any given day." "What's more, Ronnie has significantly reduced the average age of the playing squad and the starting eleven by introducing a number of young talents and this can only bode well for the future of Nairn County Football Club." "I am delighted that he has agreed to sign this new contract and I look forward to working with him throughout its duration." Ronnie Sharp said: "When I first came into the job, I was happy to operate without a contract as we had a lot of work to do to get the team ready for the start of the season and not a lot of time to do it." "Now that things have settled down, I feel it is the right time to pledge my future to the club. I have outlined to the Board and the Committee my plans for the future of the club and I am delighted that they are supportive of what we are trying to achieve." "We are still trying to find out what players can do at this level and I would envisage that process continuing until the end of the season. It is a totally new team with players like Jason Morganti and Calum Riddell coming in from junior football while people like Gary Kerr, Jamie Mackay, Chris Moir and Stephen Mackenzie stepped up from the amateurs in the summer. These guys all need time to adapt to this level because it is a big jump to take both technically and in terms of fitness." "We have brought Jordan Macrae, Dylan Mackenzie and Jack Maclean into the team and they have all played a lot of games already despite still being in their teens while Reece Barton, Callum Ednie and Matty Macleod have made their debuts with Fraser Wilkie, Ryan Macleod and Craig Munro in and around the first team as well. These players will all have two or three seasons in the Highland League under their belts by the time they hit their early 20s if they stick with us and that can only be good for the club going forward. You have also got Dylan Maclean in goals playing his first full season of adult football and he is getting better with every game as well." "Even the boys who were here last season have to evolve – previously, there were big characters in the dressing room alongside these boys but now they have to step forward and be the leaders themselves to help the younger and more inexperienced players along and they are doing a good job at adapting to that." "I am delighted to be given the opportunity to build on the small steps we have taken already and hopefully we can take significant strides forward for the club." Graeme Macleod

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