FORMER Clarets striker Andy Payton has jumped on the management ladder with North West Counties Premier Division outfit Colne.
And the 44-year-old, who has become Nigel Coates’s assistant at the XLCR Stadium, is already hoping to replicate the success of former team mates who have moved into the dugout.
Micky Mellon guided Fleetwood Town into the Football League for the first time in their history, Paul Cook has recently been appointed Accrington Stanley boss, and Steve Davis mark one helped Crewe Alexandra to League Two play-off success at the end of last season while mark two is first team coach at Bolton Wanderers.
But the Padiham Predator, who was the Second Division’s top scorer in 1999-2000 with 27 goals as the Clarets swept to promotion, earning him the Golden Boot, is refusing to get too carried away just yet and is focussed on the task in hand.
“Colne approached me,” he smiled. “It’s a good feeling when you’ve got somebody coming to you. I will bring a lot of enthusiasm to the club and I’m really looking forward to pre-season and working with the players.
“I’m up for it big time. The sky is the limit and you only have to look at the likes of Micky Mellon, Paul Cook, the two Steve Davis’, there’s a lot of players my age that have gone into professional football management.
“I’m excited to see what the North West Counties is all about and taking it from there. I’m going to do everything I can to get us as high as possible in this division. It’s a new experience for me and it could lead to anything.”
Payton initially applied for the post of reserve team manager at Colne, in the Lancashire Galaxy League, but Coates acted quickly to appoint the Clarets legend as his understudy. And Payton was full of praise for the long-serving Reds boss.
“I know Nigel because I played for Colne a few times during a pre-season when I’d finished playing professionally,” Payton said. “It was in 2003 and I found it difficult because I’d just ended a 20-year career in football. A lot of players find it tough because it’s much different. I didn’t end up signing for them.
“But Nigel has been there a long time and he’s done really well. He deserves a lot of praise for the job he’s done. To finish eighth last season is a great effort, especially when he’s working with one of the lowest budgets in that division. There’s plenty of teams with much bigger finances. His record is great.”
Now Payton wants to share his experience and knowledge.
“I’m in there alongside Nigel as assistant manager,” he said. “I’m an encourager which I think players need and I think I’ll bring a different perspective to training. I’ve got experience and I can show them new things.
“Anyone who signs for Colne FC will really enjoy their football. In pre-season I guarantee that I’ll get the players fit for the new campaign. I want to bring success to the club.”
And he wasted no time in outlining his early ambitions: “You’ve got to be ambitious and I’m certainly looking towards the top six.
“Everyone wants promotion so you’ve got to be realistic because only one team goes up. But I’d like top six at minimum.”