TERRAS: Supporters hear from new boss at forum

FROM THE HEART: Jason Matthews, centre, speaks to the fans

FROM THE HEART: Jason Matthews, centre, speaks to the fans

First published in Sport by

NEW boss Jason Matthews could end up proving a very popular manager if Saturday’s fans’ forum is anything to go by.

Around 90 fans stayed behind after the 1-0 home victory against Corby Town and were clearly impressed by the 38-year-old’s future plans.

The eloquent goalkeeper’s incredible passion for the Terras really shone through and had the audience captivated.

There were no promises or targets set down but his frank assessment of the club and realistic expectations struck a chord with the supporters.

Club chairman Nigel Biddlecombe revealed at the start of the meeting that more than 30 people had applied for the permanent manager’s position, including some very experienced candidates.

However, Matthews’ enthusiasm over the past few weeks has been infectious, both in the changing room and during meetings with the board, and it is that incredible desire that has clearly landed him the role.

He said: “It is a great privilege to manage this great non-League club.

“Five weeks ago I would have said ‘no chance’ but the bug has got me, and, more importantly, the players have reacted to me, and that is the main reason for me wanting to take the club forward.

“I feel I have a lot to give this club and I will be doing my utmost to bring in the right people for the right reasons.

“I see it as a top-eight club in Conference South and I want to take it back there.”

Matthews has already proven he has an eye for a player.

Jake Green has been impressive since joining on loan from Bristol Rovers, while his latest acquisition, George Rigg, played a starring role in Saturday’s victory on debut.

Matthews added: “A budget has been set now and it is up to me to work that budget the best way I can.

“At the moment that budget is taken up by the players that are already here but there will be some movement over the next couple of weeks.

“I want to bring in young players from Football League clubs that possess that hunger to push on.

“Nigel Biddlecombe worked a miracle to get George registered in time to play this afternoon (Saturday) and I was really pleased with his performance.

“I also feel Jake Green has been a great addition and I would like to thank Ade McDonald and the Weymouth FC Supporters Association, and all those that contribute to the Player Budget Fund, for helping to pay his wages.”

He continued: “I have got quite a few contacts in the game and one of my first jobs has been to try and form links with the Football League clubs around us so we can get their best players.

“As I said before, I want younger players that are hungry to play games and George Rigg is clear evidence of that.

“We just covered his petrol today (Saturday) and the fact that has he come all the way down here and put in a performance like that tells me a lot about him.”

The supporters at the meeting gave Rigg a special round of applause after hearing that news before Matthews continued to outline his hopes for the future.

He went on to say: “I am also working hard on trying to bring in an assistant.

“Paul Maitland and Micky Greeno have been brilliant since I have been here but I would also like to bring in someone else alongside me.

“It has got to be someone I can trust and someone who shares the same vision as me, and within the next week or so there should be some movement on that too.

“I want to get the ball down and play football and I want to create a feel-good factor.

“I have given a list to the board of what I feel the club needs and it is clear we are all singing off the same hymn sheet.”

Matthews, along with the board, have not set any specific targets for the rest of the season, only to aim as high as they can.

It is clear the new player-manager is going to need time to build his own side, but he is confident he will be able to move the club forward over the coming years with the continued support of the fans.

Other key points

*The club is keen to bring Weymouth FC Youth back into the football club and also set up an academy.

*A scouting network is already in the process of being set up across the region, particularly throughout the Wessex and Western Leagues.

*The club is working hard to secure a regular ‘full-size training facility’ at either Redlands or Budmouth.

*Bristol Rovers have been contacted with regards to increasing Jake Green’s loan by a further month.

*A goalkeeper from Saudi Arabia, who has been brought over to the UK by the club’s main sponsor, the Riviera Hotel, has been training with the club.

*Former striker Warren Byerley has repaid some money to the club for an operation he had back in 2012.

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