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8:40am Saturday 21st July 2012 in Local Sport
BARRY McConnell is determined to help the Terras get back on track following five years of decline.
The new recruit has been extremely impressed by all facets of the club since his arrival and has promised to do all he can to get the claret and blue bandwagon rolling in the right direction again.
The 35-year-old defender, who left Blue Square Bet South outfit Truro City at the end of last season, told Echosport: “This year is a new beginning for the whole club.
“I have read what it has been like over the past few years but things have changed dramatically. There are now some good people in charge and everything looks extremely positive.
“The fall from grace this club has experienced in recent times has been massive and when you look at the infrastructure here, it should not be in the Southern League, it should be in the Conference minimum.
“It’s a challenge and that is exactly why I decided to come here.
“I want to be successful. I don’t play for a hobby, I take it seriously, and I am not here just to play out the rest of my career either. I am here because I want to help the club develop and I will be doing all that I can to help get it back to where it belongs.
“That is not going to happen overnight that is for sure. Things have got to change at the club but from what I have seen so far it looks to be going about it in the right way.”
McConnell went on to add: “Before a club can be successful, first and foremost it needs to be run right. There is no quick fix unless you have millions of pounds at your disposal.
“The people here are doing the right things and all I can see is positive things coming from it but it is going to take a couple of years.
“There are a lot of good, young players here but they need help and that is what the likes of me, Danny Clay and Scott Walker have come here to do.
“When you are young, unless you are a top footballer, you don’t really know how to fully express yourself out there, and you need that bit of help and advice, and hopefully that is where we can really influence things.
“All three of us are more than capable footballers that have been in the game for years and just like me, I know Danny and Scott are both looking forward to the challenge too.
“The Southern Premier is a competitive league and when we won it at Truro, we had 14 or 15 ex-professionals in the squad but even then it took two seasons for us to get promoted.
“That proves just how tough it can be and what Weymouth needs to be looking for this season is progression.
“The last couple of years have been a struggle for the club so if we could push on this season and look for a top-half finish that would be a great effort.
“That is what we are all hoping for but it is certainly not going to be easy and we are all going to have to rise to the challenge in order to achieve that.”
When asked to comment on the strength of the current squad, McConnell said: “I have known Alex Jeannin for years and I also know Stephen Reed but apart from that many of the lads are new faces to me.
“I have heard a lot of good things about most of them and from what I have seen in pre-season training there are some very encouraging signs but I am certainly not going to shout and scream that we are going to do this or that.
“The one thing I do know is that every successful side needs a goalscorer and now Warren Byerley has gone to Kettering Town, we need a replacement.
“I don’t know the lad myself but he scored a lot of goals for the club over the past two seasons and I am sure the manager is working on filling the gap that has been left as we speak.
“If we can add that and a couple more players in key areas then I see no reason why we cannot go on to have a good year.”
McConnell, who has a sub-three-hour marathon to his name, has been leading the running drills in pre-season training despite some of the players being almost half his age.
He added: “I pride myself on my fitness and if what I do in training helps inspire some of the youngsters then fantastic.”
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