Neil Reynolds admitted it was a bit of a weird feeling to find himself in the dugout at Colwyn Bay last Saturday as Bamber Bridge’s new manager.
The former Clitheroe and Kendal Town midfielder has spent the last five-and-a-half years as previous boss Neil Crowe’s assistant.
However, when Crowe made the big decision to resign last week following the midweek 2-0 defeat at Mossley, Reynolds was offered the top job by chairman Frank Doyle.
While naturally thrilled to be asked to sit in the Irongate hotseat, Reynolds revealed there were certainly some bitter-sweet emotions swirling around inside his mind when he took charge of the team for the first time at the weekend.
“It’s been a very big week,” said Reynolds. “Obviously when Neil resigned, I had discussions with the board and they asked me if I was interested in taking it.
“I was only too happy. It is the right time for me to become a manager and it’s very exciting. I am extremely honoured and proud to be the manager of Bamber Bridge.
“But also, I have to say, just coming out of a six-year relationship as the assistant to Neil Crowe, it was a little bit of a weird feeling for me when Crowey stepped down.
“I kind of knew at Mossley the previous Tuesday that this was going to be our last time in the dugout together. I knew he was having thoughts about it.
“He obviously stepped down and then he told the lads which was the hardest part. Me and Crowey have worked really well together over the last five years – we’ve had plenty of highs – and some lows.
“I’d like to thank him for everything that he has done for me – I have learned so much. But this is a new chapter and a new era for me and the club.”
One of the first tasks facing Reynolds was to instil some belief in a squad low on confidence. A run of eight defeats in nine games had seen Brig drop to a mid-table position in the NPL First Division North after they had topped the table in October.
A fine second-half performance against Colwyn – topped-off by a brilliant goal by youngster Regan Linney – earned Brig a much-needed point in a 1-1 draw.
They then followed that result up with a 4-1 victory over Premier Division outfit Marine at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium in the Integro League Cup.
The fact that Brig have found their goalscoring form this week is something of a relief as they had drawn a blank in seven of the eight games that they had lost in that torrid nine-game spell.
“To be honest, the previous two games when we had lost to Droylsden and Mossley, we could see things coming together,” said Reynolds.
“We just needed that goal. At Colwyn on Saturday, Regan Linney came up with an absolute wonder goal and it was just a relief for everyone that we had scored a goal.
“Once that happened – the pressure was released and it gave us the confidence to go and score a ha-tful against Marine.”
This weekend, Brig host Hyde United with the likelihood that a number of new faces will be in the squad.
Blackpool youngster Christian N’Guessan has joined on loan, while striker Chris McDonagh and winger Ryan Riley appear set to sign from Droylsden and Squires Gate respectively.
Reynolds has a major doubt over Michael Potts.
Big Interview: Reynolds reveals his footballing philosophy in Saturday’s LEP