AFTER the conclusion of a very disappointing campaign, Cork City are forging ahead with plans for a bright 2020.
Club legend Joe Gamble has been unveiled as the new assistant manager to work alongside his former team-mate Neale Fenn.
Southsider Gamble was a league winner in the 2005 campaign when Fenn led with attack, and as a tough-tackling midfielder in his pomp will no doubt bring some drive to the backroom set-up.
The 37-year-old most recently coached at Waterford FC and Limerick FC and first started out with City at youth level. He returned to the club in 2004 after a spell in England, going on to win a league, FAI Cup and Setanta Sports Cup before departing in 2009. He also remains the only player to be capped at senior international level by the Republic of Ireland whilst playing for City, winning two caps in 2007.
Gamble said he was "ecstatic" to be appointed to a key role with the club he loves.
"I left the club 10 years ago as a player, so it has taken me 10 years to get back here, which is just the way football goes. This has always been my club, and I didn’t think it would take this long for me to get back here! I have great passion for this club and my time here as a player was probably the most enjoyable part of my playing career.
"Obviously, I am now a coach and I just can’t wait to get going.”
Gamble is hoping this will be a "new chapter" at the Cross.
"Neale and myself are here now, and we want to be successful. We know there are a lot of good young players at the club and around Cork; there is fantastic work being done in the academy and there is great potential there, so we need to help them realise that potential and make them into first team players."
A balance will have to be found between blooding newcomers and ensuring the core of the squad is balanced.
“It will take time to bring young players through, but we want to be competitive. We want to be up in the top half of the table and more. We are Cork City and we want to be competitive; nothing else bar that sort of ambition and drive will be acceptable.
“As a Corkman and having been involved in great nights at Turner’s Cross, we want teams to come here and have to earn anything they get. Home or away, we want to be tough to beat and be competitive.”
Fenn said: “I know the type of character he is. He’s a winner and he’s also a highly qualified and respected strength and conditioning coach as well, which brings another dimension to the staff here.
“It is important that we have a strong Cork core in the squad and the staff, and Joe is certainly one of those. He lives and breathes Cork City, and I know he will put his heart and soul into it.”