FORMER players staying involved in the game at some capacity when finished playing can prove vital for the survival of a club.
Quite often we see footballers hang up their boots and walk away from the game which for me is disappointing.
The knowledge and experience they could give back to the sport is so important to bring through the next generation.
Recently, I caught up with Everton Junior Manager Kevin Quirke and here he tells us about the transition from player to manager and his hopes for the season.
“I had always shown an interest in the coaching side of things even while as a player and when the Everton United position became available and it was mentioned to me, I think I knew fairly early on in that I would be stepping over the line from playing to management,” said Quirke.
“Having the support and freedom going into my first adult management position from Chairman Stephen Crowley and the Club has been a monumental help and something I'm very thankful for.
"While Everton wasn’t my schoolboy club, the welcome and relationship I have built with this club over the past eight years makes it feel like I have been here since a boy, and that’s really down to the club ethos and everyone involved in the club buying into that.
"It’s a special club that’s only going from strength to strength and it’s a great place to play football.
“Pre-season has been going very well for us. I came in as manager almost immediately at the end of last season so it gave me a good opportunity to plan and organise a good strong five or six weeks.
"We’ve had five really tough friendlies both home and away which has given us a great platform to both see where we were at that time, and what we needed to work on in training the week after.
“The numbers we have been getting to training has been phenomenal, and that’s a huge credit to the group for turning up and driving each other on every single week.
"The difference between week one and now is huge and that’s all because of the effort they have put in and it’s a dream for someone like me to see it play out like that.
"The commitment from the lads at training also allows us to work on ball work as much as we have to work on fitness and that is because I know they put 100% into every session myself and the management team puts in, again it’s a fantastic environment to be in.
“We’ve been able to keep the majority of the squad that was there last season and I was delighted with this, the core group is very strong in this team with the likes of Josh O’Sullivan, Joe O’Mahony, Gavin Smith all being huge characters in the dressing room and as a new manager coming in it was important for me to have all those lads kept on.
"We have also brought in some valuable experience in the form of lads like Niall O’Leary, Shane Forde and Ross Hickey who can drive this team on even further both on the pitch and what they bring off the pitch.
"I was absolutely delighted to be able to sign Ben McSweeney, Craig Slattery and Cillian Goulding from our Youth side who have now entered into Adult football, and they have come in and trained and played as if they were with adult teams the last few years, it really has been so impressive and huge credit to the three of them for what they have brought to this squad.
“The underage system is the backbone to any successful club, its crucial that its in place, and that its done correctly.
"Everton's Denis Irwin Academy is our starting point and this has been incredibly successful for the club in getting local kids playing football from an early age in a friendly and educational environment.
"As they progress through the years we can see that they have three adult teams who will all need their skills to join up with, and that channel from schoolkid to adult football means that Everton can progress players on a yearly basis.
"This season I have taken three youth players and between the other Junior side and Senior team I know there are a lot more signed to them and that is crucial for me as a manager, and for themselves as players to continue their playing careers.”