Feeney aims to lead Gers into the promised land

Lee Feeney (right) signs as the new Banbridge Rangers Manager. Looking on is his Assistant Manager Glenn Moffett.
Lee Feeney (right) signs as the new Banbridge Rangers Manager. Looking on is his Assistant Manager Glenn Moffett.

Banbridge Rangers’ new boss is hoping he is the man to lead them into the Promised Land.

Former Rangers forward Lee Feeney was announced as Richard McMinn’s successor on Friday and he knows where he wants to go.

The Gers harbour hopes of progressing beyond Mid-Ulster football into the Northern Ireland Football League and that’s where the new boss is setting his sights.

“The club’s ambition is to go into the football league by winning Intermediate A - that’s my aim,” he said.

“They believed last season that they could do better and I want to help deliver on their hopes.

“It’s going to be tough to win the league in the first season but my ambition is to do it whether it takes one season, two seasons or whatever.”

Of course, in order to do that, the club would need to have their house in order off the pitch and gain a Championship License . The new boss says he has been assured that is being looked at.

“My job is to get us to that position on the pitch. I trust that they (the board) will do everything off the pitch,” he said.

Feeney brings with him a wealth of experience. He hit the headlines almost 20 years ago when his starring performances for Linfield earned him a six figure move to Glasgow Rangers in December 1998.

He only made one senior appearance for the club and after a spell in Australia, returned home to Northern Ireland, where he played for Linfield, Glenavon and finished his career playing for several local clubs.

Feeney has previously taken brief caretaker control at both Orchard City and Rathfriland Rangers, where he played last season, but is now looking forward to beginning his managerial career proper.

He said: “This will be the first real test where I can do things my way.

“I wouldn’t say it was always my goal though. The more I was involved in football, I was working my way up and the older I got, the more managers were asking me to help out and then now I find myself as a manager.

“There were a few clubs that contacted me and said they were interested in me taking over.

“I took my time and spoke to all of them. No stone was left unturned. I spoke to people about each club and every time, it kept coming back to Banbridge Rangers.

“Then when I spoke to the chairman for the final time, I asked for a few days to make sure it was the right decision for me.

“I’m delighted to take it on and confident it’s the right move. Everything is there for me to achieve what we want to achieve.

“One of the main reasons I decided to join was the playing squad there. When I looked at the list of players, it really convinced me to make the move.

“Talking to the chairman about the club’s aims for the future also helped to sway my decision.”

Feeney’s Assistant Manager will be former Moneyslane chief Glen Moffett, who he says will add an in-depth knowledge of the league and local footbal in general.

Feeney says he will take part in pre-season and will make himself available to play if and when required. The boss will also now begin to assess his squad as he considers any moves to bring in new recruits before the season begins.