Interview with Matt Fryer - Under 23’s Manager

Tell us a little about yourself and coaching career so far. 

I was most recently co-manager at Headingley AFC in the West Yorkshire Prem, where we had some enjoyable games against Ilkley before they made the step up to the NWCFL. My journey started when studying for a Sports Coaching degree at UCLAN. A couple of knee operations put an early stop to playing, but allowed me to focus on coaching and I've had a range of experiences including summer camps in the USA and working with the BUCS team at Loughborough Uni. I was also fortunate enough to work as a performance analyst in the academy at my beloved Leeds United, before a couple of years in a similar role at Hearts in Edinburgh. After moving to Addingham and starting a family, I took a step back after a number of years with Headingley, but am chomping at the bit to get back into football. 

What made you want to join Ilkley Town? 

I've admired Ilkley from coming up against them in the West Yorkshire League and was able to work with Sam, Jamie and Simon with the Aire Wharfe Elite group for a short spell. They are clearly a club on the up with a professional outlook and an impressive style of play. I'm grateful for the opportunity to work with a talented group and hopefully help to continue to push the club forward. 

What are your aims and objectives for the upcoming season?
I'm competitive and want to win games. However I'm also aware of the bigger picture and don't think success with the u23s is purely about results. I'm aiming for the group to play with the same intensity and quality as the 1st team, and to achieve that it is imperative for senior players to set the same high standards for the younger lads in the group when they are with the u23s. You should never stop striving to improve and hopefully I can have some impact in helping players to get into the first team. 

How important is the player pathway from junior level all the way through to the First Team? 

One of the impressive things about Ilkley Town is the number of teams from junior to senior in both boys/mens and girls/womens. Recruitment is difficult at the semi-pro level and I will strive to push lads on from the u23s to make an impact with the Firsts. Ideally there should be a pathway right through with Iain helping the u21s to step up and the club producing their own players for the future.