Russ Wilcox as Gainsborough Trinity Manager

Historic Lincolnshire football club Gainsborough Trinity have undergone ups and downs over recent years, but they now have a new, optimistic manager at the helm.

They sit in the seventh tier of English football, in the Northern Premier League Premier Division following relegation in the 2017/18 season. Last season the club finished in a playoff spot, but after manager Neal Bishop departed earlier in the season, the club sat closer to the relegation zone than the upper-half.

The managerial vacancy has been filled by the experienced Russ Wilcox, who was most recently in charge of National League North outfit Farsley Celtic.

Russ is a well-known name in English football, having played and managed up-and-down the leagues.

The Yorkshireman has coaching experience as high as the Premier League, with Burnley, and the Championship, with Sheffield Wednesday, working as an assistant manager in both roles. However, Russ insisted that he gets the same buzz from success no matter the division.

He said: “It’s in my blood. I’ve played football since I was 9 years old. That’s 50 years I’ve been involved in football.”

For Russ, the decision to take the managerial job at the ‘Holy Blues’ was a “no-brainer”. He added: “The recruitment process was very professional and I was impressed with the board. I know the club quite well from my Scunthorpe days. It’s a nice set-up and a good stadium.”

Russ spent 14 years at local rivals Scunthorpe United, gaining promotion as a player, assistant manager and manager across various spells.

Now in a different Lincolnshire town, Russ is hoping to grow former Football League side Gainsborough Trinity. He said: “Staying in the league is the first port of call, then we want to see if we can climb the table.”

Simply, he added: “We just want to win football games.”

“I want to take them as high as I can.”

Russ Wilcox at Gainsborough Trinity
Rus Wilcox unveiled as the new manager at Northolme. Credit: Rob Hughes (AATM Media).

He hit the ground running at his new club, beating Atherton 4-1 in his first game in charge, on September 23rd. However, managing in a new league is never an easy challenge. 

“You have to get to know the opposition, so it’s been a challenging few weeks like it always is.”

Russ departed Leeds-based Farsley Celtic in the summer, after a successful season, securing safety and reaching the FA Trophy Quarter-Finals.

He said: “I really enjoyed my time at Farsley. The supporters were fantastic. We achieved things.”

Though, Russ has been grateful for the break between jobs. “I’ve loved the break and have enjoyed the time with my family.”

Despite the few months off, Russ said: “The hunger is always there.” He added: “If I lose that hunger, I’ll know that’s when it’s time to step away.”

Part of Russ’ love for the game comes from developing young players. He spent a period as the Scunthorpe United U23s manager, on a resume that features player development heavily.

He said the chance to work with a number of young players was a big factor in his decision to take the Gainsborough job.

He said: “I enjoy working with a young side. Hopefully I can improve them as players and support them on their football journey.”

Russ is keen to take each game as it comes, managing a squad that he is “happy” with. His newest job might be a small step down the divisions, but he brings the same energy that has seen him through a long list of jobs in football.

He confirmed: “Coming to Gainsborough is just another chapter. It’s a privilege to serve their proud football club and I hope we can be successful together.”

Russ Wilcox will be hoping his new side can produce a good run of form that will help them climb the table and reach his ambitions. 

Featured image credit: Rob Hughes (AATM Media)