Emley AFC captain Jamie Price has taken the decision to move into a coaching role at the club but still hopes to play when called on.
Price, 41, said he was looking forward to making his first big step into coaching and was pleased he was doing it under boss Richard Tracey.
Defender Price joined the club in 2019 and became a firm favourite but his playing time has been limited with the pandemic shutdown followed by several injuries.
And now, with the team flying high at the top end of the Northern Counties East League Premier Division, Price will likely find it tough to get back into the matchday squad.
Price’s influence has been growing behind the scenes and he’s now made the formal step up to join Tracey’s management team of Steve Nicholson, Richard Batley and Ben Walker.
Price said: “I’m still hopeful of getting back on the field and contributing but, realistically, I know my opportunities will be limited, not only due to injury but with the lads are playing so well at the moment. I’m not sure I’d get the squad text from the gaffer!
“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Emley, it’s a bonus after a long playing career in football and I’m just really pleased they want me to continue to be involved.
“They have built a real community spirit here which is clear to see. I’ve known Richard for a long time so working under him as a coach will be a great experience.”
Price began his football career in the Leeds United academy. He left there in 1999 and joined Doncaster Rovers and stayed there until 2005. He helped Rovers climb out of the Conference and get promoted into Division Three.
The club won the Division Three title in 2004, the last team to claim that honour before the league name was changed to League Two.
After leaving Doncaster he went on to play for York City, Harrogate Town, Farsley Celtic, Bradford Park Avenue, Garforth, Ossett, Scarborough and now Emley.
Looking back at his career he said: “I’ve played for some great clubs and been involved in some good dressing rooms. Emley is definitely up there with those. I have always gone into every game putting all my effort in for the fans and the shirt. I will look to do the same as a coach at Emley.”
Price believes he has much experience to bring to the coaching and management side at Emley and said: “I think I have a lot of knowledge from the game having played at the levels I have.
“I also think it’s good because I can be that link between the lads on the pitch and the staff off it. I want to carry on playing for as long as I can but, as those opportunities get less, I want to help the club in other ways.
“If we got to a play-off game and Richard put me on as a send off for a few minutes then great, but it’s not about me at all it’s about the team and I will do anything to help the club achieve what it wants.”
Tracey is delighted to strengthen his management team and said: “Pricey has been with us since we started the journey at Emley and, even though he’s been unable to play in recent months, he’s turned up week in, week out to support the players and management.
“We’re formalising a role he’s kind of carved out by accident and also means he and we can make much more of his position and experience. We told the squad the news last week and they were all delighted and very supportive.”
Vice-chairman Marcus Pound said: “Jamie is a key part of the progress we’ve made up to now and we’re very delighted he will remain with us.
“He would run through brick walls for the club and, whilst injury has limited his impact on the field, he’s still hungry for success and you know he’ll contribute in any way he can off the field to keep us improving.”