Ex-Sheffield United, Rotherham, Bury and Northampton Town defender Ryan Cresswell on challenge of management

‘It’s a 24/7 job in a part-time role’.

Tuesday, 28th December 2021, 4:10 pm

That’s the early verdict of former Sheffield United youngster Ryan Cresswell on his introduction to football management, having been thrown in at the deep end at relegation-threatened Sheffield FC last month.

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At 34, Cresswell, who made more than 300 appearances in professional football after leaving the Blades in 2008, was a youthful pick for the world’s oldest football club.

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Former Sheffield United youngster Ryan Cresswell is now in charge of Sheffield FC (photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images).

He has been tasked with making the eighth tier outfit more professional, given his background in the English Football League, and pulling off what he admitted would resemble a Great Escape with Sheffield currently seven points from safety in the Northern Premier League Division One East.

"We are looking to pick up some points to progress up the league as soon as possible but it’s been an enjoyable test,” he tells The Star.

"It’s a fight and a battle we are in and a great opportunity for our lads to show what they are made of.”

Ex-Rotherham, Northampton and Southend defender Cresswell has so far overseen two draws as well as two defeats, with a further two games abandoned due to adverse weather conditions, including Monday’s lesser-known Steel City derby against Stocksbridge Park Steels.

“We have got enough in the squad to get us out of the position we are in,” says the man who has no intention of succumbing to what would be his first relegation in football.

"I think the results will come and it’s just a matter of time before we start to turn it.

"The Great Escape, if that’s what you call it, if it works it works. If not, we will rebuild and go again.”

Rotherham-born Cresswell served under numerous well-known football figures in South Yorkshire during a 15-year playing career, including Chris Wilder and Alan Knill at Bury, Paul Warne, then fitness coach at the Millers, and Ronnie Moore, who was in the hot seat.

All of them inspired him in different ways to try management – and little time has been wasted in putting his own stamp on proceedings, either.

No fewer than seven new signings have arrived at the Home of Football Ground since Barnsley-based Cresswell took charge.

“You need enthusiasm, positivity and a couple of players to come through the door to freshen it up,” he says of his squad tinkering.

Despite a wealth of playing experience and an impressive contacts book, however, little can prepare you for the intensity of the job, even this far down the pyramid.

"There’s a lot more to it than just picking an XI and shouting ‘Come on’,” adds Cresswell, delivering a crushing blow to the ambitions of armchair managers everywhere in the process.

"I thoroughly enjoyed and loved every minute of my playing career, there were ups and downs in that. Going into management, it’s a new role but it keeps me in the game and I feel like I have a lot to offer.

"I’m really, really excited for it and I wake up every day to missed calls, voicemails and messages. It’s a 24/7 job in a part-time role.

”I’m grateful for the opportunity to manage the oldest football club in the world. Someone’s put trust in me and hopefully I can repay them by keeping the club in the league.”