New Athlone Town commercial and marketing manager, Philip Nolan, is adamant the Midlanders can become a force in the SSE Airtricity League again.
Having commenced work with Athlone three weeks ago, Nolan, a popular figure in the domestic game, is embracing his new challenge. “It is great to be back involved with a club in the league because I love it,” Nolan said. “I’ve really enjoyed the last few weeks and I certainly feel that Athlone Town is a sleeping giant in the League of Ireland. Athlone is a huge footballing town. There is great history and also potential here and I’m delighted to be on board.
“I’m working on trying to implement some ideas one of which is an attempt to recruit some old season ticket holders back. That is something I feel the club can do and we need to be aiming to get back into the Premier Division.” It is a journey Nolan hopes will be taken with Alan Mathews as manager too. “I’d love if Alan stayed on at the club,” he said. “I feel that Alan can be the man to take us back up into the Premier Division.
“He has huge experience in the league and knows what it takes to win trophies. I like how he coaches and the way he wants his teams to play. We should know very soon whether he will still be involved, but personally I hope he remains here as I would like to work alongside him.” Regarding his own role, Nolan is ‘thrilled’ to be involved with the Midlanders: “In many ways appointing me was a statement of intent from Athlone Town.
“It shows that the people involved really want the club to succeed. The one thing that is crucial to the whole venture, though, is that people work together. That must happen between businesses, players, and supporters trying to achieve together. At the moment with Ireland qualifying for the European Championships a great chance exists for football in the country. We need to make it work.
St Patrick’s Athletic, Drogheda United, and UCD all benefited from Nolan’s enthusiasm for the League of Ireland previously. “Looking back I was with Pat’s during some great European campaigns and I learned a lot there,” Nolan said. “I remember being at meetings regarding those fixtures and taking little nuggets of information. Recently I had a look at the figures involved in 2010 at Pat’s. If we get anywhere near that with Athlone, the club will be in some position.“
“Teamwork will be the key here. A successful Athlone Town will help the local community. The local people can also help Athlone Town, so we need to ensure there is a good and trustworthy relationship. I’ll be doing everything I can to help to improve the football club.”
On Monday evening at the Aviva Stadium Nolan was stirred by the manner in which Ireland defeated Bosnia. “At the match you could see Ireland playing with heart and passion,” he said. “That can bring you a long way. I’ve always worked off a motto that passion and pride will lead to points. It will be a hectic time either side of Christmas, but when the football restarts in March I hope everyone with an interest in Athlone Town can contribute to helping us on our project to attain Premier Division status.”