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Macca honoured to have captain’s call

NEW Stratford Town skipper Paul McCone admits it was an honour to be asked to captain the club although he will also be calling on some of the other ‘leaders’ in the side to do their bit.

The former Stourbridge and Halesowen Town central defender takes over the armband from Bards stalwart Will Grocott who has decided to move on after totting up 250 appearances for the club.

McCone said: “It’s fantastic and a real honour to be asked but for me, there are a few other leaders out on the field leading the team. It won’t just be about the one person wearing the armband.

New Stratford Town captain Paul McCone
New Stratford Town captain Paul McCone

“I’m quite calm with a calm head although it might not look like that when I’m playing.

“As much as you might want to go into the changing room swearing and shouting, things are done differently to when I first started in non-league – it was a different place then. These days, people often need an arm around them and it’s all about managing how you approach things.

“Don’t get me wrong, there are times when things need to be said and I’m not shy in saying what needs to be said. But equally there are times when you need to reflect on things, have a sleep on it and see what comes out the next day.”

He said: “Every year I’ve been jacking football in because the aches and pains last a bit longer when you get older but this season there was no question that I was going to carry on.

“Stratford is a very nice friendly club. I have a young family and they never really came to watch me play until last season and one of the big things for me is having them come along on a Saturday.

“The family atmosphere here is massive for me and, let’s be honest, it’s a great place to play football and you won’t play on many better surfaces at this level – 3G pitches are no good for my old knees.”

McCone forged a solid defensive partnership with Jack Turner during Town’s impressive run at the end of the seaon when they won four of their last five games to stay in Southern League Premier Central and he hopes the side can pick up where they left off.

“We need to start the new season the way we finished,” he added. “There are always changes in pre-season but if we can keep the nucleus of the team then we should do alright this year.

“I’m sure there will be new players coming in and when you are fighting for a place and there is competition for that position then it gets the best out of players. If you were guaranteed to play every week then it can become too easy. Competition is great for everyone.

“Since JT (Turner) came back from his loan at Corby, I thought he was phenomenal. It is amazing what that little bit of confidence can do.”

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