Andrew Dunn talks to the new member of the Ives coaching staff, Ben Watts
It’s probably fair to say that Ben Watts is more than happy for his new team to score 11 goals with none against in the first two home games that he has been part of the coaching staff at St Ives Town.
A 6-0 win against Kettering and a 5-0 victory over Leiston has injected a feel good vibe to start the new year at the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road, and that has certainly been felt by the new member of the coaching staff. “I’m loving it” said Watts. “St Ives is a great club to be involved with. I’ve known the manager Ricky Marheineke for a while and he knew I was available after I left Kettering, and asked if I wanted to join him and his staff. I watched the Hitchin game before Christmas, and have been involved ever since and it’s been great to witness the two excellent home performances”.
Watts started out as youth team coach at both Peterborough United and Northampton Town. It was whilst he was at the Cobblers that he first came across current Ives player, Paddy Casey. But it’s not just Casey who Watts knows from the current St Ives set-up. “I know players such as Michael Richens and a few of the other lads” Watts said. However, in a quirk of fate Watts is now teaming up with Adam Fisher who he could have worked with a few seasons ago. “I know Adam as he wanted me to join him as part of his coaching staff when he was in charge of Welwyn Garden City, so it’s strange how we’ve now eventually ended up working together, albeit at another club”.
The Harborough based coach has also had a spell with St Neots. “I learnt an awful lot during the period that I was involved at St Neots. It was during the era that they were throwing a lot of money at things and we had the likes of Stefan Moore playing. I was there for two seasons. It was a good few years ago now, and an experience if nothing else”.
Watts was put in charge of Kettering earlier this season following the departure of Poppies Manager, Andy Leese. “I only did it for two games as I wasn’t sure it was for me” said Watts. “I make no secret of the fact that I prefer coaching than managing. I love being out on the grass with players, and leading sessions and witnessing plans come to fruition on a matchday”.
Executing the plan is something that has impressed him so far during his short time at the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road. “So far what I am seeing is the lads replicating what you ask them to do in training on a Saturday. I have been really impressed with their work rate, how they press and the relentless desire to improve. The group also has a fantasitic enthusiasm and every game I have either seen or been involved in so far has been very impressive”.
It’s not just on the pitch that has impressed Watts, it’s off the pitch too. “I love the club. It’s a great set-up and the matchday vibe is brilliant and there are some fine people involved. My family came to the game on Saturday and they really enjoyed it and already have a connection with St Ives Town”.
So as the season enters the second half, what does Watts see as the aims for the remaining months of the campaign. “I think the team is more than capabale of finishing mid-table, if not above. It’s a very open league, and anyone can beat anyone. Like Ricky has said previously, on our day not many teams can live with our attitude, willingness and enthusiasm. If that continues, we will win more than we lose between now and the end of the season”.
Watts will be in the dugout alongside the rest of the coaching staff when the Ives take on Nuneaton on Saturday afternoon.