Thirteen years since they won the FA Trophy, John Kennedy believes Ben Chenery has not changed a bit — but that is exactly what Bury Town need.
The veteran midfielder was named man of the match in a game the Blues’ new manager scored the winning goal as Canvey Island sunk Forest Green Rovers 1-0 at Villa Park in non-League football’s showpiece match in 2001.
More than a decade on and reunited at Bury’s Hardwick Heath for the Ram Meadow-based outfit’s first pre-season training session of the summer on Monday, Kennedy believes Chenery is the right man for the job.
“He’s the most enthusiastic person you could come across, so hopefully that will get over to the players with his training and his coaching,” said Kennedy. “He hasn’t changed — he’s got awful banter, but has always been enthusiastic.
“If it’s not going right, he’ll tell you, but in general he looks on the positive side of things and at the good aspects of your game. He will be good for the young lads.”
After a difficult 2013/14 campaign in the Ryman League Premier Division, Kennedy admitted the appointment of Chenery — previously Richard Wilkins’ assistant manager for two seasons — was key to him extending his stay with Bury into a fourth campaign.
“I know Cheners and know he’s going to give 100 per cent,” said Kennedy, who celebrates his 36th birthday next month. “I get on with him well, so he was a major part of my decision and the same for quite a few of the other lads as well.”
Despite having just 14 senior players signed up for the new campaign — including the injured Billy Clark and teenagers Ross Bailey and Liam Wales — Bury look blessed with midfield options.
Clark, Bailey, Russell Short, Connor Hall, Joe Whight and Callum Bennett can all play there, but Kennedy is the only outfield member of the squad over the age of 25.
“Any team needs a bit of experience,” added Kennedy, who started out at Ipswich Town, but enjoyed the majority of his success in non-League football with Canvey and Histon. “I try to keep up with the young lads in training — they’ll push me on a bit, but they need a bit of experience around them as well.
“Every team needs that good blend and although we’ve got quite a lot of youngsters, they’ve learned from last year.
“It’s going to be tough and they’ve got to work even harder than they did last year, but they’ve had a taste of it and I think that has done them good, even though it was tough at times after Christmas.”
n Watch a video of Bury Town’s first pre-season training session of the summer at www.buryfreepress.co.uk/sport/football/bury-town
Bury Town SuperDraw week five results: £1,000 G Cook; £150 J Davies; £100 Louise Grice; £75 Phylis Christie; £50 Geraldine Batham, Susan L Peace; £25 Eileen Mary Jones, John Richard Bowles, Mrs Lashley, L A Pitt. Birth date drawn: 08/03/29 — no winners. Next week’s prize: £200.