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Ambitious for himself and for his new club – that was the clear message from an exclusive interview with Fort William Football Club’s new young manager Chris Baffour who was in Lochaber at the weekend to check out what he has signed himself up for over the next four years.
The former Crawley Town Football Club Under 23 coach, who also has his own business doing one-to-one analysis with professional footballers across the UK and abroad, holds a UEFA C licence.
Chris, who has a home in London but will also be living in Lochaber, gave an exclusive interview to the Lochaber Times where he outlined his hopes for his new role and the team.
‘The plan is to move up here and I believe a lot of players will be coming up from London as well. There are also players coming from Holland, including an international, who will be in the new squad,’ he told the Lochaber Times during a break in meeting players and officials at Claggan Park on Sunday.
‘The offer for this job initially came to me through my agent who said there was an opportunity in Scotland. A lot of the players here are young, similar to me, early in their careers. It is the perfect opportunity.’
A keen footballer since a young age – he played at the Nike Academy at the St George’s Park home of the England teams – Chris’ dream of becoming a professional were cut short due to injury.
‘The aim was always at some point to become a manager. It is the pinnacle of football. Even after professionals retire that’s what they look to do. So that’s always been the plan. After I got injured, the goal was getting into management earlier.’
Baffour is under no illusions about the size of the task ahead at Claggan Park. Although the club still hopes it can win its appeal against relegation from the Highland League, Baffour believes better times lie ahead whatever happens.
If the club is relegated, he says, the immediate priority will be getting back up as soon as possible.
‘I am aware the team only got seven points last season, so the benchmark is pretty low. But we want to change everything completely. There are a lot of things needing to be worked on.
‘But with the new players, we can’t be recognised as being anywhere near the same team as last season – that would be impossible. So I think that gives us an advantage because people won’t expect much from us.
‘It is a very big task, and expectations are low, but the only way is up.’
Baffour believes having two managers last season, with each favouring different styles of play, did not help, but says getting a winning mentality instilled in the squad will not be difficult.
‘We will be coming from a different level. The new players being brought in already have a winning mentality from spells at their previous clubs.
‘Of course, it is all very exciting but I know there is a lot of work to do. And I’ll only be happy when we win every game we play.’
Chris Baffour, the new manager Fort William Football Club manager, was in Lochaber at the weekend to visit his new club and meet some of the players and officials. Photograph: Abrightside Photography. NO F25 Chris Baffour 01
Fort William Football Club’s new manager Chris Baffour enjoyed a look round Claggan park ground on Sunday. Photograph: Abrightside Photography. NO F25 Chris Baffour 02
Fort William player Rory MacLennan, left, sports the club’s new yellow home kit, with team-mate Gary Speedie, wearing the away alternative. Photograph: Abrightside Photography. NO F25 new Fort strips 01
New Fort William Football Club manager Chris Baffour shows off the club’s new home kit for next season during a visit to Claggan Park at the weekend. Photograph: Abrightside Photography. NO F25 Chris Baffour 03