It’s no secret that the former Darlington and York City defender is keen to prove himself as a manager. He’s confident that the Tigers can improve on their midtable finish in the Evo-stik NPL premier division but also realistic enough to accept that the club will need to generate extra revenue to do so.
For that reason he and his assistant John McCombe are taking on a commercial role in addition to their duties with the team.
“In terms of recruiting new players, a lot of calls and messages have already gone out but when it comes to the financial side of things we’re not near the top of the tree in this league where Ashton United seem to be setting the pace,” McGurk said.
“Our new set-up will have four people looking after the club’s needs. With Darren Kelly as sporting director, me as manager, John McCombe as my number-two and Gaz Prendergast as coach, it’s a great opportunity to create a sustainable football club that is competitive at this level. We’ll all have more than a footballing role.
“It’ll take time to put everything in place, but when we do we’ll be able to have a go at this league.”
The new set-up at Ewen Fields bears some resemblance to what happened at Manchester United in 1969, when Sir Matt Busby “moved upstairs” as general manager and Wilf McGuinness was first-team coach. However, unlike McGuinness, McGurk will have complete control of team matters at Hyde, although he’s happy to say he won’t be afraid to ask Darren Kelly for advice.
He said: “Darren will be there for me to lean on, and he’ll be helping with recruitment, but in terms of selection, decisions and day-to-day dealings with the players, that will all be me.
“I don’t think it’s a secret that Darren gave me charge of a lot of the training and tactics last season. There are one or two tweaks I want to make and things I want to introduce, but I don’t think the fans will see massive changes in our style of football. What I want to do is continue the improvements that we’ve seen over the last couple of years.”
News of which players McGurk is retaining, and which will be released, should be out within the next seven to ten days. Otherwise, in terms of new recruits, his watchword is patience.
“Players who are signing now are being offered very good money,” McGurk explained. “We’ll be approaching players and if we don’t get them we’ll move on to others. We’ve got to be patient and keep on top of things.”
The Hyde committee’s decision to put their faith in McGurk seems a sound one. He is enthusiastic, keen to manage, and at 36 believes he’s ready for the challenge.
“It seems the logical move,” he said. “My first step was into youth coaching and I enjoyed that. Then it was college coaching, and then being assistant-manager at Hyde United where I was able to see how Darren Kelly and other managers work.
“I suppose you could say I did a three-year apprenticeship under Darren. He knew I wanted to move up and he helped to make that happen. We have a good relationship and last year we were more like joint-managers.
“We’ll still be working together now, but at a different level.”