Soham Town Rangers’ decision to appoint Robbie Mason as their new player-manager on a permanent basis is a gamble — that is according to the man himself.
The 30-year-old, who in the summer returned to Julius Martin Lane for a third playing spell, had been in temporary charge of the first team alongside Will Lawton ever since joint bosses Robbie Nightingale and Dave Theobald accepted an offer to join Cambridge City at the start of the month.
The Ryman League Division One North club are known to have received a number of applicants for the vacancy, but the board have put their trust in Mason, despite the fact that he has no previous managerial experience and both of his interim games at the helm ended in defeat.
Yet, while accepting that his promotion to manager may have raised eyebrows elsewhere, the last two weeks have assured Mason that he is capable of repaying the faith shown in him by the Soham hierarchy.
“They are taking a big chance on me, I know that,” said the striker, who will be assisted by centre-back Lloyd Groves.
“But I think the club wanted some continuity, especially after losing two managers and a number of players in such a short space of time.
“The club knows me and Lloyd and they trust us, which is a big thing.
“And the lads have been great for me so far. When I told them that I was applying for the job, every single one of them was so supportive.
“There has to be a change now, obviously. I need to take a step back from playing during January so I can oversee things as a manager, but I will keep myself ticking over.
“With the lads I have to pick from and the support staff at Soham, everything is in place for us to make a good fist of this.”
Mason’s initial job will be to bolster a squad that has been decimated by six players following their previous bosses to City, plus the Boxing Day derby at home to ninth-placed Bury Town (1pm).
But with one eye looking further ahead, Mason believes a top-10 finish is not beyond his currently 15th-placed side.
“After Bury, we have games against Waltham Abbey and Norwich United — as far as I am concerned all of those are winnable,” he added.
“If we get nine points from those three games, all of a sudden we could be eighth or ninth — the league is that tight.
“Of course you want to win every game, but we will be breaking it down into blocks of three matches.
“With the run we have coming up, nine points is the target. If we play the sides in first, second and third, we need to be more realistic and perhaps aim for five.
“We will see where it takes us, but there is enough quality here to push for the top 10 and anything higher, considering all of the changes, is a bonus.”