Manager Brady Stone confirms he is planning to stay in charge of Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side Ely City
There were times last season when Brady Stone questioned whether he was going to continue as manager of Ely City, but the club’s impressive end to the campaign has helped to convince him to remain in place.
Ely’s rise since Stone and his assistant Martin Grey were appointed in 2014 has been well documented, but the duo’s resolve was tested during a 2018/19 term that saw the squad they had taken time to build decimated by injuries.
Nevertheless, a late rally saw Ely not only preserve their Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division status, but also beat champions Histon to defend the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup.
Stone will now take a break from football for the rest of May, but he now has every intention of leading the club again in 2019/20.
“Martin and I had a chat around Christmas time because it had gotten really tough,” he said.
“We had built a really good squad and it was tough to see that get ripped from beneath us. We had to ask ourselves if we wanted to put the work in to build it all up again because it is not easy.
“It was hard and doubts crept in – I certainly doubted myself and some of the decisions that I made.
“But we have also learned a lot and hopefully the end of the season shows how much we want to stay.
“The players have also been great. Even when the results were going against us they never stopped giving everything they had.”
Attention now turns to plans for the summer, with Stone confident that the majority of his squad will join in him in remaining at the Ellgia Stadium.
And providing that is the case, the boss is not anticipating a large number of new arrivals.
“Pre-season will be tough and we will be working the lads hard because fitness is a key part of our game,” he added.
“I would like to think at least 90 per cent of the lads will stay and that means we will not need to bring players in for the sake of it. It will probably be a case of getting three or four in.”
In terms of friendlies, Ely will return to action away at Yaxley on July 9. That is followed by a trip to lower-league West Wratting on July 13 and then a home derby against Bostik League North Division side Soham Town Rangers on July 16.
After that there are back-to-back away matches at Great Shelford (July 20) and St Ives Town (July 23), with the visit of Chatteris Town rounding off their pre-season programme on July 27.