Centre-back Mike Clarke, 25, has agreed to stay on at the Club for the upcoming season 2015/16. In a big boost for the squad, Mike forged an outstanding partnership at the heart of the defence with the now departed supporters' and players' player of last season, Callum Henry. Mike made the transition from striker to central defence effortlessly, manager Jim Gannon seeing the qualities he had to offer in a position alien to him and moulding him into one of the best defenders in the Evo-Stik League.
Mike - pictured below in dominant action during the 1-0 win away at Darlington1883 - spoke with Jamie Dewsbury after re-affirming his commitment to the Club once again -
Good news for the Club that you have decided to stay, Mike. You obviously enjoy it here at the Vics'.
Yes Jamie, i love it here. I should never have left when i did - looking back. (Mike signed for Rushall Olympic in 2012). Hindsight is a wonderful thing though, but here i am now coming into my third season - in my second spell. I feel my game has improved ten-fold learning more about myself as a footballer and improving my skills as a central defender, Jim (Gannon) was a defender himself so there is no-one better to be working under. He obviously saw something in my game that he felt i could play in defence, it just shows how astute he is that he has converted me from a striker to a central defender. I have to be honest though, i hated playing there at first!. But i now see myself as a senior player within the group and even though i am not captain i think i could put my hand up to do the job next season. i felt i adopted a leadership role on the pitch and in the dressing room last season.
A big season coming up, two seasons of progression under Jim Gannon. Some new faces added to the squad as well some of last seasons' retained.
Yes, we have made steady progress the last two campaigns, ninth in 13/14, and fourth in 14/15 - with two cup final wins in there as well. It's great for the Club as a whole to be playing back in Northwich (we will be playing games 2015/16 at Witton Albion F.C) and it was good to see a lot of the returning fans in the last few games of last season. The next step is promotion most definitely, and i think we can do it. The manager knows what he is doing and the new signings that have come in are quality players. Jordan Williams from Burscough caused us problems when we played them last season.