By Dominic Potts
It was back in July 2018 when current Ramsbottom United captain Tom Kennedy signed for the club, bringing with him a wealth of experience, having previously played over 400 games in the Football League.
The decision is one that the left-back certainly doesn’t regret making, and he has embraced his time with the Rams so far.
“The last, I think, three seasons now that I’ve been at Rammy have been three of the most enjoyable, because it just reminds me of why I first started playing football when I was a YTS at Bury and then became a pro,” said Kennedy. “It’s all about being around them people, players that you want to play with, friends with no chips on the shoulder, no egos, no personal attitudes towards each other.
“It’s just a case of ‘crack on having a game of football, run around and give everything you’ve possibly got.’ You try and win every game – it doesn’t always work out like that – and then after the game you go and have a few pints, take the rip out of each other and no one really gives two hoots, and that’s to me what football’s all about.
“In the grand scheme, I think we’ve got a great work ethic and team spirit at the minute and long may it continue.”
As well as the players, the full-back also praised manager Chris Willcock for his influence.
“The gaffer has done unbelievably well over the last few years with the results that we’ve had, the sort of runs that we’ve had. It’s been a great few years and I’ve loved working with him.
“He offers so much. Me and him have a great relationship, and from day one, we’ve got on well, and I think I probably wouldn’t have played these last three years if it wasn’t for him being manager, to be honest.”
Working alongside Willcock is a mixture of different personalities within his backroom staff, which Kennedy believes provides a good balance to give them the best opportunity of picking up results.
“The gaffer has got a great diverse stylisation within his staff. You’ve got himself, who’s got his philosophies and the way that he wants to play, he drills that into the players and he’s very paramount about that.
“Then he’s got Diego (Lee Donafee), who’s sort of one of the lads, builds people up, very much sort of a people’s person, and a great guy to have around the dressing room.
“Then you’ve got Lincs (Lincoln Adams), who is one minute laughing and joking, then the next minute, he’s screaming and shouting from the sidelines doing people’s heads in. So he’s got a great mix of people, and as far as staff go, you wouldn’t change them for the world.”
It’s fair to say that these different characteristics within both the squad and staff have proved a potent mix for the Rams, who have won six of their first eight league games so far this season and sit top of the table.
The Rammy captain is confident that they can continue where they left off once the season resumes next month following a temporary halt due to lockdown.
“We’re in a good position physically and mentally. We can only go out there and give our all, and if we keep doing what we’ve done over the past six-to-eight weeks, then we’ll hold ourselves in good stead,” Kennedy insisted. “It’s a competitive league, there’s no easy games really, so every team is going to be in the same sort of mantra.
“Whether they’ve prepared as well as we have, I don’t know, but we’ve done everything we possibly can, so I fully expect us to fly into whenever the season starts again and really go on and try and do what we want to do, which is to win the league. There’s no beating around the bush or making things up, we want to win the league and we want to be successful, and I think we’ve got the squad to do that.”