Football: Berry tries to revive Stafford

Non-League notebook
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The Independent Online
If Stafford Rangers fans thought things could not get any worse for their team after relegation from the GM Vauxhall Conference last season, they were in for a rude awakening. After eight Beazer Homes League games they have yet to gain a point and only the even more hapless VS Rugby, who have a worse goalscoring record, are below them in the Premier Division table.

For a club which has been to Wembley three times for FA Trophy finals, this is a sad state of affairs. The man who currently holds the responsibility for turning things around is George Berry, the former Wolves, Stoke and Wales defender. He is in his second spell as caretaker manager at Rangers, who are looking for their fourth manager in a year following the departure of Bob Horton after just four games in charge.

Berry does not want to keep the manager's job. "I'm the commercial manager here as well as a player," he said last night, "and I don't want to be a jack of all trades and master of none." He knew what needed to be done, though, when he took over from Horton. "We've got some gifted players, but they didn't know what they were supposed to be doing," he explained. "They were playing off the cuff, and you can't do that at any level."

Although results have not improved since Berry took charge, he believes the team are about to turn the corner. "I've tried to introduce some professionalism and the players are responding."

Berry may be able to pass on the onerous task of reviving Rangers to someone else soon. The club are hoping to secure some additional funding and are reportedly pursuing Dennis Mortimer, the former Aston Villa captain and West Bromwich Albion coach, to be their next manager. Berry will still be in charge tomorrow, though, when Stafford visit Burton Albion for an FA Cup second qualifying round tie.