BEN Shirley is hoping Askam United can end their struggles to attract a new manager as the club begin preparations for the 2018-19 season.

Having originally been due to step down at the end of the 2016-17 campaign, Shirley ended up staying on as boss of the West Lancashire League Division One outfit until last December due to United being unable to find anyone to take over the role.

That saw the players running the team themselves before long-term injury victim Jake Woods stepped up to head things. But he is aiming to return to playing next season and United are still seeking a permanent managerial appointment.

“I stepped down at Christmas, but we haven’t really had a proper manager since the end of last season,” said Shirley, who guided United to a Furness Senior Cup triumph in 2017.

“I just did the first half of the season, then lads have run it themselves and one of the players, Jake Woods, who has been off with a long-term injury, put his head above the parapet and led the way, but Jake is hoping to be fit to play again next season

“We’re looking for a fresh pair of eyes and ears with a bit of energy and enthusiasm to come in, make it their own and have a go at doing well in West Lancs Division One, re-stabilise the club and move it forward over the next year or two.”

Aside from their struggles to find a new manager, Askam are in a good position as a club. They have a strong youth set-up and around 40 players signed across the first and reserve teams at senior level, and are recognised as a Charter Standard club by the FA.

Off the field, United are backed by strong committee and have organised fund-raising events such as the Askambury music festival to be held at Duddon Road on July 14, and Shirley believes there is plenty of potential there for a new manager to harness.

“We’ve got a mix of young players and a sprinkling of experience signed on, and the players are loyal and committed, and a great bunch to work with,” said Shirley. “I’ve done it on and off for the past four or five years and loved it, but you get to the end of your shelf life.

“We’ve got a youth section, we’ve got arguably one of the best pitches in the area, training facilities, we’re solvent and we’ve got social and fund-raising activities. So we’ve got that side of it right, but on the field we do need a new manager and we’d welcome all levels of experience.

“I was new to management and the club funded me though my Level Two coaching badge, and we’d support anybody any way we can.

“Even if someone is half-interested, give us a ring, come have a chat with us. There would be no commitment and there is nothing to lose by making a phone call.”

All applicants are welcome whatever their experience, particularly anyone aiming to make the step-up from coaching at junior level or anyone considering moving up from the Furness Premier League to the West Lancashire League.

Any applicants should contact Askam treasurer Andy Tomkins on 07584 193347 or by emailing, and all applications must be in by the deadline of Monday, May 21.

United will also be holding their club AGM on Wednesday, May 23, which is at the Duddon Road clubhouse and starts at 7.15pm.