Marcus Bignot has vowed to deliver ‘success’ to Chester after being unveiled as their new manager.
The 43-year-old becomes the club’s fourth permanent boss since reforming in 2010 and he is the man tasked with turning around Chester’s ailing fortunes, with the Blues having slumped drastically down the National League table coupled with a club-record winless home run which now stretches to 16 matches.
Bignot impressed in Tuesday's final round of interviews for the job, fighting off competition from the likes of Richard Money, Ronnie Moore, Steve Watson and Neil Redfearn to land the role as successor to Jon McCarthy, who was dismissed earlier this month.
Bignot spent five years with Solihull and led them to the National League North title in 2015/16, as well as a hugely successful spell in charge of Birmingham City Ladies, although his latest job at Grimsby Town ended abruptly when he was sacked by the League Two club in April.
He also enjoyed an excellent playing career in the Football League, helping Rushden and Diamonds win the Third Division title in 2002/03, winning promotion from the Second Division with QPR the following season, and helping Millwall reach the League One play-offs in 2008/09.
“I want to bring success, for my next job it was important I got the opportunity to bring success and, for me, Chester provides that,” he said.
“I can’t wait to get started, I’ll meet the players at training and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Asked if he was confident of turning around the club’s fortunes, with the first-team languishing in the National League relegation zone after picking up one win out of 11 matches, Bignot was unequivocal.
“Of course, definitely,” he continued. “We will turn things around, I’m sure the supporters will see a group who are going to be organised, there will be a structure to their play both on and off the ball.
“There will be clear roles and responsibilities and I honestly believe they will gain confidence from that.
“If they’ve got the desire to work harder and smarter, I’m sure we can turn our fortunes around.”
Bignot was axed by Grimsby last April despite guiding the club to 14th in League Two, having been forced to sell star striker Omar Bogle and goalkeeper Dean Henderson in January.
Asked if he had unfinished business as a result of how he was treated by the Mariners, Bignot replied: “I got results and I maintained the same points ratio per game as the previous manager (Paul Hurst) who got headhunted and is now in League One (at Shrewsbury) and look at the job he’s doing.
“I had the same points return, lost the best striker in the league (Omar Bogle) and the best goalkeeper in the league in Dean Henderson.
“The only disappointing thing was we didn’t have time to implement a vision. My journey now is at a great club like Chester and I can’t wait to get started.”
The Blues squad, who have registered just eight points from a possible 33 so far this campaign, will now be eager to impress Bignot ahead of Saturday’s clash with Maidenhead United, and the new boss feels he has a ‘clear understanding’ of the type of players he has to work with.
There was good news also for Tom Shaw – caretaker manager over the past fortnight – who has been handed a role as player/first-team coach in the new set-up, who knows Bignot from their brief time together at Rushden and Diamonds.
“I’ve done a lot of background into the squad, I’ve pretty much got through all the seasons games now,” explained Bignot, who expects to name his assistant manager within 24 hours.
“I’ve got a clear understanding at where the group is at, and Tom Shaw will be pivotal to that too. I’ve had conversations with Tom as well so I know where the group is at. I’m looking forward to taking the group and moving it forward.
“I do know Tom, he was my boot boy at Rushden, and I’ve kept close tabs on his career since. He’s a very good player and an excellent coach and I’m certain he’s got a future in the game on that side, but he's got a lot to give on the playing side also.
We look the same age don’t we, people say I should still be playing! But I know people say Tom should still be playing too. He’s got a huge part to play if he’s playing and he’ll also come onto the coaching side.
“I’m very excited about mentoring Tom, I’m used to having that kind of set-up at my previous clubs with Darren Byfield (at Solihull) and Craig Hinton, who has gone on to the FA.
“I like that player/coach role and there will be an assistant coming in to the backroom staff.”
See full story in the Chester Leader