New deal for Linnets boss

Billy Paynter has signed a two-year contract to continue as manager of Runcorn Linnets.

The move comes just over a week after the experienced former Football League striker led Linnets to the Pitching In NPL West Division play-off final in only his ninth game in charge.

Paynter, 38, spent most of his first season at Runcorn as first team coach, but was immediately promoted to the managerial hot seat following the departure of Dave Wild in March.

A five-game league unbeaten run steered the club to a fifth-placed finish, and despite producing an impressive display on the road to defeat Leek Town 3-1 in the play-off semi-finals, they subsequently fell to a 2-1 extra-time defeat to Workington AFC, who sealed promotion to the Northern Premier League.

During his playing days, Paynter scored 131 goals in 529 appearances for EFL clubs over a 17-year spell.

Following his appointment, Paynter admitted his excitement at putting his own stamp on the playing squad.

"This summer's going to be a lot of ins and outs," he said.

"I want to try to get my own players in and to play exciting football. I felt we lacked a bit of quality in the final third, so I want to try to strengthen in that area.

"Seeing how we missed out last season - with the disappointment of losing on penalties in the [Liverpool Senior Cup] final and getting beaten in extra time [in the play-off decider at Workington] - I want to go one further next season.

"I want to give the fans something to cheer about, a bit of joy towards the end because the fans for me, since I've arrived, have made me feel really welcome and I want to try to repay their support."

Linnets chairman Peter Cartledge added: "We felt we had the right man for the job already at the club. We were conscious of how ambitious Billy was to get into management, and knew his abilities from the work he had carried out.

"We viewed naming Billy manager as the natural step and now agreeing with him the two-year deal, as the first contracted manager in the club's history, is confirmation of the confidence we have in Billy and the faith he has in us.

"Preparations for next season start here and we are really excited about the future on and off the pitch."

Photo credit: Runcorn Linnets

Where next?

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