Former Nottinghamshire batsman, captain and coach Paul Johnson has been charged with the task of resurrecting the on-field fortunes of Welbeck Cricket Club.
Welbeck hosted a county match during the summer but their first team suffered surprise relegation from the Notts Premier League for the first time on a dramatic final day of the season.
Now they have appointed the 51-year-old Johnson as their new cricket manager. He will oversee the entire coaching set-up at the club, who hope he will inspire an immediate return to the top level by winning the Bassetlaw League title in 2017.
“We feel Paul is the right man to lead us back to where we belong,” said Welbeck chairman Dan Marsh. “His wealth of experience in the game, at both professional and recreational level, will be of massive benefit to us.”
Johnson, who spent two seasons playing at Welbeck in the 1990s, enjoyed a 21-year career with Notts and was skipper between 1996 and 1998. He played more than 750 matches, firing more than 30,000 runs. He said: “This a new challenge for me at a club which I hold an affinity for. It’s important we keep the current squad together and I hope the players show a degree of loyalty to put this unfortunate situation right.
“I don’t want to set targets until I’ve had a chance to assess everything. That would only add undue pressure. But I want to give a clear direction to the squad by instilling a desire in everybody at the club to be the best they can be. Everybody will need to be committed to the cause.”
Johnson will also be responsible for helping the progress of Welbeck youngsters hoping to follow in the footsteps of England bowler Jake Ball, who cut his teeth at the club. Marsh added: “The guidance Paul will provide to our thriving junior section will ensure the continued development of our youth players and their transition to the senior ranks.”