FOOTBALL: New assistant Butler tips Arundel to challenge

SIMON Butler has returned to Arundel Football Club as assistant manager to new boss Gary Wheatcroft, and has his eyes fixed on a top finish this season.

Butler, who was forced to quit in the role to ex-manager Richard Towers towards the end of last seaon for personal reasons, said he was happy to accept Wheatcroft's invitation to join him in a new era at the Mullets.

The future is looking bright for Arundel, as Wheatcroft has already signed most of last year's squad as well as new additions Shaun Towers (Pagham), Mike Gardener (Oakwood), Barry McCoy (Chichester), Carl Turney (Selsey) and Luca Coleman-Carr (Lincoln City).

The pair have now unveiled their latest coup as Rob Wimble from Selsey. He joins an already very capable strike-force of Gary Norgate, Howard Neighbour and Scott Tipper.

Butler is delighted to be returning to the club and is relishing a great atmosphere, tipping them for a hugely successful season.

He said: "I'm looking forward to it immensely, and I have found Gary very accommodating. He is enthusiastic, likeable, positive and genuinely honest, as well as having a great knowledge.

"Last year I left for personal reasons and it was nothing to do with Richard, we're both good friends still.

"Gary is a real breath of fresh air, and I'm so pleased, as I heard a few of the players were going elsewhere as they were very loyal to Richard.

"But after going to training with Gary they all started to change their minds, with more and more signing on.

"I went up there for my first training session and all the boys were knocking the ball about well and in good shape.

"A lot of the guys were offered decent money to go elsewhere, but they have chosen to stay here, and were going to be all about enjoying the football.

"I'm looking to enjoy the season first and foremost, and pick some new things up from Gary. I'm pleased, the boys are pleased, and so is Gary."

Mullets will be looking to put right a poor last season, which saw them toy with the prospect of a relegation battle, which was only spared by a six-game, unbeaten run at the end of the season.

Wheatcroft will also be dual-signing a number of Woking players to compensate for injuries throughout the season, as Mullets are without a reserve team this year.

Butler believes this will be a huge boost and with the sigings so far, thinks they can really push at the top.

He added: "It's a very good squad with a number of guys coming in which me and Rich had tried to sign a few times, so that is a testament to Gary.

"I don't believe anyone else in the County League will have a strike force as good as ours.

"I can honestly say we've got to be looking for top three minimum, although I think it'll be a very open season.

"We want to play football with a relaxed approach, to improve and,hopefully, results will come from that."

Wheatcroft has also organised an Arundel All-Star side to play against the Ex-Southampton side at Mill Road, on Sunday, August 8.

Ex-professionals including Jimmy Case, Rod Wallace, Neil Heaney and Jason Dodd among others, will play in the charity match, which is a 2pm kick-off.

Arundel beat East Preston 4-2 at Mill Road in a pre-season friendly, on Saturday.

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