John Caulfield admits he is taking a risk in becoming the new Cork City manager, but it was a chance he could not turn down.
Caulfield will leave his job as a rep for Diageo at the end of December to become City’s full-time boss, but being in charge at Turner’s Cross was something he always felt he would attempt some day.
“I lived for the day when I would get this chance,” he said at his unveiling yesterday.
“I might have thought it wouldn’t come but it developed this year and the opportunity came up, I’m delighted to be given it, I feel the time has come.
“It is a risk, of course. Am I going to get abuse? I am, but at the same time I’m positive. I believe I can take the club to a higher level, that we can win trophies and that’s what I want.”
And, even though his tenure won’t officially begin until New Year’s Day, Caulfield has already set to work building a squad for the 2014 season.
“Unofficially, I’ve been making a serious amount of calls since yesterday,” he said.
“This weekend, I’ve the PFA do on Friday, a UCC match Saturday, I’ll be at a City U19 match Sunday, so it’s full steam ahead.
“We urgently need to sign up the players that we have from the current squad and then go and sign new players.”
The decision to appoint Caulfield was one made easier by his love for the club, according to City chairman Mick Ring.
“We advertised the position and we had some very strong candidates, many of whom would have fulfilled the role fantastically,” he said.
“John, to be fair, was the standout candidate, he displayed an unrivalled knowledge and passion for the club, which couldn’t be ignored.”
With two FAI Intermediate Cup titles and two Munster Senior League Premier Division wins with Avondale United, Caulfield brings a track record of success, though this is his first crack at a League of Ireland job.
“I played in the League of Ireland for 16 years, so I understand the difference between that and the Munster Senior League,” he said.
John Cotter, one of Caulfield’s successors at Avondale and who led them to three more intermediate cups, will be his assistant. Other than that, he is operating off a clean slate, but knows that in Cork there is almost a demand for success.
“We’ve finished sixth for the past two seasons and we haven’t challenged for any of the major trophies,” he said.
“The onus is on me to get a successful team to bring people through the gates.
“There was a period in my career when Turner’s Cross was a horrible place to come for opponents and there were periods when it was a nice place. You can understand next season where I want the situation to be.
“I genuinely feel that this club is waiting to erupt again and I hope I’m the man to do it. I’d be very disappointed next season if we aren’t competing in the top four.
“Do I expect to win trophies? I do, there’s no point in saying otherwise.
Return of a club legend
John Caulfield holds Cork City’s record for appearances, as well as sharing the title of record league goalscorer with Pat Morley, his strike partner for much of his time in Turner’s Cross.
Born in New York, Caulfield moved to Roscommon at a young age and joined City in 1986, scoring the club’s first hat-trick in a 3-2 win against Sligo Rovers.
From then until retiring in 2002, he was central to City’s success.
He was an integral part of the sides which won the Premier Division title in 1993 and the FAI Cup in 1998, as well as picking up three League Cup medals in 1987-88, 1994-95 and 1998-99.
After his retirement, he took charge of Munster Senior League side Avondale United, winning the league in 2008 and 2009 after claiming the FAI Intermediate Cup in 2006 and 2007. Following his departure from Avondale, he was involved with UCC’s MSL side.
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