By Damian Dolan.
While most teenagers dream of scoring the winning goal in a cup final or representing their country at the World Cup, Michael Maher fixated about plotting the tactical downfall of the opposition and bellowing instructions from the touchline.
Football management is not a world that appeals to all. It can be a lonely job, particularly when the knives are out from supporters and media alike after a string of bad results – just ask David Moyles and Sam Allardyce – but not for Maher.
However, in his first season in charge of Sussex County League Division One side Redhill FC the 26-year-old second generation Irishman guided the Surrey club to promotion to Ryman Isthmian League Division One South.
It had been massive gamble on the part of club chairman John Park to turn to his youth team manager of three years when then manager Simon Colbran left the job to takeover at Horsham in March 2012.
In doing so, Park made Maher the youngest manager in the country at that level, and he repaid his chairman’s faith last year by delivering the club its Holy Grail – promotion to the Ryman.
For more see this week’s edition of the Irish World.