Crescent future lures Richard Cresswell back to York City
Updated 12:51pm Tuesday 8th April 2014 in Sport
FORMER York City centre-forward Richard Cresswell turned down a first-team coaching job to take up his new role at Bootham Crescent.
After hanging his boots up in December, Cresswell expressed a desire for training ground work at a senior level but City's offer to become a commercial, academy and community development consultant has persuaded him to pursue an alternative career path.
A desire to keep repaying the club he joined as a 14-year-old back in 1991 was also a factor.
The ex-Leicester and Preston striker said: "An opportunity arose where I was offered a first-team position at another club but this role really appealed to me because it is quite wide ranging. I did say I wanted to be involved in first-team football but, having taken time away from the game, I decided, with such a young family, it is important I am close to home and giving something back to the club that started everything off for me."
While Cresswell's football credentials are known to most, with a playing record of 142 goals in 652 games and coaching stints with Sheffield United, the benefits he can bring to Bootham Crescent in a commercial capacity are less documented.
But his knowledge of the local business community and marketing experience are two areas the club are looking to exploit with Cresswell revealing: "I have quite a lot of business interests outside of football.
"I have been involved in a branding and marketing company for the last six years so I have learned a lot away from football. I am really interested in the commercial side of things and like to see how a whole club is run.
"I have always planned for this stage of my career and I want to help commercially on match days and by going out to meet people and local businesses. I've got quite a lot of contacts in and around the city so, hopefully, I can help forge links with different companies and local clubs to generate a lot of interest and noise about what's going on in York.
"This is an exciting time for the city and the club. A lot of people want to be involved with the club now because of the job the manager is doing.
"Success on the pitch really helps behind the scenes and a new stadium will be a big draw as well. That will enable a lot to happen.
"There are a lot of people behind the scenes who might go unnoticed but they are the heartbeat of the club and I am here to support them all."
Cresswell, meanwhile, is keen to use his profile as an ex-Premier League star to attract youngsters to the club by looking to possibly introduce new approaches to school visits.
"The community side of things is so important," he reasoned. "(Community development manager) Paula (Stainton) is doing a fantastic job but we have got to really reach out to these children who get excited when a professional footballer comes to see them.
"They do listen and they are our next generation of fans, so I am here to try and help get more people here. My sons are York fans and we need to tap into that generation and I am happy to visit a number of schools every month and come up with new ideas and initiatives."
Cresswell, who started out as a young professional under the Douglas Craig regime, is also impressed with chairman Jason McGill and his family's vision for the football club, adding: " Who can question their appetite for this football club? It's second to none.
"The amount of time and effort they have put into this club, while running their own business as well, is absolutely frightening. To go where the club were out of the League and into the Conference then back again has been a fantastic progression.
"They don't really get the credit they deserve for the time they put into this club and a lot of it goes unnoticed."
Despite the busy schedule posed by his role, Cresswell will also be making time for a number of charity projects.
He recently donned the boots again as a holding midfielder for Dunnington over-35s in aid of children's cancer charity Yorkshire Candlelighters and, next up, is an attempt to row across the English Channel with a small team including former Leeds team-mate Rob Hulse.
"I am in training for that but, now I have got a full-time job, there will be lots of early mornings for me so I stay fit," he added. "It is in aid of melanoma and in the memory of Bruce Craven - a sports and conditioning coach at Leeds - who was unfortunately, diagnosed with melanoma and, within six weeks, he was no longer with us.
"These things effect people and, hopefully, we can raise a bit of money."
Welcoming Cresswell's appointment, City chief McGill said: “Richard is a very bright, enthusiastic person and wants to be part of York City’s exciting future. He is commercially astute, but also has a UEFA A Licence and is a technically proficient coach who has excellent contacts in both local and national football.”
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