Former Clarets Midfielder Welcomes New Challenge

Mark Yates Brewing New Management Skills

Former Clarets midfielder Mark Yates returned to the dug-out as manager of Stourbridge at the end of February, he did so fully refreshed and with a different view of management having spent time working as manager of Piccolos Coffee House in Bewdley. The former Kidderminster Harriers, Cheltenham Town and Solihull Moors boss felt he needed a new challenge outside of football and his Coffee House was the perfect place to learn new skills.

Yates, who left Kidderminster Harriers last April following a short second spell with the club said, “I took the decision to take sometime out and we bought a coffee house, I just felt that a break from the game would do me good. I didn’t want to be solely reliant on getting a job in football as I get older, I love football and really enjoy the new challenge with Stourbridge Football Club, however there are only so many managers jobs around and with a family you need to ensure you have enough money coming into the house.

Buying the Coffee House and getting stuck into a new challenge was just what I needed then in February I was offered the managers role at Stourbridge and it works perfectly. I have know the Chairman Andy Poutney for a number of years and its a club he wants to take to the next level. It’s a well run stable club that do things correctly from the academy though to the first team and the club has a great fan base.”

Mark Yates has brought Neil Howarth to the club as his assistant manager,the pair have worked together in the past at a number of clubs and first met thirty years ago whilst part of the first team squad at Burnley Football Club. The management duo had just one game in charge before the Southern Premier League Central Division season was cancelled due to the Coronavirus.

Yates, was appointment by the Glassboys was a real coup for the club as only last year he was a Football League manager with Macclesfield Town, the club was in disarray behind the scenes and after a short spell back at Kidderminster Harriers he used the time off to learn skills in his new family run business. “I work serving customers some days but it’s also about the stock and learning a fair bit about the business side of things” said Yates

“I’am really enjoying the different challenges of the business word, it’s dealing with people your customers, I think am a people person anyway and we get some nice regulars to the coffee house. I have been ringing around a few of them during the current crisis to make sure they are all OK. Bewdley is a really nice place and a great community which has made running the coffee house really enjoyable all year.

The coronavirus is making difficult for both the coffee house business and for football clubs at all levels in terms of finance. Since the government lockdown started back in March, both the coffee house and Stourbridge are closed to customers until July at the earliest. However, I think the financial impact will continue long after that with social distance rules being in place well into next year.

Yates, is a level-headed about the current situation for football and his own business, he is having regular calls with the club chairman Poutney but like all managers, is having to feel through the dark of not knowing when non-league football can realistically start up again. Speaking about the current issues Mark Yates said, “I am taking the bigger picture, it gives a chance for football to reassess, are the clubs going to get the crowds certainly not to start with but football is a massive attraction and the fans will come back.

At our level the crowds are everything they are the life blood of clubs like Stourbridge we need supporters through the door because it is a big part of your budget. Hopefully clubs will be looked after and football can come out of all this in a much stronger position.”

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