ROYTON’S Pete Wild has made a dream start as manager of Vanarama National League side Halifax Town.
Wild, who had two hugely successful spells in temporary charge of Oldham Athletic’s first team last season, has won his first three matches as the Shaymen sit top of the table.
“We have made a decent start, but you don’t win any trophies after three games. We are keeping our feet firmly on the ground as nobody expected us to be up there,” explained Wild, 35, whose side has beaten Ebbsfleet 4-1 away and Hartlepool United 2-0 and Dagenham & Redbridge 1-0 at home.
It was a brave decision by Wild to walk away from Oldham Athletic, where most of his 12 years were coaching in the academy, with no job lined up. He added it was a “hunch” that the time was right to move on.
Wild, who has won 11, drawn five and lost four of 20 games in charge of Latics and Halifax, revealed he was close to landing two jobs as manager in the English Football League before being appointed by FC Halifax Town.
He said: “I got down to the last two a couple of times but just couldn’t get over the line.
“I kept applying for job as I had never before been out of work. It was a weird time after leaving Latics when I felt it was the right time to go.”
Wild admitted the circumstances about landing the FC Halifax Town job were bizarre after he was initially approached about becoming assistant manager.
He explained: “I was expecting a call from manager Jamie Fullarton only to find out he had quit so I rang the chairman and arranged to meet him.
“Halifax is a former Football League club, a big one at this level and with massive potential but similar to Oldham in terms of resources and constraints.”
FC Halifax Town finished 16th in the National League last season and Wild says it is important to build on the great start.
They have a tough time ahead with back-to-back away games at Wrexham and Aldershot this week and AFC Fylde to play at home on Saturday, August 24.
“The quicker we get to 50 points the better because we will be safe. The target is be top half and, if we manage that, you never know what will happen after that,” he said.
Wild, having managed Latics, believes there is no difference between the National League and League Two, something he says is underlined by the way promoted clubs prosper in the EFL.
He added there is no pressure on his side, continuing: “There are some big clubs with big budgets and big expectations in our league.
“We have our own expectations but nobody going to the bookies would have Halifax as the first team for promotion.
“It is great that nobody rates us and hopefully we can continue under the radar.”
Wild, who helped Latics win at Premier League club Fulham where he outfoxed Claudio Ranieri in the FA Cup, is looking forward to pitting his wits against other top managers.
In his first three games at FC Halifax own he has beaten Dagenham & Redbridge who had former England manager Peter Taylor in charge, Hartlepool managed by former Premier League player Craig Hignett and Ebbsfleet by the vastly experienced Garry Hill.
Wild has appointed Chris Millington, who worked with him in Latics’ academy, as his assistant.
They are full time while the players are “hybrid” professionals as they train three mornings each week.
Wild said he is working to establish a culture where the players enjoy coming to work as he believes that will then be replicated on the pitch.
“I want my team to be horrible to play against – that is non-negotiable. We must work as hard as we can and, when games open up, I want our players to express themselves,” he said.