Highlights of Villa boss’ 20 goal-den years

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The average span of a football manager’s time at a club is one-and-a-half seasons.

But one Chorley stalwart is bucking the trend by reaching a staggering 20 years in the job.

Euxton Villa manager Mark McDonnell has guided his side through the Preston and District League and presided over back-to-back promotions in the lower tiers of the West Lancashire League before leading his side in the Premier Division of the same league.

But McDonnell’s breakthrough in management wasn’t the exact way he had pictured it.

He said: “I have been with the club for around 27 years.

“At first I was a player but then I tore my cartilage which ruled me out for a long time.

“While I was injured, I was asked to take over the reserves for one season.

“After that, I wanted to get back playing.

But then suffering another injury, and I was offered the first-team job on the same terms.

“Yet here I am 20 years on and still loving it.”

And those years in the job has been a great success.

One career highlight is leading his side out at the Reebok Stadium against rivals Charnock Richard in the Goldline Trophy.

He added: “That was definitely a big one for me.

“We beat our old rivals Charnock Ricahrd 2-0. It was brilliant.

“We won the Lancashire Trophy on penalties that year as well, so that was a brilliant double-winning season.”

McDonnell was quick to pay tribute to long-term friend and assistant manager Steve Cocker, describing him as one of the most successful junior managers Euxton has ever seen.

There was also praise for former assistant Roger Leigh, Euxton stalwarts Barry Morris, Derek Rudd, Hugh Mackinnon and Stan Rigby as well as long-term skipper Darren Davies.

But McDonnell singled out one person in his life that has seen him through his time at Euxton.

He said: “All the time I spent at Euxton would have been impossible without my wife, Kathryn.

“She has been very patient and given me great support and she even comes to some of the bigger games.

“Our time at Euxton has been brilliant. We have met some great people and some of them have become our greatest friends.”

Even now, McDonnell has no plans to move on anywhere else once he calls it a day.

He added: “Euxton is my club and I’ll never manage anywhere else.

“The set-up here is great and that helps attract plenty of players.

“All the people involved are excellent too – it really is a great club.”