Adam Hinshelwood

6-6, not 1-1?

The Appointment

Adam Hinshelwood was appointed City’s manager on 27th February 2024, just a day after the sacking of Neal Ardley on a "long term contract".

Read More: Worthing and City report the appointment.

Aged 40, Hinshelwood had been at Worthing for over 6 seasons achieving 2 promotions and at the time of his departure, Worthing sat 3rd in National League South with 19 wins and 11 loses. Last season, they lost in the play-off semi final to Oxford City.

His Worthing team played all out attacking football, scoring plenty (and conceding a good number) of goals. At the time of his departure, upfront, journeyman striker, 28 year old Ollie Pearce has 33 goals (including 4 hat-tricks) and has scored in each of his last 7 games.

His entire footballing career has been based in the south east. As a centre back, he spent most of his injury blighted career with Brighton, later spells followed at Aldershot and Wycombe, before retiring in 2010 aged just 26 with a serious knee injury. His transition from player included a spell as a gas man and bag packer at Next and he had to move his family including kids, into his in-laws home and rented out his own home. That sort of grounding took him into non league football and given him an excellent grounding and mindset. He did his coaching badges with Steven Gerrard, what different career paths since.

Subsequently he has managed several small teams in Sussex and has spent a number of years coaching in Brighton’s academy. He was appointed Worthing manager in December 2013 and left in 2015 to take up a role in Brighton’s academy. He returned to Worthing as manager in 2017. Hinshelwood’s promotion to the National League South was halted twice during both the 2019–20 and 2020–21 covid hit seasons, with their eventual promotion secured in 2022 after keeping up on their relentless title-winning form to complete a full season. Subsequently, he was noted in the betting odds for managerial vacanices at Aldershot and Notts County.

To date, his managerial career has been spent at part time clubs playing in regional leagues with little in the way of national media attention. Before joining City, he had discussions about the vacant Sutton managerial post (probably late 2023) and later Worthing refused Wealdstone permission to interview Hinshelwood in January 2024 when their manager Stuart Maynard left to go to Notts County, but as they are part time, Worthing refused permission. Hinshelwood is now thrust into full time club, based 250 miles from his home territory, playing in a national league.

Adam Hinshelwood is the son of ex-England under-21 and Crystal Palace footballer Paul Hinshelwood and nephew of Martin Hinshelwood. His grandfather Wally Hinshelwood was also a professional footballer. Adam’s son Jack plays for Brighton & Hove Albion, making his Premier League debut in May 2023.

He prefers a 442 or 42131 formation and his sides are noted for their free following football and high scoring games.

Moving from Worthing with Hinshelwood are Gary Elphick and Cameron Morrison.

38-year-old Elphick joins as Hinshelwood’s assistant manager. The former Brighton & Hove Albion defender signed for Worthing back in 2015 helped to steer Worthing to win promotion from Isthmian League Division One South at the first attempt via the play-offs. Between 2015 and 2017, he was Worthing manager. He repeated his feat of promotion from Isthmian League Division One South East with Hastings United, winning the title in 2022 before returning to Worthing in the summer of 2023.

Morrison, a qualified UEFA A license holder and MSc degree in Performance Analysis and BSc degree in Football Coaching & Performance, joins City as first team coach. He also worked at Brighton's academy.

Speaking a day after the appointment, Matt Uggla explained the decision, he said, "I want to say thanks very much to Neal and Coxy (Neil Cox, assistant manager) for everything that they did, they left the club in a better place than when they arrived. The decision wasn’t taken lightly, but when we came into the club we had a very clear vision of creating a real identity for the club and the thoughts of myself and others were that we were moving further and further away from the original vision. Along with the recruitment, a lot of the recruitment was made for a certain style of play and we kind of want to see a football team out there playing. The way we moved away from it, if you’re going to do that then you need to get results, otherwise it’s quite ugly football. You can get away with it when you’re snatching late winners, which is fantastic, but I think it was to stop the bleed of moving further and further from the identity of the club. That was the decision we came to. Things were getting, and this is my opinion obviously and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I think that we were getting worse, not better. You look at the teams around us, and I know a lot of people say to not look at the teams around you but I think you have to, Kidderminster have made a managerial change and they are flying, Ebbsfleet made a change and are flying, Woking made a change and have picked up wins. I just think that for what we’re trying to do as a club, in the short-term I do believe that we are in trouble and that this gives us a better chance, otherwise we wouldn’t have made this decision. I’m not just looking at the next 11 games, which are crucial, but what is exciting at York is that we are very much aligned in our visions of where we see the football club running and what we want to see on the pitch. Our ambition can match Adam, who is up and coming and has done a fantastic job in Worthing’s vision, so I am excited. After the Barnet game we had decisions to make. One of the things where we have gone wrong since coming in is by reacting to situations rather than planning for them. We had a plan in place ready to go if we needed to go down that road, we were constantly monitoring people and had followed Adam and a few others for a while, and back tracked a lot of the data, games and had people watching so we could make the most informed decision. After the Barnet game we sat and talked for a while, and we believed that it was the right time. Adam was definitely our first choice, but we could get it done quickly and before the next two games which are crucial. We spoke and he (Neal Ardley) understood, his words were that its football and these things happen, it’s a results based business. He can only be the one to tell you if he was shocked or not, but to me he didn’t seem too shocked. The players that we have at this football club are fantastic, there is a quality in that squad that far exceed our league position. When you play a certain brand of football and you’re not built for that brand of football, you’re probably going to get frustrated and people do get frustrated as a club. I look at the players and staff as one big family, and if there is an issue then I don’t want it lingering. I want them to come and talk to me about it, so that we can address the issue. So yes, there have been people coming and talking to me and saying that we’re not too happy, that’s normal and that happens often, we deal with it. When people had come and talked to me, I will bring it up. It’s crucial that we stay in the league, but Adam has been so successful because of his philosophies. If that’s the way that Adam sees fit to keep us in this league, then fantastic and I truly believe he can from what he’s done with Worthing, unbelievable. He’s got a great background with Brighton as well. It’s an entertainment business and I want to come here on a Saturday and be entertained, Adam has come into a difficult situation but personally I believe that there is enough in this squad for it to start ticking. Time will tell, I might be wrong, but I’m very excited not just about the next 11 games we’ve got, but I’m very excited for the next year, two, three, four, five years. I really think we have found our man to help build this club an identity and move us forward, if the worse happens and we take a step back to take three steps forward then I’ve got to live by the decision I made. But I think that if we sit down here in five years time, then you will say 'good decision Matt'."

It is understood that Hinshelwood was first approached on the day after City's defeat at Barnet and he was announced as City manager on Tuesday afternoon. He had been on City's radar, but not interviewed, when Neal Ardley was appointed manager in September 2023. The appointment was the work of a very small inner sanctum of City officials, believed not to include David Stockdale, with a heavy stats based approach.

A full time manager, at a part time club, in 7 years as Worthing’s manager, he oversaw steady progress, one promotion and he left with the club firmly established in the NLS play off places. His sides were noted for their free flowing football and high scoring games, although not always in the favour of Worthing.

Meet The Manager - June 12, 2024

Overview

Adam Hinshelwood was the 8th City manager to meet York City South and it was the first time the manager has come to us, rather than YCS visiting the team’s hotel on the eve of a game. Of the 8 managers, only Gary Mills has met us more than one.

Whilst nothing earth shattering, Adam spoke well and often referenced warriors and overloads, becoming most animated when talking tactics and formations. He noted a “passionate crowd around the football club”.

Member Nick said, “There were about 25 attendees. Adam arrived at 7.30 and left at 9.30. He was on his feet the whole time and answered questions throughout. He was good humoured, affable and quite open with his answers. He came over much better than say when being interviewed post match by David Ward. He appears totally committed to the job and is thinking in terms of staying for a good few years (assuming results go his way). He likes York, “a beautiful place to live and friendly people, his children have got shirts, scarves etc from the York club shop. He got very animated talking about tactics and how he likes his teams to play. As we all know much emphasis on attacking and scoring goals. I departed the meeting feeling quite uplifted by Adam and felt much happier about him being our manager than I had been when I entered the meeting. Now looking forward to next season!”

Worthing Departure / Family

Hinsh and his wife have 5 children, the eldest is Jack, a Brighton first team player (about to buy his first home), 3 daughters around their teenage years and a 9 year old son (now a City supporter) who he is looking to move from Brighton’s academy when the family relocate to York. The family saw all City’s last games. His wife is excited to be house hunting in York and the whole family seen happy with the move.

His first managerial job was at Selsey when he was 28, spending 2 years there before joining Worthing.

The move to York happened very quickly, Worthing told him, “York are in for you, we feel its a good club to go” having previously denied Wealdstone (another part time club) permission to approach him. He noted some previous interest in him from other clubs (previously stated as Sutton and Aldershot).

He gave the impression that he had outgrown Worthing where although his position was full time, the first team was part time and he managed all the different academy sides.

He is looking forward to the City where his focus is very much more on the first team. He noted that Worthing had scored over 100 (104) league goals during the 2023/4 season.

Early City Days

Hinsh noted City’s facilities as being a “lovely venue, a great place work”, although on his first day, he was told he couldn’t use the pitches at the training ground as they were flooded.

When he arrived at York, he wanted to give everyone a chance, he noted the players were low on confidence and with “a lot of players earning good money, some with their feet up” and he needed to change that.

He believes that Julie-Anne Uggla and Matt Uggla were attracted by his style of football and he tried to implement it straight away but the first game was an eye opener as passes went astray and players were low in confidence.

Against AFC Fylde, some senior players noted his style was too confusing as he looked for lots of movement to create overloads in specific areas of the pitch and that the players looked uncomfortable.

“The first couple of weeks were tough” and after Altrincham, he realised the team needed more energy in midfield. Marvin Armstrong arrived, it meant that Alex Hunt had more freedom to play.

He felt one of his favourite moments was Lenny’s goal against Aldershot, recalling when “Lenny’s goal (went in), I could see the confidence oozing from the players and felt the stadium erupting” and the uplift in team spirit in the dressing room after the game, team confidence grew from there. “The crowd got the team going, buzz in the dressing room. That atmosphere was amazing, it made the players grow”.

He felt in City’s last 7 games he could see a “bit of identity” in City’s style of play and felt City could possibly have won all 7. He liked the players reaction after Solihull, “it wasn’t a great celebration (having avoided relegation).”

Bromley, away was ”incredible 400 – 500 fans whilst “Solihull felt like a home game, I really want to generate that”.

Looking forward to the 2024/5 season “home form could be massive, could make (it, LNER) a real intimidating place to come, support behind both goals made a big difference, fans could play a real part”.

New Players / 2024/5 Season

Hinsh believes “character of player is vital” and has have turned down players due to character, “character is so important”. He is now looking for “6 foot, need warriors with real potential” and those “who can do it at this level”

Of the new signings, he spoke about:

  • Ollie Pearce: “People doubted if he could (step up and) do it at NLS level, he got 70 goals in 2 seasons and is doing extra gym, thriving, having seen him over several pre seasons, I have seen him develop from a sulky character, mature, now a leader”
  • Joe Felix: “Similar to Marvin in terms of work rate, he will leave his heart and soul on the pitch and can’t wait to be a pro and who will be another fans favourite alongside Marvin. He can play at RB, LB, CM, RW, LW, technically a really good player, bundles of energy”
  • Joe Felix, Tyrese Sinclair and Alex Hunt: “All under 24 who will work and progress”
  • Alex Hunt: “Technical ability, suits how we want to play”
  • Ashley Nathaniel-George and Tyrese Sinclair: “Can both play on either wing”
  • “Harrison Male, Rory Watson and George Sykes-Kenworthy: “3 excellent keepers”
  • Marvin Armstrong would travel up from London to Worthing for 121 coaching with Hinshelwood during the close season and if that is repeated this summer, I suspect Hinshelwood might focus on Armstrong’s finishing skills after he recalled an incident at Solihull . He jumped 2 levels to join Barnet and rang Hinshelwood when he was appointed City’s manager to wish him well
  • He hopes the influence of his new signings who have previously worked with him will rub off on other players.

Of the retained players, he considers:

  • Callum Howe, Adam Crookes and Lenell John-Lewis are big and provide balance against the smaller players noting that ”good, technical players over 6 foot 3 don’t play at National League level for too long, (you) need your warriors”
  • Paddy McLaughlin and Lenell John-Lewis are good role models who set the standards and run dressing room. He has told Leone Gravata to watch and learn from how Paddy conducts himself
  • Ryan Fallowfield “could be a top top CB”, at RB he tends to drift into Armstrong’s space
  • Consider Callum Howe, Adam Crookes and Ryan Fallowfield as centre backs
  • Dan Batty tends to drift right
  • Of the academy prospects, he said 3 had signed pro contracts:
    • Defender Billy Marshall has “Yorkshire mentality, wants to win”
    • Leon Gibson Booth (LCB) is “a big lad”
    • Sam Taylor
  • He said some players have already agreed to go out on loan and he is seeking 2 good players in each position
  • He hopes to start pre-season training (June 27) with maybe just one player not quite fit but that 2 others will have got over niggles.

Going forward, it is largely a case of getting players out, but a couple (of signings) are on the radar but won’t happen straight away, any more signings are likely to be on the basis of one out / one in.

One recruitment he wasn’t involved with was that that of new physio, although not yet named by City, it is believed to be Sam Mannings, after physio Lewis Bulmer left for Doncaster at the end of last season. He took a back seat with Paul Harmston (Head Of Sports Science) prominent, the recruitment panel were in agreement that Mannings who previously combined part time roles at Worthing and Hampshire CCC was the best fit for the job. Mannings is excited to have one focus, rather than split focus, in his new role.

2024/5 Rivals

Hinsh named:

  • Sutton / Forest Green Rovers: “Recruiting well” but Sutton have a “lot (of players) out of contract”
  • Solihull: “A good season”
  • Barnet: Signed “a lot of players”.

Tactics

Dan Batty at RB means fluid formation drifting into CM to make an overload.

“If you want to dominate the ball, you need to be fluid to get overloads”.

“Players’ flexibility will help with a smaller squad”.

Need to be forward thinking at set pieces, might consider zonal (against a big time) and aiming for 60 / 70% possession.

Hinsh talked about how he’d defended corners in one game with 3 up to get opponents to get their height out of box (when a team was over powering City), the opposition would leave 4 back and he would do the same again.

A team needs balance, if the opposition go man for man, (we) need to draw them out, need to give your players the knowledge, he is all for playing out from the back but believes there is no better ball than a long ball from the back that opens up opposition.

He named his preferred front 4 for the opening game of the season, 2 prolific strikers and 2 newly signed wingers.

England

Hinsh went one better naming a front 5 to start for England for the Euros, “Bellingham and Foden pushing forward, Saka and Palmer out wide, with Kane up top with Trent providing overloads from right back”.

England do “not concede many”, he'd play Kyle Walker as CB, Trent at RB and drifting into CM.

Staff

Gary Elphick: Analysis.

Cam Morrison: Coaching (/analysis).

Tony McMahon: Leading scouting / recruitment, speaking to agents, “taken to the role well”.

Scouting: Julie-Anne Uggla and Matt Uggla decide it was better for Hinshelwood to take ownership, he is assessing how many of the 8 regional scouts are reliable, the ones we can keep.

Mental Health

Hinsh has limited social media presence, only instagram, where he gets lots of agents contacting him.

He likes to focus on what he can control.

Has been approached by mental health experts. Joe Stead has had a number of coffees away from the ground, in a different environment, with Joe Stead to make sure he is alright

He likes to show his human side, a caring personality, off the pitch.

He aims to train at ground once a month and then for the payers to eat with wider staff allowing them form player / staff bonds, to strengthen relationships and it gives players someone else to talk to.

Academy

Hinsh has been involved with the academy and the week after our meeting (w/c June 17), he has a big session in York with all the academy coaching team. He is looking for all City’s sides to play the same way and to create a pathway from youth to first team, he wants all City sides to play in same style.

He gave the impression that he is more committed to the academy than any previous manager that YCS have spoken to.

He has already watched some academy and age group City sides as well being involved in some of their training sessions.

He believes his close involvement with the young players will help them to instil a strong City identity in them and for them to form a closer attachment to the club.

When asked about cup replays being scrapped, the conversation moved onto how “the big club always get their way and everything happens with what the Premier League wants, (they) make decisions on what is best for them, the big boys essentially always get what they want” and that Hull are showing a strong interest in 4 of City’s outstanding Under 15 side. AH has spoken to the boys and outlined his vision for a pathway to the first team for them. “I want to see them in our first team in 4 years time”. City have no EPPP protection in regards to young academy players.

Fans

Hinsh noted queues around the ground on kit sale (May 28) and wants to “build on the buzz”.

He is seeking to further integrate City and fans and “want to be here a long time”.

He noted at Bromley the fans “gave them (the players) a lift, 500 away fans gave the team a massive lift”.

Whilst against Chesterfield, his half time team talk was based on crowd, “get one” and the impact of crowd will be great.

The buzz the players got from the crowd was mentioned more than once. Exciting times ahead..

“A Pleasure and a Privilege”

Member Shirley said, “It was a pleasure and a privilege to welcome Adam Hinshelwood to our York City South meeting at the Sheephaven Pub. Adam spoke eloquently and humbly about his time and future at YCFC. Personally, he's the favourite manager I've ever met!!!. You might say, what's that got to do with it as long he gets the results on the pitch. But for me I expect my manager, chairman, CEO and Secretary to live, breath and bleed YCFC. It's called Passion!!”

York City South would like to thank Adam Hinshelwood for travelling up to London to spend the evening with us.

The Next Chapter

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