King’s Lynn Town’s ‘Mr Motivator’ McNeil ready to keep pumping the Linnets up
- Credit: Matthew Usher
King's Lynn Town's very own Mr Motivator is hoping he can keep pumping up the Linnets all the way to promotion.
First-team coach Ross McNeil may not be as nationally recognised as Derrick Evans, who shot to fame on ITV's GMTV programme, but he is every bit as important in The Walks' dressing room.
Along with boss Gary Setchell and assistant Neil Fryatt, he master-minded Lynn's breathtaking run in the FA Trophy and excellent start to life in Evo-Stik Division One South.
And the 30-year-old PE teacher at the town's King Edward VII School has played a pivotal role in getting the best out of Lynn's players by using a series of inspirational quotes, videos and PowerPoint presentations.
McNeil, who used team-talks from the British Lions' tour of South Africa in 1997 and the iconic 'Now We Are Free' theme from film Gladiator ahead of the AFC Telford United and Southport games, said: 'The lads are my responsibility between 2.10-2.45pm on a matchday. I always start with a little chat to get them ready.
'Telford and Southport were special games. So we did something a bit more in depth. The words and situations in the Lions' videos were like ours. It was the biggest game of some of the players' involved lives. If you listen to the words and the music they're motivational.
'It's all about trying to get the extra 0.01pc out of the players. We started well against Telford and like a train against Southport. Did it work? I think it did. Our team spirit and togetherness has been the key factor to our successes this season.'
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Having earned a degree in sports science and education, before majoring in sports psychology-teaching, McNeil admits he believes battles are often won in the mind before they are on the pitch.
He's often heard saying 'life begins at the end of your comfort zone', 'go the extra mile', 'be the best you can be', and admits he experienced similar 'powerful' techniques while playing for Lynn under Gary Mills.
McNeil said: 'He was always going on about passion, commitment and discipline. If he asked you the three key words and you didn't know them you'd be in for it. He enjoyed getting satisfaction out of seeing players give their all and so do I.'
Lynn's management team's next test will be trying to inspire more good memories when they travel to league leaders Coalville Town on Saturday.
McNeil said: 'Gary's (Setchell) really big on the 'one big family' idea. I'm part of the management team, a squad, and the club. We're in it together. Neil and I compliment each other. We work closely together and Gary tends to let us get on with it.
'Setch is a top manager to work for and he is definitely going places. Our team dream is to give our all at all times, to be relentless in our pursuit of success, and hopefully at the end of it get promoted.'