Jon Stead praises Simon Weaver following Harrogate Town exit

Jon Stead says Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver's management style definitely rubbed off on him during his two years at Wetherby Road.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 10:11 am
Updated Thursday, 13th May 2021, 10:22 am
Jon Stead and Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver embrace after the veteran striker was substituted at Cheltenham on what was the final appearance of his 19-year playing career. Picture: Matt Kirkham

The 38-year-old former Premier League star announced his retirement at the weekend, bringing the curtain down on a 19-year-long professional playing career.

He subsequently announced his intention to move into coaching having hung up his boots and revealed that he has learned plenty from Weaver's approach to man-management.

“The gaffer and Thirs [Paul Thirlwell] have both been brilliant with me,” Stead told the Harrogate Advertiser.

Jon Stead's last goal came in Harrogate Town's 2-1 defeat at Colchester United on October 24, 2020.

“The best thing for me about the gaffer is how down to earth he is and how honest he is. Those are the characteristics of the kind of person who you want to be around.

“The way that he deals with people and certainly the way he has always been with me is superb. I think there is a lot to be said for being honest and up front with your players.

“ As a coach, or if I end up managing one day, I would always want to try and be like that and handle myself the same way the gaffer [Weaver] always has.”

Stead also spoke in glowing terms about the atmosphere within Town's dressing room, insisting that he has made friends for life during his two seasons at the EnviroVent Stadium.

“Obviously I have been in a lot of different changing rooms over the years and this is certainly one of the closest-knit groups," he added.

“I’ve got on so well with everyone during my time at Harrogate that I wouldn’t really want to start singling people out, but Mullers [Jack Muldoon], Belly [James Belshaw] and Becky [Mark Beck] are probably the three who I’ve messed about with the most on the training ground.

“At every club you make friends and get close to people, but quite often when you move on, you don’t stay in touch. That’s just football.

“But, I don’t think that will be the case with the Harrogate lads. I know I will remain mates with a lot of them.

“I’ve not been kicked out of the group chat on WhatsApp yet, so I’m hoping that I can I survive a bit longer and then turn up at the odd Christmas party in the future.”

Stead's last appearance for Town was the 700th of his career and came in Saturday's 4-1 loss at Cheltenham, the Sulphurites' final outing of 2020/21.

But he was able to sign off in style, having won the FA Trophy at Wembley just five days earlier, only nine months on from helping the club secure a first-ever promotion to the Football League courtesy of a 3-1 success over Notts County in the National League play-off final.