Jim McNulty says he is excited to become more involved in the coaching side of the game after penning a new one-year deal with the club.
The new contract allows the defender to continue as an important part of Dale’s playing squad, but also increase his influence on the coaching and mentoring of the younger players at the club.
“I feel very fortunate to have been given this opportunity,” said McNulty.
“A lot of players at my point may exit the game at this stage or even before now and then look for a position within a coaching structure somewhere, or they go down a different route totally.
“It’s definitely a transition type role for me, where I’m getting experience on the coaching and mentoring side of things with the coaching staff.
“But I’m still getting to do what I came into the game to do 19 years ago, to play and hopefully get over the line on a Saturday, still getting that winning feeling.
“I didn’t get to play too much last year, but I was always clear on my job that I was here to support all the guys, the manager and the staff where possible, which I always try to do. Would I love to play more? Yes, I would. But I’m realistic and my role is ultimately about helping the whole group more than myself. I am looking forward to starting.
“It’s going to be new to me, but I know a lot of forward-thinking clubs within the game are doing it now. They’re bringing a player-coach on board to integrate Under-23 teams into the first team.
“I’ll still be training as a player every day and still competitively pushing for a place in the team. There is still very much a playing side to my contract and I’m looking to support all of the players, using my experience to help them understand as quickly as possible what the manager and staff want. We want to integrate the players as quickly as we can into this season’s ideas.
“We’ve retained some very good players who have performed at League One for a number of years. We still hold some real assets within the club, some who were still under contract and some who have signed new deals.
“That would have been the manager’s and the club’s priority and those players, along with the management team, are going to be real assets in League Two. Continuity after a relegation is a rare thing in football these days. I don’t often see manager or player retention after a relegation, there are normally big clear outs, and I think we can really benefit from the continuity of keeping everything together.
“I think there’ll be a bounce from last season, especially with the way we finished, we were playing some really good stuff. It was just a little too late for us to stay up in that division, but we can take it into this season and start well.
“It’s a big part of my heart now the club. I find myself taking an interest in the bigger picture of the club, as well as the playing side. Once you get past five years at a club, like I have, you know everybody personally across all the levels, and you want to know if this is something that’s moving forward.
“I’ve been here a long time because I’ve wanted to be, and I’ve been fortunate enough that the club has kept me here. It’s become kind of my club. I’m in it with the fans now, based on the amount of time I’ve spent at the club. It’s been a big part of mine and my daughters’ lives, they’re big fans themselves. It becomes part of your life.”
The full interview with McNulty is available to watch for free on YouTube HERE.