Buxton assistant manager Tim Ryan continued to help mould the club’s pre-season plans this week - but not before becoming a World Cup winner.
The 41-year-old has spent the past fortnight in Thailand where he was part of the England squad competing in the Seniors World Cup, a tournament aimed at players aged over 38-years-old.
And, alongside several other former professional stars, he helped England to an eventual win over the host nation in the final to crown them world champions.
He said: “It’s the second time I’ve been out there; last year we got to the semi-final so were determined to go one better.
“This time we ended up playing five games in six days, which in the heat is pretty tiring, but it was worth it as we won the final 1-0.”
Ryan was part of a squad of 24 at the tournament which included the likes of Barry Hayles, Gareth Ainsworth, Peter Beagrie, Andy Hessenthaler, Nicky Southall, Jason Price and Kenny Irons, all experienced ex-pros who were alongside several other veterans from the non-league game.
After spending three days in Bangkok acclimatising, the squad flew to Chiang Mai for the tournament where they found themselves in a group along with Iran, Taiwan and the USA.
A 6-0 win over Taiwan saw former Doncaster Rovers star Ryan volleying England’s first goal early on, before a 2-0 win against the USA followed in a match that saw Ryan sent off for a second yellow card.
That meant he missed the final group game against Iran which would decide who would top the group, but a 2-1 defeat meant they would face Scotland in the semi-final.
A 3-1 win saw Hayles net twice to put England into the final where they proceeded to win with the only goal of the game.
Ryan added: “It’s competitive stuff and with the games being 80 minutes long, with water breaks half way through each half, it takes it out of you which is why you need to take a big squad.
“It’s good to catch up with a lot of the lads and there’s plenty of chill out time too, but when you’re travelling so far and when you’re away for the best part of two weeks, it’s important to try and do well so we’re chuffed to have won it.”
Meanwhile, Ryan says he and Bucks boss Martin McIntosh are happy with the way the summer is progressing at the Silverlands.
Jamie Green this week became the latest of last season’s squad to commit his future to the club, with Ryan keen to emphasise the importance a player like Green has to the squad.
He said: “We’ve managed to secure all the lads we wanted to keep from last season which was really important to us, because along with the good signings we’ve made it’s meant we’re getting a really strong squad together.
“Jamie has been so pivotal to us that he’s the kind of player it would be very difficult to replace, so it was crucial to keep him here.
“We got a couple of our key targets in early on and there may well be two or three more that we try and add before the season starts, but as things stand we’re happy with how things are going.
“Last season was a tough slog but the players deserve great credit for knuckling down and pushing through and it’s important we now push on and improve next season.”