Craig Harrison Secures Another Trophy as a Manager with The New Saints
The New Saints boss Craig Harrison has secured his 15th trophy as a manager after his side clinched the JD Cymru Premier League title in Wales.
At the age of 45, the second-time around TNS supremo and Football Careers client is now targeting no16 and a Welsh double for his team as they gear up to face Bala Town in the Cup Final at Bangor on April 30.
TNS clinched the title with a 0-0 draw at closest rivals Connah’s Quay. That means they can’t be caught. They have a 17-point lead with five games remaining and the title is staying at Park Hall, the home of Wales’ powerhouse franchise. A delighted Craig said:
“It’s fantastic. The lads have done so well to win the league with five games to go. We’ve got a lot of hard workers, great professionals, and they aren’t getting sick of winning and that’s something I’m big on.
“I’m delighted to win my 15th trophy as a manager and now we can start planning for the 16th and European competition again next season.”
TNS chairman Mike Harris now believes Harrison can use the title triumph to catapult the Welsh club back into the spotlight in Europe. He stressed:
“We want to make our mark on European football and take this club to where it belongs. I have every belief that we can compete at that level.
“Getting to the group stage is very, very difficult in the Champions League but I believe getting into the group stages of one of the three competitions is well within our grasp in the next two or three seasons.”
Harrison knows the demands of bossing TNS: he has thrived on it before. That’s why when the chance to return to the top club job in the Cymru Premier League came about eight months ago he had no hesitation in accepting the challenge of guiding the reigning champions.
Craig was already a legend at the club after a hugely successful six-year stint in charge between 2011 and 2017. Back then he was named Welsh Premier League Manager of the Year, an award that marked a body of work that saw him win six consecutive Welsh Premier League titles along with three Welsh Cups and three Welsh League Cups.
Craig also masterminded TNS’ World Record for the longest winning streak in top-flight football.
Former Middlesbrough, Preston North End, and Crystal Palace midfielder Harrison saw his own playing days cut short by a horrific double leg break that forced him into early retirement. He has bravely rebuilt his life in football as a coach and knows the peaks and troughs of his profession.
Craig’s success in Wales saw him recruited by Hartlepool United, who were in the National League back in 2018. He moved his family to England for the adventure but it was to turn within 10 months with the club battling financial troubles. Harrison reflected:
“I will always look back and know how tough it was to be told you are not needed anymore. There was so much to cope with there, being told players weren’t going to get paid for instance.
“Yet I believe now that these experiences mould you, it can’t all be positives and my time there made me a better manager and a better person.”
Craig’s journey as a coach continues and by the end of this month, he could be celebrating Sweet 16 with yet another trophy on his Football Careers CV.