“We’re close to appointing Steve Walford,” he said. “He’s worked with Martin O’Neill for the last 20-25 years. I had 10 years under him as a player with him, Martin and John Robertson. “He’s currently first-team coach with Republic of Ireland, and he will continue those duties, but we’ll hopefully get that finalised today (Monday) and he will be here tomorrow. “He knows the way I work. He knows my personality and vice versus. He’s got a wealth of experience, from League One, League Two, Championship, Premier League, Scotland, Europe, Champions League, international level – he’s coached at every spectrum of the game. “I’m very fortunate that he’s agreed to come and really grateful for Martin for giving us this opportunity as well. “We’ve kept in touch over the years. I’ve got a huge respect for him, he had a huge influence on my career, as did Martin. I basically learned the top end of the game from them guys. He’s looking forward to the challenge – it’s fantastic for us.” Press Association Republic of Ireland coach Steve Walford is on the verge of being named Neil Lennon’s new assistant manager at Sky Bet Championship club Bolton. The ex-Arsenal and West Ham defender has been on Martin O’Neill’s coaching staff for the past 25 years and was a tutor to Lennon during the Northern Irishman’s playing days at Leicester and Celtic. With his long-time right-hand man Johan Mjallby standing aside for family reasons, Lennon has moved quickly to fill the void with Walford.
MIDDLETOWN – They may have raised the necessary money to sustain Mater Dei Prep for another year but it is only one of the hurdles going forward for supporters of the struggling Roman Catholic high school.The next step is to establish Mater Dei Prep as an independent Catholic school, like Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft. Mater Dei Prep currently functions as a parish school overseen by the Diocese of Trenton, according to a committee member.But before that can happen, the school must submit the required paperwork to the state Department of Education, have the appropriate insurance and apply and receive approval from the municipality, along with meeting other administrative requirements and ultimately receiving approval from the Diocese of Trenton.That requires volunteers working with the campaign to establish a separate legal entity, a state registered not-forprofit corporation that will be used as an endowment to administer the donated funding. In the future, supporters hope that endowment will have a role akin to an independent educational foundation, continuing fundraising and assisting in purchasing equipment, helping pay for capital improvements as well as other services, accordingto a committee member who is not authorized to speak for the committee.The school representatives will have to meet with Bishop David M. O’Connell and others from the Diocese of Trenton to discuss the school’s plan for its future. However, no date has yet been set.Repeated calls to the diocese seeking comment on the process going for ward were not returned; nor were calls to the Rev. Jeff Kegley, the school’s executive director and St. Mar y’s Parish pastor, and principal Craig Palmer.The school is accepting registration for the coming year and all the grade levels are scheduling for the 2015-16 year, said the committee member.“We’re doing everything we feel is necessary to open Mater Dei Prep’s doors in September,” Jim Shaw said in an email last week. “We are fully committed to the success of Mater Dei Prep and based on our conversations with current and prospective families, we believe the entire MDP community is as positive as we are.”In simple terms, explained Elizabeth Wulfhorst, public relations chairperson for the Seraph’s Fund, “We’re moving from surviving to thriving.”On Feb. 3, Kegley announced that Mater Dei Prep, which was celebrating its 50th anniversary, would have to permanently close its doors this June due to a longstanding budget deficit, unstable enrollment and the announcement late last year that the diocese would discontinue its financial support.Suppor ters, made up of families of current and former students and alumni, rallied, working to raise the money to sustain the school for the coming year and working on an extended plan for the school’s continued viability.The $1 million number was announced as the needed target to continue operations for 2015-16 and to provide the financial groundwork for the future years.— By John Burton