FORMER Leeds United and Scotland striker Ross McCormack raised plenty of eyebrows when he signed for eighth-tier Liversedge this summer after three years out of football.

But the 36-year-old has spoken to the T&A in glowing terms about the club, feeling they were the only ones who wanted him for the right reasons, and that he sees his long-term future here, having also become their director of football.

McCormack insisted, as far as the rest of his playing career goes, it will only take place at Liversedge, and that he has no intention of returning to the professional game.

Now a director at housing design company Feature Walls UK too in Leeds, McCormack feels Sedge have gone above and beyond to make him feel as if he made the perfect choice to join.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Ross McCormack (16) celebrates scoring for Scotland against Australia.Ross McCormack (16) celebrates scoring for Scotland against Australia. (Image: PA.)

He said: “A lot of clubs got in touch, but Liversedge were the only ones who really saw it as long-term.

“A lot of the others maybe thought I could just bring in extra supporters, which I get, but with Sedge I met (directors) Sharon and Steve (Osborne), as well as the manager Rimmo (Jonathan Rimmington) in Glasgow.

“We had a good chat, and we decided that being a player wasn’t enough, as I wanted something else.

“I think they felt getting as many football people around the place would benefit them, so that’s why it’s a player/director of football role.

“It’s a great opportunity for me.”

He added: “Everything depends on the people you work with, and I’ve been around football long enough to know there’s quite a percentage of people you can’t trust.

“But when I met Sharon and Steve, I knew right away they were good people with good intentions for the club and it was something I wanted to be part of.

“I didn’t want to just come in short-term, build the club’s profile, and then walk away after a year.

“If I play this year, then never again, I’d want to stay around the club and help them continue with their progression, so it was a no-brainer to come.”

Asked why made the decision to return to the game in the first place, having not played beyond exhibition level since 2020, McCormack said: “I missed football, not necessarily even the playing side that much, just the banter of being around the boys.

“I was always half-thinking of going back into it, but not at a high level, no disrespect to Liversedge.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Liversedge (pink and black) taking on near-neighbours Albion Sports in a pre-season friendly last month.Liversedge (pink and black) taking on near-neighbours Albion Sports in a pre-season friendly last month. (Image: Alex Daniel.)

“I felt if I had to go in and train full-time, with me being out for so long, there was a fair chance I’d break down and that would be it for me.”

And McCormack underlined his commitment to Sedge by saying: “If there’s anyone out there thinking that me joining Sedge is a way of trying to get back into football and using it as a springboard to return to the professional game, I have no intention of that whatsoever, it won’t be happening.

“From what I’ve seen of this league and the two above it, I don’t think there’s much between the teams, and I don’t foresee a situation where I’m going to be jumping between clubs.

“There’s no point in doing that whatsoever, so for as long as I’m playing it’ll be here.”

McCormack is keen to get game time at Sedge, but knows his body still needs a bit of fine-tuning.

He said: “The playing side of it is still taking priority, it’s just a case of trying to get fit having been out of the game for so long and focusing on other things.

“In terms of starting games for Sedge, I’m still a few weeks away yet.”

Asked if he was impressed by the ability he had seen from his team-mates, given this is three leagues below the lowest level McCormack had previously played at, he said: “I think more importantly than that, their work ethic is fantastic.

“They go to training on a Tuesday and Thursday night, and some of them have got jobs in the daytime too.

“It’s probably not easy for them, but they turn up, smile, train hard and enjoy it so they’re good to work with.

Sedge had won two consecutive promotions, but last season was the first setback in a long time, as they were relegated from the Northern Premier League Premier Division.

They start the 2023/24 campaign at home to Cleethorpes Town today, and McCormack said: “The aim is to be challenge to get back up out of this league, but speaking to people at the club, there was a feeling that last season was a step too far.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: This penalty from Guiseley's Courtney Meppen-Walter sent Liversedge (red and white) down.This penalty from Guiseley's Courtney Meppen-Walter sent Liversedge (red and white) down. (Image: Alex Daniel.)

“But I think if we were to go back up, with the club being in good hands, I think we’d do a better job in terms of keeping the club at that level and then just going from there.

“I think it’s important though, if you get promoted, not to worry about going up again immediately the next year.

“Just consolidate, find your feet, and progress a little bit more slowly. Otherwise it’s two steps forward and one back, or vice versa, and you become a bit of a yo-yo side, which is not something the club wants to be.”