Blidworth Welfare officially welcome their new manager Lewis Saxby. The 27 year old has joined the club from fellow Central Midlands Black Dragon Division South Club Linby Colliery FC and brings with him his previous coaches Daniel Machin and Daniel Hatfield.
The ex-Teversal manager managed to finish in 9th place this year in his only season with Linby after having to create a squad from scratch at the start of pre-season. Some of the impressive results he managed to pick up included a 2-1 win over Sherwood Colliery, a 3-2 defeat of South Normanton and a double 4-1 and 3-1 home and away victories over his new club.
When asked about what persuaded him to take on his new position, Lewis said “The facilities were a massive pull, it is nice to be in a position where we don’t need to raise money or upgrade the ground before we can challenge as we are already in a strong position. The chance to play in the FA Vase was also a big influence.”
It hasn’t taken the new manager long to bring his influence upon the club as within the first few days he persuaded his former club’s press officer and photographer to join him as well as committing four of his ex-players for the upcoming campaign.
Those players are last season’s player’s player and captain Aidy Harris, manager’s player Jordan O’Callaghan, pacey attacker Lewis Weaver and ex-Ollerton striker Joshua Brentnall.
On his committed signings Saxby says “These are the lads i’ve worked with closely last season and for some of them before that at Teversal too and they know how I work and I can trust them. I’m delighted that they’ve joined me and I might also be looking at a couple more.” He went on to say “That doesn’t mean the lads who are already here won’t get a chance, i’ve invited them all down to pre-season and i’m sure a fair few of them will be involved next year”.
His coaches Daniel Machin and Daniel Hatfield were both at Linby with Lewis before joining. The new manager commented on Machin’s enthusiasm and dedication as key attributes that he brings to the club as well as emphasising the fact the two coaches trust each other.
Daniel Hatfield is an internationally travelled goalkeeper who recently had a spell in Sweden cut short due to injury. Lewis was happy for him to enter the fold last season and was impressed with the work he did with Linby’s goalkeepers, something that he hopes to transfer to the Welfare Ground.
With some seasons still wrapping up, Lewis is already deep into preparation for the upcoming campaign. He pinpointed the need for a small, committed squad; a decision that he says will lead to a stronger team spirit and consistency. “I’m a big believer that if you’re honest with the players, that is half the battle won and if you’re winning games even better” was the reply when he was questioned about keeping everybody happy who isn’t playing.
When asked about some of the players he wanted to sign, he said “There are a few players i’m talking to at the moment that if I can get over the line will lead to exciting times ahead.” Lewis also mentioned his previous use of young players, he said that he wanted to continue to give players the opportunity to play if they were good enough but also pointed out the need for a good balance alongside more experienced players.
Looking ahead at the future of the club, the plan for the new manager in the short term is to start to challenge the teams at the top end of the table. Then once things have settled he hopes the club will be able to set up a u21’s which will give him a chance to produce the club’s own good young footballers. Looking further ahead, Saxby hopes that the club will be able to get promotion to step 6 before consolidating itself at that level.
Lewis Saxby’s new squad’s first friendly takes place at the Welfare Ground on the 1st July with Ravenshead FC the visitors. Kick off is 3pm.
Updated 13:21 - 21 May 2017 by Kieran Booker