My story will be about a provincial clubs rise from the lower leagues to Premier League glory and beyond, and will be told from a first hand perspective, I start as a sunday league footballer so no helping hand, Hope you enjoy and any feedback welcome.
FROM SEAHORSES TO SUPERSTARDOM
DIARY OF A NON LEAGUE MANAGER
We start in Level 9 of the football league in the Northern League Division 1 with Whitley Bay
Press conference gathers for the arrival of the new man, when I appear I look into the room and there are two reporters….seems like I stirred up a bit of interest.....or not.
Questions are put across and the same old qusetions and cliches and to honest it was a little bit underwhelming, im here to embark on the greatest challenge this club has ever seen.
I’m here to take Whitley Bay to the Premier League…and beyond
Reporter: How do you intend to do that
Me: through hard work, Determination and the support of the fans, The town and ultimately the board
Reporter: Whitley Bay are a club who have never been higher than the Northern Premier League, do you think your aim is realistic
Me: Absolutely I wouldn’t have said it if I don’t mean it.
Reporter: Whitley Bay is an amateur club and your players can leave the club for free if they want to how do you expect to hold on to them if bigger clubs come sniffing.
Me: If we achieve our aims, why would you want to leave and I’m not in the business of keeping players who want away
As the reporters are packing up I call them back as I have one more point I that would like to address
“as I have stated my aim is to move Whitley Bay from the northern league Division 1 to the Premier League, I would like to do that as quickly as is possible, what I haven’t told you is that along the way I will pay the exact sum of ZERO in transfer fees, I will not pay loan fees either.
I will only sign youth players or free contracts or Bosman, where I am loaning any players I will only pay wage costs and no ancillary fees such as weekly contributions to the parent club.
This club suffered through financial difficulty and i will not be one who will be party to that in future.
I need the support of the board to allow me to achieve these aims through time by ensuring that our facilities are commensurate with this policy.
Thank you for your attendance
I smiled as I walked away, if that doesn’t get them talking nothing will.
Whitley Bay Football Club (also known as The Bay, or The Seahorses) are an English football club based in the North-East of England near ‘the Toon’ . The present Whitley Bay Football Club was formed in 1950 and was known as Whitley Bay Athletic.
Whitley Bay play their home matches at Hillheads Park, which is adjacent to the Whitley Bay Ice Rink in Whitley Bay and has a maximum capacity of 4,500.
The club spent most of the 1990s playing in the Northern Premier League, since then, the club suffered following financial problems and they were relegated. They now play in the Northern League Division One.
- FA Vase
- Winners 2002, 2009, 2010, 2011
- Northern Premier League
- Division One Champions 1990–91
- Division One Cup Winners 1988–89, 1990–91
- Northern League
- Champions 1964–65, 1965–66, 2006–07
- Runners-up 1959–60, 1966–67, 1968–69, 1969–70
- Challenge Cup Winners 1965, 1971
- Northumberland Senior Cup
- Winners 1953, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1987, 2005, 2010
- Runners-up 1954, 1955, 1956, 1966, 1977, 1986, 1991, 2003
The Playing Squad
First things first, let’s take a look at the playing squad and immediately there were grave reservations.
I needed a total clear out as very few of my players would make the grade, rather than have a mass exodus I would do this gradually and try to address each area when I needed to and when players were available.
Goalkeepers were not the greatest but then again neither was most in the league so we would have to make do unless something special came my way.
Defensively we look ok with plenty of cover in depth all of a comparative level of quality, a few decent youngsters.
I think defensively I would be fairly strong and not leak to many goals….famous last words
Midfield and attack were the real areas of concern
A quick delve into the free transfer market and I managed to pick up a few recruits that I hoped would strengthen the pool of players.
Jamar Dobson – ST - 18 year old - released by Stoke City
Vincent Pericard - ST - 30 year old journeyman - released from Havant & Waterlooville
Gomez Dali - ST – 24 Year old Argentinian / English and looks a good prospect released by Woking
Patrick Nzuzi – DR - 21 year old - released by Newcastle United
The board showed a real lack of ambition by stating that a mid table finish would be acceptable to them, maybe I was at the wrong club.
The odds had put Whitley bay as mid table also, with Darlington, Spennymoor Town and West Auckland Town as front runners
With only one place up for grabs in terms of promotion opportunity, this was going to be a tough season….but then again so were they all going forward we just need to dig deep and get on with it.
Team meeting was called and fairly productive as I indicated my desire to challenge for promotion.
Tow Law Town (Northern League Division 2) a comfortable 2-1 victory set us on our way, we created a huge amount of chances but couldn’t put them away and a late goal put a blip on the result
Selkirk (East of Scotland League) Were next and another 2-1 win and much more comfortable than the scoreline suggested
South Shields (Northern League Division 1) Local Rivals 7 miles across town were next up and a comprehensive 3-1 result set an early marker for the club
Durham City (northern Football League Division 1) Another team from our division would give me a better understanding of what lay ahead, and a fantastic display from new Argentinian signing Gomez Dali – Hat Trick hero on his debut scoring all goals in a fine 3-0 win rounded of a superb pre season for us 4 victories from 4 games.
I was quietly confident that things would go well.
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Northern League Division 1 Season 2013
To Be Continued
To Be Continued