A revolving door at Blyth as Spartans prepare for the Championship

The Championship beckons for Blyth Spartans, so for a club whose ground is still 4400 in capacity, poor training and youth facilities and many of the squad have come up from the Blue Square North, a lot needs to change. 

Firstly I have realistic aspirations of the season in the 2nd tier of English football and as such told the board I expect a mid-table finish. A nice transfer kitty is welcome, however I adjusted it to give me more freedom in the wage department and rely on loans and frees rather than spending much of that money.

The media are predictably more damning of Blyth's chances this season.

Transfers. A lot of players HAD to go, my reserves were short on quality and full of 20 and 21 year-olds who'd not lived up to the potential I or my staff had seen in them and some had not done enough when given some game time to persuade me to keep them on. All sold have sell-on clauses so I'll at least recoup something if they're sold on. Those released are youths with absolutely no hope at all.

Notable sales are Ismaël Fofana - a stalwart from the very first season in the BSN, his contract ran down and I'd decided not to renew it as The Championship is out of his league. To say that captain Rory Fallon disappointed last season is an understatement, the Kiwi journeyman spent half the time away on international duty and only score twice in 25 appearances. I was chuffed to flog him to Reggiana for £14K. Julien Brellier went to Crotone for £26K and Stewart Greacen and John-Joe O'Toole left for £10K apiece to Bournemouth and Bristol City respectively.

29 players were brought in: Good value frees, some exciting loans and some players to make up the reserves and youths.

Craig Stratford was the only one I did spend money on. I spotted the Aussie U21 international in the Melbourne Victory squad (my scouts cant travel that far) and I could see some of his attributes meaning he had dual English nationality. The attributes I could see were impressive and I snapped him up.

Another to bolster the midfield is former Chelsea youngster Ross Barkley. The 20 year-old was captured for free after a glowing report from a scout who said he'd grace any Championship side.

Another freebie I'm pleased to have brought in is right full back Chris Whelpdale. A former Peterborough Utd and Colchester Utd player will add some experience to the back line and provide some good competition to Jérémy Hélan and Arnaud Anastassowa. Whelpdale has 18 for long throws so this can be used as weapon for us.

Renato is an 18 year old Brazilian centre-back I'm delighted to have brought in on a season-long loan from Man City. He has bags of potential and will bring some quality to the defence.

Vitally I managed to extend the loans for a further 12 months of 3 guys who were in the squad last season. Originally their deals expired at the beginning of this July, which meant I retained them until I was able to offer them new loans at the start of the 15/16 season. Italian wingers Stefano Terraciano and Alessandro Simoni and Spaniard Mikel Sanz all decided to stay on in the North East and help with the coming season.


Laxeyman said...

Alot of transfer activity there mate, but by the looks of it you've managed to bring in some good players, and I'm sure they'll do well for you. I'm predicting at least a mid table finish, good luck!

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