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Spennymoor - With hope, no one shall fail

Started on 29 July 2018 by OHP
Latest Reply on 12 September 2018 by OHP
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OHP's avatar Group OHP
5 yearsEdited

”Spe Nemo Ruet” or “with hope, no one shall fail” is the club motto at Spennymoor Town FC

Spennymoor Town are debutants in Vanarama National League North after winning the playoff final against Stourbridge 1-0 with Rob Ramshaw as match winner

Spennymoor is a small town in County Durham in the North Eastern part of England with a population of approx. 20,000 people with a 30 minutes drive away from both Sunderland, Newcastle and Middlesbrough.

My ambition is to lead Spennymoor Town to more glory within the coming years!

Our stadium is named Brewery Field with a capacity of 4,000 (250 seated)

Spennymoor Town FC is one of the smallest clubs in Vanarama Conference North and it seems almost impossible to create any sucess based on these facilities but I will give it a try!

I play FM Touch on my ipad and this is my debut as forum writer here!
OHP's avatar Group OHP
5 yearsEdited
Season 2017/18 - pre-season squad status

The squad consists of 24 players with five players. Especially two ex-Middlesbrough youth players; striker Bradley Fewster (age 21) and winger Junior Mondal (age 20) has potential for more and could be key players for the coming seasons if I can hold on to them (note that Junior Mondal has no contract and can leave immediately if he wishes to so I have a task to hold on to him).

The squad seems quite decent for playing in Vanarama North. Strengths are primarily in attack and midfield and weaknesses in defence and goal. Furthermore, there are almost no backup players in defence.

Therefore, my focus will be to strengthen the squad depth in general by signing young talents on non-contracts (pay as you play-contracts) instead of bringing in players for my starting eleven.

OHP's avatar Group OHP
5 yearsEdited
2017/18 season - pre-season other items

Based on the strenghts of the squad my primary tactical formation is 4-2-4 Wide with “Counter” mentality in order to have a better balance as the formation is basically quite attacking.

My coaching team is supposedly one of the best in the League but I can’t say I’m impressed. However, my assistant manager Tommy Miller has a ranking and a good playing career behind him.

I decided to hire a new chief physio with better physio and determination stats as it could be done without compensation to my present chief physio.


we played seven friendly matches as preparation for the season: 4 wins, a draw and 2 defeats. Best win was 1-0 against Morecambe from League Two and the worst match was definitely a 0-1 defeat to Abbey Hay from NW Counties Premier.

As intented we brought in some youngsters to improve the squad depth with four 18-year old talents with former Manchester United youth player Faustin Makela (Congolese) as probably the most exciting new prospect.

The Board expected a top half finish but the bookmakers thought we should fight bravely against relegation. Was the Board too optimistic?

Looking forward to the season
OHP's avatar Group OHP
5 yearsEdited
2017/18 season - Part 1

Before our first league match it was announced that we had sold 165 season tickets - definitely NOT the largest fan base in the world but certainly that was something that required improvents in future.

We played our first match ever on this level at home at Brewery Field against Stockport in front of 1,092 fans from both clubs. Luck was on our side as we managed to win 2-1 after Stockport conceiving an own goal and with a lot of missed chances by Stockport. A splendid start for Spennymoor!

Our fine start continued in the following matches and after six matches we were still undefeated (4 wins, 2 draws) but our first defeat was unfortunately against local rivals from Darlington (1-0) and the Board was definitely NOT happy about that result despite the fine resultats before the Darlington match.

However, the board’s (and the fans’) happiness came back with six wins in the following six matches!

Midfielder Mark Anderson (28) scooped the prize for Player of the Month for August and striker Bradley Fewster (21) scooped the similar prize for September. Bradley Fewster had been phenomenal for us with a lot of goals. The prize to Mark Anderson was quite a surprise as I only saw him as a backup player in pre-season. It had worked out very fine with Anderson as an attacking CM combined with a more defensive midfielder.

And I won the prize as Manager of the Month for September!

Some of our wins had been a bit lucky. Among others this match against York who definitely NOT could be happy with the result of this match:

The depth of the squad had been improved a lot with youngsters with potential such as:

Our run in FA Cup started with two wins over lower ranking clubs (2-0 away against King’s Lynn and 4-1 at home against Mossley) earning £12K for our budget. However, in 4th Qual. Round we faced a very difficult match away against Hartlepool (4th in National League) and after giving Hartlepool hard times in first half (0-0 after a missed penalty by Jamie Chandler) we fell apart in second half and was beaten easily 4-1. That was the end of our run in FA Cup and the Board’s ambition had been First Round but in my opinion Hartlepool was a very tough draw in this stage.

In the League we managed to create a massive comeback in our home match against Curzon Ashton. After being down 0-2 at half time we managed to win 4-2 (among others due to three goals in three minutes!

After one third of the season we were at top of the League together with Kidderminster (who has played one match less). Definitely a perfect start to our season.

We played away against 2nd placed Kidderminster and now our luck seemed to end as we lost 1-0 after a injury time goal in 94th minute to Kidderminster.

OHP's avatar Group OHP
5 yearsEdited
2017/18 season - Part 2

We continued to attract players out of contract for our club. Perhaps the good start of season made us more attractive?

I was happy we could sign a deal with Irish forward Ronan Coughlan (ex-Huddersfield youth player) to compete/rotate with Bradley Fewster (18 goals so far this season) and Glen Taylor (9 goals) in front. Ronan Coughlan seemed very competitive and perhaps my most qualified signing yet. Now we also had a very good depth and qualified backup among the reserves in our attack.

This transfer was very good timing as Glen Taylor suffered an injury in our next match and was out for 7-9 weeks :(

Afterwards, we also added Jamaican striker Ronaldo Pearson and Nigerian winger Tobi Adeloye to our first-team squad which looked increasingly international with the latest transfers.

Our first match in FA Trophy was home against League rivals Boston United and after a crazy match we qualified for next round by winning 7-3!

Our search for qualified players without contract continued and we were very happy to present Canadian international (6 caps) Josh Doughty (ex-Manchester United youth player like Faustin Makela) as new Spennymoor player. Josh Doughty (20) is usable in all the offensive roles but I se him mostly as right winger here.

We had signed contracts with a lot of young players as they usually are the only players interested in the wages we could afford but as the exception that proves the rule we signed a deal with 40-year old midfielder Gary Jones with experience from 749 league matches (mostly for Rochdale, for whom he holds the all-time record for the most appearances) as backup player in central midfield. Not as fast as in his younger days but a good character for our young squad in what probably could be the last contract in his long career.

Halfway through the season we had notched up 15 wins in 21 matches and lies second in the League table. And Bradley Fewster was in top of the goal scorer list with 19 League goals so far. Very satisfying!

Unfortunately, our participation in FA Trophy ended in 1st Round after a 2-1 defeat away against Salford. Board was NOT happy about this!

Following the Salford defeat in FA Trophy we struggled quite a lot in the League. In the following six league matches we only earned seven points so with a third left of the season we were now in third place but it was still quite close between Kidderminster, York and Spennymoor. With a few more points more we would be sure to reach the playoffs which would be a lot better that expected before the season had started.

Despite the fluctuating resultat, Bradley Fewster was still in good shape and was named Player of the Month for January after 4 goals in January
OHP's avatar Group OHP
5 yearsEdited
2017/18 season - Part 3

We continued to be unstable and unpredictable at the same time. The bookmakers must have hated us in this period!

In a 3 month period from december to march it was very difficult for us to play two good matches in a row and our total in this period was five wins, three draws and six defeats. We came behind in the race at the top of the league but we had some good moments in this period, though.

We won 2-1 over Kidderminster at home (no. 3 against no. 2) and won 3-0 over both Bradford Park Avenue and Tamworth but we also had some dubious resultat from time to time, e.g. a 4-5 loss to Harrogate and two defeats against Blyth.

Our defence and our goalkeepers had been our weakest area throughout the season. Dan Lowson (30) had been my preferred keeper in the season so far with Shane Bland (23) as backup but Dan Lowson had shows signs of being on the decline as footballer and Shane Bland had not convinced me that be was a man of the future (he was in goal in the 4-5 match against Harrogate so I was quite happy to sign Peter Jameson (24) from neighbours Darlington.

Peter Jameson may never become a profile in our team but at that moment he was exactly what we needed to the team. He had four clean sheets in his first five league matches and as our young strikers kept on finding the goal for us we were suddenly making good results again, among this very good result against our local rivals from Darlington:

In March the Board offered me a contract for next season and I accepted to continue this task.

We were undefeated in our last seven league matches and ended third (and qualified to the playoff semifinals) with York winning the league ahead of Kidderminster.

Bradley Fewster became top goal scorer in Vanarama North with 33 league goals - fantastic performance of him!

Look at this Award: Spennymoor players in first, second and third place in Player of the Month for april 2018. Classy!

We were up against AFC Telford in the playoff semifinal at home at Brewery Field. Despite having some injury problems (third choice playing as left-back) we showed our class and won 3-0 after two Coughlan goals in front of a record attendance (2,402). We were ready for the final!

The final would be away against Kidderminster who had finished above us in the league but we came as undefeated in eight matches. We managed to get the injured players patched together to the final and we started out fine but Kidderminster scored the first goal of the match and after that we tried hard to score but the Kidderminster defence had Fewster and the others under control so we ended up losing 1-0.

Definitely a moment like this makes you want to play the match again but no cheats here even though I really thought about it for a long time.....
OHP's avatar Group OHP
5 yearsEdited
2017/18 season review

In general we could be happy with our season despite the defeat in the final to Kidderminster. We finished third in our first season ever in Vanarama North League and this was a lot better than predicted in pre-season.

Our cup runs were both below the board’s expectations but I still believe we had a tough draw in FA Cup so in general it was okay but could have turned out better.

A major weakness identified in pre-season had been lack of depth in squad. That had improved a lot during the season and I find the squad more qualified at the season end than in pre-season.

Bradley Fewster had without doubt been our shining star this season. After being released by Middlesbrough last season after some years as academy player he had been fantastic at Spennymoor with 37 goals in 48 matches.

He received many honours after the season - Player of the Year in Vanarama North, top goal scorer in Vanarama League and Best Player chosen by our fans.

I had made many attempts to extend his contract through the season but his agent always told me that there was not enough quality in the Spennymoor squad to play on a level matching Bradley’s ambition but halfway through the season he finally accepted an offer from me so Bradley could stay here for another season. He could definitely become very important for us next season too.

We had played in a 4-2-4 wide formation 90-95% of the season and it had definitely proven to be effective regarding our goal scoring but we had also conceived too many goals in my opinion. The fact that defence and goalkeepers were some of our weak areas did not contribute well to this either. We needed to strengthen ourselves in the defensive positions before next season in my opinion.

The most used players this season were these:

We had 40(!) different players on grass for Spennymoor this season as that is too many but reflects very well the effords made regarding new players. Our players were (5 matches minimum):

Dan Lowson, 30 years, 30 matches
Peter Jameson, 24 years, 9 matches
Shane Bland, 23 years, 8 matches
DR Stephen Akbas (IRL), 19 years, 30 matches, 5 assists
DR Kallum Griffiths, 28 years, 24 matches
DC Joe Tait, 28 years, 45 matches, 2 goals, 4 assists
DC Chris Mason, 31 years, 39 matches, 4 goals, 2 assists
DC Andrew Hollins, 19 years, 25 matches
DC/DL Jovanni Sterling, 19 years, 20 matches, 2 goals
DC James Curtis, 36 years, 5 matches
DL/MC Chris Chantler, 27 years, 46 matches, 5 assists
DL Suleman Naeem (PAK), 19 years, 9 matches, 1 assist
DL Kane Lewis, 20 years, 7 matches
MC Jamie Chandler, 29 years, 37 matches, 9 goals, 5 assists
MC/AML Mark Anderson, 29 years, 21 matches, 5 goals, 4 assists
DR/MC Jordan Linley, 20 years, 14 matches, 1 goal, 1 assist
MC Shane Henry, 26 years, 13 matches
MC Matty Dixon, 23 years, 11 matches, 1 assist
MC Gary Jones, 40 years, 5 matches
MC/AMR Rob Ramshaw, 24 years, 44 matches, 5 goals, 5 assists
AMR/AML Faustin Makela (COD), 18 years, 35 matches, 8 goals, 9 assists
AMR/ST Josh Doughty (CAN), 21 years, 9 matches, 1 goal, 1 assist
AMRL/ST Junior Mondal, 21 years, 49 matches, 9 goals, 11 assists
AML/ST Tomi Adeloye (NGA) 22 years, 9 matches, 1 assist
ST Bradley Fewster, 22 years, 48 matches, 37 goals, 22 assists
ST Glen Taylor, 28 years, 23 matches, 10 goals, 6 assists
ST Ronan Coughlan (IRL), 21 years, 18 matches, 8 goals, 2 assists
ST Ronaldo Pearson (JAM) 19 years, 14 matches, 5 goals, 4 assists
ST Morgan Jones (WAL) 19 years, 6 matches, 1 goal, 1 assist
ST Rio Murray, 20 years, 5 matches, 1 goal, 3 assists

The most worrying item under my management is the financials. A deficit above £100K was the financial result of 2017/18 and it is primarily due to lack of ticket sales. Only 723 seats (18% of capacity) in Brewery Field were occupied (average). Our financial situation could become a big problem for us in future.

And myself? I became Manager of the Year :)
OHP's avatar Group OHP
5 yearsEdited
2018/19 - Pre-season

After the big financial deficit last season it was my hope that the good result would increase our income from sponsorships. However, the best deal (?) the management was able to get was kit sponsors for totally £9,250 - last year it was £10,000! :( Doing business did not seem to be a core competence at our management....

Still, the Board set the wage budget for the season at £7,250 per week - a 40% increase compared to last season. The Board expected us to reach the playoffs like we did last season and so did the bookmakers. It seemed quite fair altogether.

Our sale of season tickets went 5% up - from 165 to 173....


I was still looking for transfer free players to strengthen our squad and I managed to find some fine players.

I was especially very happy to sign Ben Williams, a 19-year old Welsh (capped at U21) left-back from Barnsley. Last season there had been quite a gap in quality from Chris Chantler to the backup on left-back but Ben Williams seemed like a player that could play in our starting lineup immidiately despite his young age.

Other new players:

DC Isaac Ward, 18 years, ex-Rochdale youth player
MC Grant Roberts, 27 years, Boston U (180 league matches in his career)
MC Brandon Burrows, 18 years, Welsh and ex-Wrexham youth player
AML Elliott Murray, 18 years, ex-Rochdale youth player

Isaac Ward could definitely become first team player in this season. Grant Roberts was expected to be an experienced backup player in midfield. Brandon Burrows and Eliott Murray were both promising hot prospects but would get some matches this season.

At the same time, we had to say goodbye to some of the experienced players in our squad (and a young player with some distance to first-team)

GK Dan Lowson, 30 years, free transfer to Crawley
DC James Curtis, 36 years, released (retired later)
MC Gary Jones, 41 years, retired
MC/AML Mark Anderson, 29 years, free transfer to Alfreton
ST Glen Taylor, 28 years, free transfer to Darlington
ST Morgan Jones, 19 years, released

This was our First Team Squad prior to our first league match. Half of the squad was new compared to when I started in this job.


We played seven friendlies in pre-season with four wins, a draw and two defeats as results. We had some fine moments such as a draw 1-1 at home against Derby from Championship, a “revenge victory” 4-1 over Hartlepool from National League (we lost to Hartlepool in FA Cup last season) and a crushing 7-0 win over lower ranked Newton Aycliffe despite receiving a red card to Jordan Linley after just 5 minutes....

However, a disgraceful 2-1 defeat to lower ranked Market Drayton in the final friendly match lowered the total assessment of our pre-season :(

Compared to my first pre-season last year it was obvious that we had improved so an exciting season was lying ahead of Spennymoor Town FC!
OHP's avatar Group OHP
5 yearsEdited
2018/19 season - Part 1

We started out fine with two victories in our two first matches (4-2 and 4-0) but Junior Mondal got injuried and was out for the coming two months.

Junior Mondal had been a key player for our side last season and we missed him a lot in the following two matches which we lost :(

But we got the hang of playing without Mondal and we won the next four matches with 21-4 as the total goal score! Among them this crushing 6-0 win away against. Bradford Park Avenue.

Due to injuries among the strikers, I promoted Lewis Knight (19) from the reserves and he turned out to be a real gem :) He came in from bench a couple of times last year but this time he really took the chance and scored four times in his four first matches. Knight, ex-Leeds youth player had joined us last season but had been among our reserves until now.

Also Craig King, a 27-year old winger from Scotland joined our side and became backup in our First Team Squad after a short period among our reserves.

We suffered a setback when Kallum Griffiths (28) decided to join Bromley. Kallum Griffiths had been on and off the right back position last season but it was not part of my plan to let him go. Later on our captain Chris Mason (32) left us too after becoming a backup player in our central defence.

Whether it was due to these circumstances or due to FA Cup matches inbetween that we struggled in the following weeks in the League I don’t know but we only got two points in four League matches and lost our spot at the top of the league. Among the lost points was this crazy 4-4 home match against Tamwoth.

Still, Bradley Fewster became Player of the Month for september ahead of Lewis Knight and experienced Grant Roberts who had turned out to be a very solid midfield player for our side.

In FA Cup we started with an easy 4-0 win over lower ranking Dereham and then we should play against Margate (lying in top of Vanarama South) and the match in Margate ended 0-0 despite many chances to our side but in the home match we crushed Margate totally with a 7-0 win after four goals by Bradley Fewster ;)

However we also had a difficult draw in FA Cup this year, now away against Torquay (10th in Vanarama National League) and like last season our cup run ended with a 4-1 defeat against a National League club :(

We had many quality players in front but I could not say no to signing 18-year old George Danaher for our side, a very talented striker from Huddersfield’s Youth Academy. - a player for the future!

After one third of the season we were fourth in Vanarama North but only two points behind the top sides in a very close league standing.

Bradley Fewster and Lewis Knight were in top of the goal scorer list and great ratings were to be noted to Grant Roberts, Elliot Murray, Matty Dixon and Andrew Hollins, too.

So far it had turned out as hoped in general terms but the frequent point losses was something we had to improve if we should battle for the league win.
OHP's avatar Group OHP
5 yearsEdited
2018/19 season - Part 2

Until now, our defense had been our primary weakness. Central defender Joe Tait (28 and our captain) had three teenagers as companions in defence in the majority of our matches (Ben Williams as left back, Andrew Hollins in central defence and Stephen Akbas as right back - all 19 years old) and lack of experience could be an obvious excuse for the results but it suddenly seemed to be a good combination.

From 1 October to 15 November we played a total of 20 matches and among those there were 13 clean sheets! As comparison, there were only four clean sheet matches among the first 12 matches of the season.

At the same time, our strikers were scoring like previously so we had a good period.

We actually strengthened our squad depth among strikers in this period with 21-year old Frank Mulhern (Irish striker from Guiseley - last season 37 league matches and 8 goals on loan at Bradford Park Avenue), 24-year old winger Jake Kirby from Tranmere - last season 37 League matches and 7 goals on loan at AFC Telford) and last but not least 21-year old striker Lewis Mansell from Blackburn U23 squad.

I consider Lewis Mansell to be a player above our club’s level! Mansell is a different type than Bradley Fewster (more physical and better aerial qualities - a real target player) but at the same time very versatile and is able to play on both flanks as a wide target player. However it was not possible for us to sign Mansell on a part time contract but he was willing to play here on non-contract terms meaning that he could leave us whenever he wishes to do so. A different striker type but I believe our tactics could be tweaked enough to make good use of Lewis Mansell and his qualities. And perhaps we could make a long-term agreement with him later if he could become happy with us :)

The new and more experienced strikers were put in our First Team Squad and younger strikers like George Danaher, Lewis Knight and Ronaldo Pearson were moved to our reserve squad - I was sure they would come back in our first team later but at the moment a bit of experience among our young players were appreciated a bit higher from my side.

We managed to break several records in our match against Blyth - a team that we had some difficulties against last season (lost both league matches last season) but this season we won 8-1 in our home match against Blyth. Bradley Fewster scored four times for our side (new league record) and the 8-1 victory was also a new club record.

Another great win was this great 8-0 victory against poor Braintree :) Our greatest win ever!

We actually won in eight consecutive matches in November and December and after two-third of the season we had a secure lead in Vanarama North League 11 points ahead of number two in the standings. We were undefeated in the latest 16 league matches (13 wins and 3 draws and 46-8 as goal score!

We were definitely on our way to win the league if we continued this run!

And Bradley Fewster was definitely on his way to becoming goal top scorer in the league for the second season in row :)

Our run in FA Trophy was better than last year. We started by winning 1-0 away against Chorley and we won 4-2 at home over local rivals from Darlington :) We were facing Kidderminster - the team that beat us in the playoff final last year - at home in next round and we were close to getting our revenge after leading 1-0 at half time but after a second yellow card to Jamie Chandler we conceived a late equalizer and in the rematch in Kidderminster we could not prevent them from winning 2-1 after a close match.

The defeat against Kidderminster was probably not the worst bad news for us on the day as Frank Mulhern suffered a serious injury. Frank Mulhern had for a period been a very succesful partner with Fewster in our attack. Six goals in nine matches was indeed a very promising start of his career at Spennymoor.

Therefore, it was very sad for us all to watch Frank Mulhern getting seriously injured (broken leg) in the match. The season was definitely over for him and considered the heavy competition in front I was afraid that this would also become the end of his career at Spennymoor :(

Frank Mulhern was by the way replaced in our First Team Squad by Jake Beesley, a 22-year old striker from Chesterfield (last season 31 league matches and 7 goals on loan at FC United).

I had been elected to Manager of the Month twice (November and December) and the title as Player of the Month had been won by Ronan Coughlan in November and by Jamie Chandler in December ;)
OHP's avatar Group OHP
5 yearsEdited
2018/19 season - Part 3

We continued our undefeated run for the next two matches but after 18 league matches with no defeats Stockport beat us 4-2 in front of 5,500 football fans at Edgeley Park despite being 10 against 11 players in the last 45 minutes.

I could partly be blamed for the defeat as it was one of the first matches for our side to Andrew Greig, a 26-year old goalkeeper who played 23 league matches for Blyth last season and this was definitely not one of his best matches.

I had signed Andrew Greig as I believe he was a better backup keeper to Peter Jameson than Shane Bland but despite the dubious performance against Stockport he turned info our regular first keeper.

There is a curious note regarding Andrew Greig. In real life Andrew Greig works as “First Team Performance Analyst” at Portsmouth FC. He pops up in the game with random stats and roles but always as player and as unattached. I’ve found him as striker, winger and now goalkeeper in my various saves. Furthermore he has quite fine staff attributes as well! ;)

I also signed experienced Australian midfielder James Wesolowski (31 years and 273 league matches in his career so far including 24 league matches in National League last season) as backup player for midfield to the coming important matches in which experience could turn out to be crucial for our efforts to get promoted to Vanarama National League.

We came back on track with a very desired win in the local derby against rivals Darlington at Brewery Field with a crushing 6-0 in front of 1,383 happy fans :) No doubt who have the bragging right for the period to come!

With many new players joining Spennymoor some had to go and 28-year old winger Craig King went off to Bromley after being demoted to the reserve squad.

With four rounds left of the season we were placed in top with a nine point lead to Harrogate at second place and a far better goal score. We could secure a fantastic title win at home at Brewery Field if we could beat Altrincham.

And we did :) Two goals by Lewis Mansell and a goal by Rob Ramshaw gave us a fine 3-1 victory and we could pop up the champagne as Harrogate lost their league match. Spennymoor Town FC was in Vanarama National League for the first time in the club’s history!

We finished our season with a delightful 7-2 win at home over Alfreton after a hat-trick by our biggest profile Bradley Fewster. A good show in front of our happy fans.

We finished first with a lead of nine points to Southport in second place and Bradley Fewster took three titles in Vanarama North - 31 goals, 24 assists and best average rating :) Bradley Fewster definitely was ready to play on a higher level - with us ;)

OHP's avatar Group OHP
5 yearsEdited
2018/19 season review

The promotion to Vanarama National League and the league win of Vanarama North are two major milestones in our club’s history. Not many clubs with similar size as Spennymoor Town FC has ever played at this level. We were definitely punching above our weight with the title win and promotion.

Nevertheless, we deserved the title win after the 18-match undefeated run i midseason. We ended with 89 points, only four more than last season but enough to finish two places better in a close league standing this season. 122 goals in 42 league matches was a new record for Vanarama North and the attack - with Bradley Fewster as our shining star for second season in row - was our most competitive competence.

The Board was happy and offered me a contract for next season with a 30% pay rise to £350 per week. Not a lot but fine with me ;)

There were still not a great interest in Spennymoor for our matches. Only 655 spectators in average at Brewery Field was even lower than last season (16% of stadium capacity) - not impressive :(

We had played in the 4-2-4 wide formation in this season too and these players were the preferred in this season:

Once again, Bradley Fewster harvested many honours after the season: Player of the Year in Vanarama North, Top Goal Scorer of Vanarama North, Player of the Year at Spennymoor and Young Player of the Year at Spennymoor.

The honours had made Spennymoor his favoured club and me as his favoured personnel meaning that we could be able to hold on to him for the coming seasons afterall. With his young age (23) I hope he could stay here for at least two more years. He had signed for 2019/20 so far.

Winger Elliott Murray was elected Signing of the Year by our fans.

Before the season my ambition was to use fewer players than last year but it did not end like this due to many signings. Totally we used 42 players for Spennymoor this season. Our players were (5 matches minimum):

Peter Jameson, 26 years, 27 matches, 1 assist
Andrew Greig, 26 years, 14 matches
Shane Bland, 24 years, 9 matches
DR Stephen Akbas (IRL), 20 years, 26 matches, 2 assists
DR/MC Jordan Linley, 21 years, 16 matches, 1 goal
DR Clive Smith (WAL), 21 years, 7 matches
DR Kallum Griffiths, 29 years, 5 matches, 1 goal (transfer to Bromley in September)
DC Joe Tait, 29 years, 44 matches, 1 goal, 3 assists
DC Andrew Hollins, 20 years, 44 matches, 2 goals, 3 assists
DC Isaac Ward, 19 years, 16 matches, 1 assist
DC/DL Jovanni Sterling, 20 years, 15 matches, 1 goal
DL Ben Williams (WAL), 20 years, 47 matches, 4 assists
DL/MC Chris Chantler, 28 years, 19 matches
DL Ibou Touray (GAM), 24 years, 6 matches
MC Grant Roberts, 28 years, 45 matches, 6 goals, 7 assists
MC Jamie Chandler, 30 years, 36 matches, 13 goals, 5 assists
MC Matty Dixon, 24 years, 19 matches, 2 goals, 4 assists
MC James Wesolowski (AUS), 31 years, 8 matches
AMR/MC Rob Ramshaw, 25 years, 28 matches, 7 goals, 5 assists
AMR/ST Josh Doughty (CAN), 22 years, 22 matches, 2 goals, 3 assists
AMR/MC Craig King (SCO), 28 years, 9 matches, 2 goals (transfer to Bromley in March)
AMR/AML Faustin Makela (COD), 19 years, 7 matches, 1 assist
AMRL/ST Junior Mondal, 22 years, 34 matches, 11 goals, 14 assists
AML Elliot Murray, 19 years, 6 goals, 7 assists
AML/AMR Jake Kirby, 24 years, 11 matches, 1 goal, 2 assists
ST Bradley Fewster, 23 years, 47 matches, 36 goals, 24 assists
ST/AMRL Lewis Mansell (WAL), 21 years, 21 matches, 9 goals, 4 assists
ST Ronan Coughlan (IRL), 22 years, 21 matches, 10 goals, 5 assists
ST/AMRL Lewis Knight, 20 years, 17 matches, 10 goals, 4 assists
ST George Danaher, 18 years, 11 matches, 3 goals
ST Frank Mulhern (IRL), 22 years, 9 matches, 6 goals, 2 assists
ST Ronaldo Pearson (JAM) 20 years, 8 matches, 2 goals, 5 assists
ST Jake Beesley, 22 years, 7 matches, 3 goals

Due to low attendance we were still struggling with the financials. A new deficit above £100K increased our debt to more than £200K and a required investment in stadium (league demands) of £40K would increase our debt even more but perhaps it could attract more people to our home matches which could improve our finances - at least I hope so ;)

And myself - I was elected to Manager of the Year in Vanarama North again :)
OHP's avatar Group OHP
5 yearsEdited
2019/20 pre-season

The board members were not particularly close-fisted when discussing next year’s budget. The wage budget was increased with 80-90 % to £13,500 per week and that gave me some improved possibilitites on the transfer market.

I was still targeting transfer free players with special interest in my defence and midfield. I still find my defence being our weak spot despite a fine development and improved performances last season but the promotion would become a major challenge for us against better opponents in Vanarama National League.

The Board’s level of expectations were reasonable. They expected us to avoid relegation and later the bookmakers backed this up with expecting us to finish 16th in National League.

The chairman announced a partnership with West Auckland from the bottom of Northern League Division One (9th tier in English Football Pyramid). The club is most famous for being the winners of the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy, one of the world's first international footballing competitions, twice, in 1909 and 1911

I used this opportunity to send some players from the youth intake last season on loan to West Auckland but besides this I did not see a lot of perspective for us in this partnership!

Once again the business competencies in my management failed from my point of view as they could not increase the sponsorships with more than 20% from £9K to £11K despite the promotion. Not impressed....

The Ground expansion was completed as expected. Now Brewery Field has a capacity of 3,700 spectators, hereof 550 seated spectators. Our season ticket sale was increased with 50% to a total of 266.

We played 8 friendly matches in pre-season and won them all. However six of the matches were against local clubs and only two against more equal sides (Clyde from Scottish League 2 and FC United from Vanarama North) The victories could be useful regarding gaining more self confidence - as it could become a tough debut in Vanarama National League for our minion club. Our biggest win was 7-0 against Crook and total goal score was 34-4 in 8 matches :)


We signed some important new players for our side:

GK Theo Roberts, 20 years, ex-Wigan youth player
DC Chris Doyle, 24 years, from York (experience from 64 league matches)
DC William Hartshorne, 19 years, ex-Bolton youth player
MC Rahis Nabi, 20 years, ex-WBA and Burnley youth player
MC Shakeel Jones-Griffiths, 19 years, ex-Bolton youth player
MC/AMC Alex Pattison, 21 years, ex-Middlesbrough youth player
AMR/AML Lewis O’Brien, 20 years, ex-Hudddersfield youth player

I was very happy with my new players. Theo Roberts was very young but could become first team goalkeeper in short time. Chris Doyle would probably become regular in our starting lineup and William Hartshorne was a man for the future.

The three young midfielders were also exciting new types for us. Rahis Nabi had qualitites for National League now and Alex Pattison and Shakeel Jones-Griffiths would probably get some match time this season.

Last but not least could Lewis O’Brien mean hard competition for our present wingers in both sides.

We also said goodbye to some of the first team players from last season:

GK Shane Bland (24), free transfer to Mansfield
DL/MC Chris Chantler (28), free transfer to Boston United
MC James Wesolowski (31), released on a free transfer
AML/AMR Jake Kirby (25), free transfer to York

Our First Team Squad looked like this before season start. Note that there are many young players - Bradley Fewster becoming veteran at 23 ;) - and that I managed to get Lewis Mansell to sign a contract at very low cost for us :)

We were ready for our debut in Vanarama National League!
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5 yearsEdited
2019/20 season - Part 1

I had my worries prior to our debut in Vanarama National League, a home match against Sutton as it was one of the few matches we should win to stay up as Sutton finished 19th last season just above the relegation zone.

My worries turned out to be needless. We strolled past Sutton with a convincing 6-0 victory after a hat-trick by Irish striker Ronan Coughlan ;)

The promotion to Vanarama National League must have made us attractive to several potential players as we succeeded with attracting players who were beyond our reach previously and with a lot of experience (all on free transfers):

GK Lloyd Allinson (26) from FC United (first team regular previous 2 seasons)
DR Kevin Roberts (30) from Wrexham (335 league matches in career)
DL Aziz Deen-Conteh (26) from Notts Co (national player for Sierra Leone)
MC Curtis Thompson (26) from Accrington (111 league matches in career)
MC Samir Nabi (22) from FC United (older brother to Rahis Nabi)
MC Doug Loft (32) from Mansfield (326 league matches in career)
AMR/L Reece Mitchell (24) from Accrington
AMR/L Mustapha Carayol (31) from Blackpool (258 league matches in career and national player for Gambia)
ST Boris Mathis (22) French striker from Sochaux

The new players made some players become surplus players. Ex-first team keeper Peter Jameson (26) will leave us for Shrewsbury at New Year in a £4K record transfer, young midfielders Jordan Linley (21) and Brandon Burrows (19) left on free transfers to FC United and TNS and Jovanni Sterling (20) was loaned out to Altrincham.

The increased quality in squad compared to last year could also be seen in the league table. After the first 15 matches we were placed 5th and in the playoff zone for promotion far, far away from the relegation zone and our players dominated the players’ ranking :)

Rahis Nabi won the title as Player of the Month for August and Lewis O’Brian became Young Player of the Month in August, too.

Furthermore, we earned £13K for our empty bank accounts with a 5-2 win at home against Oxford in 4th Qual. Round in FA Cup and are loooking forward to an expected win in next round home against King’s Lynn :)

A splendid start of the season!
OHP's avatar Group OHP
5 yearsEdited
2019/20 season - Part 2

Our participation in FA Cup continued with the expected win over King’s Lynn from the bottom of Vanarama North. The match ended with a decisive 7-2 victory. King’s Lynn held a draw in the first thirty minutes (2-2) but was run over in the last sixty minutes of the match. We were awarded £19K for the win and was qualified to FA Second Round for the first time in the club’s history :)

We had drawn Newport away in Second Round. Newport was one of the other top teams in Vanarama League so they were favourites to win. We came under a massive pressure in Newport but a penalty goal by Lewis Mansell after 62 minutes gave us an undeserved lead. Unfortunately, Newport scored the equalizing goal after 87 minutes and scored the winning goal in injury time :( Our run in FA Cup had ended.

A few weeks prior to the Newport match we had an unforeseen situation. Blyth (lying just above the relegation zone in Vanarama North) showed interest in our Assistant Manager, Tommy Miller. I tried to hold on to Tommy with an improved contract but he turned it down and signed as new manager for Blyth :( At least we received a £18K compensation from Blyth.

So i went on the market to find a new Assistant Manager. There were many possible Assistant Managers to sign, some with even better attributes and stats than Tommy Miller and some with lower wage demands than we had paid Tommy.

However, the name of one of the candidates kept going around in my head. Not the candidate with the best stats, no experience as manager but I chose him as my new Assistant Manager.


Because I couldn’t resist the chance of signing a true Manchester United legend as Assistant Manager at the minions from Spennymoor Town FC!

That’s right. Michael Carrick (38) with 34 caps for England and more than 300 first team matches for Manchester United (plus more than 200 first team matches for West Ham and Tottenham) joined our side on a £160 p/w contract (definitely his worst contract since he was youth player at West Ham in the late 90’s). A true celebrity at our club!

His attributes as Assistant Manager were all in all a little better than Tommy Miller’s as shown below. As in his career he has a very good determination and he is also high on discipline, adaptability and working with youngsters. His coaching attributes were not impressive but he is young (as manager) and will probably improve as he get some experience with his new job.

The Board might have thought that one change in staff was more than enough as they offered me a new contract with a 15% wage increase to £400 p/w ;)

Based on fine reviews from our Scout, we signed some fine and experienced players to strengthen our team even more. It was going so fast that half through the season the starting lineup had changed a lot since pre-season.

Our new players (all signed on free transfers):

DR James Baillie (24) from FC United (107 league matches in total)
DL/DC Jim McNulty (34) experienced Scottish defender from Rochdale (426 league matches in total among these some from Championship)
MC Stuart Sinclair (32) experienced midfielder from Scunthorpe (232 league matches in total)
MC James Wallace (27) from Tranmere (146 league matches in total)
MC Connor Smith (26) Irish midfielder from Bradford (87 league matches in total)
AML/ST Aaron Amadi-Holloway (26) from Oldham (92 league matches)
ST Kyle Wootton (23) from Scunthorpe (102 league matches in total)
ST Ollie Palmer (27) from Lincoln (254 league matches)

The massive changes in first team created some unrest but the results were not affected a lot by these changes. Some of our young talents were demoted to our reserves but it was my hope that they could improve enough to come back in our First Team Squad later but naturally we also had to skip off some of the fringe players:

MC Matty Dixon (24) on loan to Blyth (to Tommy Miller’s team!)
MC Grant Roberts (28) free transfer to Blyth (a major profile last year but no longer in position for our first team) - also to Tommy Miller’s team
AMR Josh Doughty (22) £600 transfer to Grimsby (was not happy here)
ST Frank Mulhern (22) free transfer to FC United (never made it back to first team after his long injury period)
ST Jake Beesley (23) free transfer to Wrexham

In the league, we were able to maintain our position in the playoff zone and even improve our position a little to 4th place after 2/3 of the season played. Bradley Fewster was still a stabil goal scorer for our side (league goal top scorer with 16 league goals so far) and our defence had improved a lot through the season and that helped us a lot.

Relegation was not an issue at all now but we still needed some points to stay in the playoff zone. Participating in the playoff would be an overwhelming success
in our debut season :)

We also had a fine start in FA Trophy. After beating Brackley from Vanarama North 5-0 away in Brackley we made another good effort and beat Oxford from Vanarama South 4-1 at home at Brewery Field and was ready for Third Round for the first time in the history of Spennymoor Town FC

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