Unsurprisingly, amidst all the uncertainty regarding the club's future, a number of first-team players left prior to the arrival of Raj and myself. It left us with a large amount of work to do, in order to put together a squad that we felt content with, going into the new season.
Liam Donnelly and Andrew Davies managed to seal moves to the Scottish Premiership with Motherwell and Dundee, respectively. Whereas Scott Harrison found his new club in the Scottish Championship with Falkirk.
Rhys Oates forced his way back into the Football League by securing a move to Morecambe, whilst Michael Woods and Devante Rodney both completed moves to newly promoted Harrogate Town and Salford City.
Small pockets of cash were made in the sales, mostly coming from the departures of Rodney and Donnelly. However to lose a large core of the first-team squad was devastating and therefore we had to act quickly in order to replace them. We couldn't go into the new season with a lack of cohesion, which needed to be gained over a hugely important pre-season.
Myself and Craig worked closely in recruiting players. Raj had given us a small amount of money to work with, as he had to ensure that the balance of the club was at a sustainable level, primarily. Therefore, we had to be shrewd in the players brought in.
Gateshead, our local rivals, were also in financial problems of their own and had to look towards local players to stay afloat. Thankfully, we weren't in that same crisis. Our arrivals were a mixed bag, between the Football League and the lower leagues.
Niko Muir and Peter Kioso were the first names through the door, with the duo both coming from the seventh tier of English football. The former joining from Hendon, whilst the latter signed from Dunstable Town.
Muir was the older of the pair, at the age of 25 and had spent a number of years in the Isthmian Premier League with a host of clubs. But, impressed with Hendon, scoring 32 goals in 46 appearances.
Kioso, however, was a young up and coming central defender. Having been released by MK Dons, he joined Dunstable Town in the Southern Premier League and made 26 appearances. Despite being part of a team made up by volunteers, as the club finished second-bottom, only ahead of Gosport Borough, he was a shining star - in which attracted our attention.
Three Football League players joined the ranks, also. Liam Noble joined from Notts County and Luke Williams departed Scunthorpe for the North-East. Mark Kitching was the final acquisition from Rochdale.
Noble joined County last season from Forest Green Rovers, who he gained promotion with to the division. Making 27 appearances, the central midfielder guided the Magpies to the play-offs, before they crashed out in the semi-finals.
Under new management, Liam fell out of favour and ultimately sought for new pastures. His signature is one we are very pleased with, given the experience he has of this league with Forest Green, but experience in both League One and Two with his former club and Carlisle United.
Luke and Mark are two individuals I know well, from my time at Boro. The pair both played alongside me at the club and so it was only natural that when Craig touted them to me, I was keen to get them on board. Both have gone on to leave the Riverside and make appearances elsewhere, but both have the quality to shine here.
It's fantastic to have individuals I know well, as I know that they'll fit into the squad - as the pair are both fantastic lads with a well-balanced and mature attitude.
Finally, Myles Anderson completed a move. He departed Chester in the summer, following their relegation to the National League North. Craig was keen to secure his services, as he watched him numerous times at Torquay United, during his two-year stint in Devon.
There is still a lot of work to be done and I am keen on improving a few areas of the squad, in particular at the back. Depth is key at this level, given the regularity of games and the physical toll it has on the players. Therefore, it is necessary that we move quickly and look to tie up a few more players soon.
Craig and I continue to work tirelessly to achieve this. He has been a real help in recruiting these players and his knowledge and experience has been a major aid in what has been a very stressful time, but a time in which I continue to enjoy, also.
Pre-season looms, but I am extremely confident we can get a strong team together. Talks continue over a few individuals, but I won't disclose any information yet. But, surprisingly, everything seems to be moving fine. Fantastic.
*Note* These signings were made in real life, however have been included for narrative.
Jack: I hope this update gave you some insight. Quite convenient that you asked about that, given I had pencilled this update down beforehand. More shall be revealed soon, I guess!
SoA: Thanks mate, I appreciate that.