Graeme Lee’s Summer Blog: Friday 31st May

Hello, everyone and welcome to my first summer update here on the Official Website. I will try to bring you a couple of further columns as the summer progresses, and we move into pre-season.

It’s been a good summer so far, from my point of view. Once last season finished, I tried to take a couple of weeks off from it but, of course, you’re still taking phone calls and trying to shape which of the squad you would like to retain for next term. We’ve had many conversations around that and thankfully we’re getting a little bit closer on that front now.

Some of the players have moved on and I would by lying if I said there wasn’t some disappointment in that for us. We had a nucleus of a squad which I thought showed they were capable of achieving something next year but then a couple that we thought we would retain moved on and we have to quickly move on to those we can bring in. That comes down to the scouting and the gathering of information on potential targets.

New Spennymoor Town signing Dan Rowe
New Spennymoor Town signing Dan Rowe

Thankfully, we have managed to bring a couple into the squad already which is pleasing but any players that arrive have to be the right ones. What I am trying to do is improve the group from what we had last season and if I can do that, then we know we’re going to be alright.

As well as that, we’ve also managed to agree news deals for a number of our key players, and it was clearly important to us to tie down Rob Ramshaw and Glen Taylor to fresh contracts. They’re just Spennymoor, they have it in them. Not only that, they have quality, they’re leaders and they know what this Club means to the supporters so they’re massive for us.

I was really pleased that Corey McKeown signed his new deal because he produced some great performances during the run-in last season, and I definitely feel like there is so much more to come from him. He could develop into a massive asset for us.

Corey McKeown signs a new Spennymoor Town contract
Corey McKeown signs a new Spennymoor Town contract

Callum Ross is another one too. You know what he’s going to bring; he adds real grit and quality in the middle of the park, so we’re pleased he’s going to be sticking around. And obviously, we got Isaac Fletcher done this week which is fantastic because he finished the season superbly and started adding some end product at the end of last year too. Michael Ledger is another we’ve tied down to another deal which was important for us, not only because he has the ability to play in a couple of positions, but because he provides such consistency.

We still have a month before the lads come back for training and then another month during pre-season, so we want to get our work done efficiently but we don’t want to rush it either. We are as prepared as we can be, and we have an understanding of the kind of player and person we’re trying to bring in so it’s just down to the hard work and perseverance to deliver that now.

We’ve looked at a lot of the local lads in our area. I think supporters enjoy seeing those players in their team so we’re trying to pick out the ones we feel are hungry to progress and can add quality. There is a lot of talent in our area but there are also a lot of clubs after them. We’ve got to compete with them, get in before them or perhaps see something that others don’t in players.

Spennymoor Town defender Dane Burlace
Spennymoor Town defender Dane Burlace

I worked at Middlesbrough for a lot of years, and I have seen the talent that comes through in the North East and if we can tap into that then brilliant. Obviously, we’re understanding of the relationship fans can build with a player who travels, such as with Lebby last season, but the worry is always that they may get a club closer to home and move on, which is what has happened this summer.

I feel like we’re getting there, and we have more targets to speak to in the coming days so it’s all positive, but it’s just about striking that right balance. We want some experience, with a bit of youth but also lads who have know-how in this league. We have an opportunity to really shape the squad, which can come with the unknown, but recruitment is massive so it’s down to us to get the right players with the right attitude to buy into what we’re doing.

We have a few key positions which I would like to fill and once we get those, I will be able to relax a little bit more and start honing the planning for what we’re going to be doing in pre-season.

Spennymoor Town boss Graeme Lee
Spennymoor Town boss Graeme Lee

I have managed to squeeze in five days in Holland with my son’s football team, which was a fantastic experience for the kids, but I am not going to lie, there was a little bit of alcohol consumed among the adults! It was a great time though and the kids loved it.

I have a holiday planned with the family this coming Sunday over to Cyprus which I am looking forward to. However, I have been trying to get everything in place before I go so that’s meant a lot of phone calls to try and bring players in.

At this time of year, it’s about trying to find that balance between doing all the work that needs doing with the utmost diligence but also making sure you have some family time too, because that is important. No doubt I will still be on the phone plenty of times while I am away – but I have to walk away from the family when that happens, so I don’t get told off! Haha!

Right, I am off to celebrate my birthday by getting back on my phone again!

I will be back with another update in a couple of weeks.


Share this post