06 Jul 2020 : Squad update from the manager
It has now been three weeks since my appointment as manager of Runcorn Linnets and I wanted to take the opportunity to update our supporters on our retention and recruitment of players for the coming season.
Since our appointment, my staff and I have made engaging those players who were with the football club at the end of last season our immediate priority.
As I am sure you can understand, the current situation in the country means that the process of doing this is not as straight forward as in a normal year. We have no confirmed start date and were unable to meet the group in full due to social distancing restrictions.
Despite these challenges, we held a meeting with a number of the existing players and shared a detailed presentation as to what next season will look like. For those that weren't present, we sent this out separately and arranged to meet separately. Of the four players that could not attend the meeting at the ground, I have met three individually since.
We recognised the uncertain situation that has existed for last season's players in the period since the early curtailment of the season and the fact that the club had not been able to discuss their futures with them. With this in mind, we absolutely prioritised discussions with these players over all else. There has been a number of phone conversations alongside these meetings and we have made favourable offers to a number of these players and we are currently awaiting a response from a number of them.
Last week saw us get Ben Wharton, Ally Brown and Scott Lycett confirmed for next season, which I am absolutely delighted about.
I am really clear in what the identity of our group will be for next season and all three players ticked every box. All are immensely proven at this level with a series of promotions and play-off campaigns between them. We want our experienced players to have experience of being at the right end of the table and play their part in ensuring that the environment we are all working in creates that kind of success.
When I was appointed, our staff and I had a significant list of players that were not currently at the football club that we wanted to speak to to discuss potential opportunities. These players are from a variety of backgrounds, a mix of players who are a proven success in this league, players that are leaving football clubs further up the pyramid that share our ambition and a group of players aged 19-21, who are leaving Football League and National League clubs and looking for an opportunity to climb the ladder once more.
Having made offers to the players that were here last season, now is the right time for us to begin announcing players that will be joining the club from elsewhere for next season.
This week we expect to be able to announce another proven forward at this level, who has also plied his trade further up the pyramid, as well as a versatile player who has been full-time at a Football League club until very recently and has enjoyed a series of successful loan spells over the past three seasons.
We have agreed terms with a player at a club further up the non-league pyramid, who will join us at the expiry of his contract, and are in advanced discussions with a Premier League club with regards to a young loan signing that would form a key part of our group for next season.
Alongside this, we have offered terms to two other players, one who has spent the vast majority of his career in the division above, as well as a player that has spent much of his career in the Welsh Premier League, having previously been at a Football League club.
We have been really specific on the kind of player and character we want at the club next season and that has been a key theme in the conversations we have had with both players we wish to retain and players we wish to bring in.
As well as the players that we have made offers to, we have held discussions with a number of players that will join up with us for pre-season training as they look to impress.
We will be casting our eye over a number of players and they all have some kind of exciting pedigree.
Many of these have experience of success in the National League systems, as well as those younger players that have recently left League One or League Two clubs while another has returned to the UK after playing full-time football abroad for the past three seasons.
One thing that I cannot stress enough is that I am so clear as to what type of players we want for next season and have made those offers of both a deal or an invite to pre-season with this in mind.
We will not rush to put a squad together the way some clubs are at present, we will simply be working as hard as possible to commit the best possible players to Runcorn Linnets for next season.
Once again, many thanks for the warm welcome all of the new management team have received over the last few weeks.
Keep your eyes peeled to the club news outlets over the next few days and weeks as we continue to put our squad together and I really look forward to meeting you all at The Millbank as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.
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