In the third part of our feature we ask Blyth Spartans fan Graham Usher to step into the Croft Park dugout and tell us how he would plan the summer ahead.
Which players would you make a priority to keep in the squad?
Obviously striker Dan Maguire’s superb season attracted attention so keeping him was a massive boost to the club and it’s supporters.
But keeping the bulk of the squad together was important. Too often after our relegation from the Conference North the summer was a ‘rebuild’ but over the last few seasons the bulk of the squad stayed together.
Having a settled basis to the squad helped built a team spirit that was clearly evident in the way they reacted to losing out on promotion in 2015/16 and how they went about winning promotion.
It wasn’t just about last season the foundations had been built for two to three seasons.
Which players would you let go?
Only two were released, no need for wholesale changes, the players have earned their chance of playing in a higher league against better opposition and it will improve them.
Realistically where do you think needs strengthened?
Obviously we need a couple of keepers and one, possibly two strikers.
I’d like to see another midfielder come in to cover the one player from last season’s squad who choose to move elsewhere. But keepers and strikers are the only areas that are areas that ‘need’ players.
Do you have any realistic targets in mind for incoming players?
When Luke Armstrong signed for Boro there was option to take him back for a year on loan was part of the deal. Hopefully his Dad Alun can make it happen because Luke and Dan Maguire (pictured) developed a great understanding last season becoming one of the best strike partnerships we’ve had in many years.
Luke’s transformation and development from the player who started the season to the one who end it was staggering, so imagine what he’ll be like after a season in the NLN.
Surely it will benefit to him and Boro more than playing Under-23s football.
What are your targets for next season?
Consolidate in the league will do me, mid-table then build on that platform.
Some supporters will naturally be expecting big things and rightly so but it’s a different league to when we last played in it with some ‘big’ clubs and some very wealthy clubs, many are full time.
Another ‘decent’ cup run wouldn’t go a miss and of course it would help boost the coffers therefore helping us in the league.
Are there any other changes you would make?
No, one thing you cannot fault the club for is the ways it’s ran.
The achievements of the last three or four seasons are a credit to all those involved.
There is a genuine feel good factor back at the club that has taken a few years to get back after our relegation and that’s been achieved by sheer hard work and devotion to the club.
If you want to take part in ‘If I was the Manager…’ email MCarruthers@Balticpublications.co.uk with your answers to the same questions Graham has answered.