Tamworth manager Andy Morrell believes that losing top goalscorer Danny Newton to SkyBet League Two club Stevenage shows the balancing act facing the majority of non-league clubs.
Newton scored twenty eight goals in the Vanarama National League North last season, finishing as the division’s second top goalscorer.
Only AFC Fylde’s Danny Rowe finished ahead of him with forty seven goals.
Newton’s form captured the attention of a number of clubs from higher the league pyramid, and saw him invited to join Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy over the summer.
The former Leamington and Nuneaton Town frontman impressed at the Academy and it was League Tow club Stevenage that won the race for his services.
And the move left Morrell to ponder just where his club lie in, what he called, “the football foodchain”.
He said “If I am an ambitious twenty two year old footballer I don’t want to come to Tamworth and spend the next fifteen years of my career here.
“I want to progress and I would want Tamworth to let me know how they can help me do that.
“For me, it’s what it is all about at this level. Can we get young lads who enjoy playing football into the Football League? Can we become a springboard into the Football League?
“We wouldn’t stand in their way, we know where we are at in the football foodchain. I was once in their position and nobody stood in my way when I had a chance to progress.
“As a manager, I certainly wouldn’t do that”
Morrell will now try and plug the gap left by Newton’s departure as he looks to put together a Lambs squad capable of taking on an increasingly competitive Vanarama National League North.
The former Coventry City and Wrexham striker signed winger Callum Powell on Monday and will look to venture into the transfer market again before the campaign gets underway in early August.
And he expressed his hope that the progression shown by Newton might catch the eye of any potential recruits.
“It is difficult to operate but once you get one player into the Football League you can promote it to new signings.
“We can say ‘Look at what we have done here, it’s worked for us’.
“I could’ve been a right nugget with Danny. When the V9 stuff came about I could’ve said no and stopped him going.
“But we just supported him because it’s the right thing to do.
“Maybe now, with him moving to Stevenage, it may swing it for players we go in for or for players that are dithering between us and another club”
Morrell paid tribute to Newton, as the striker looks to follow in his former manager’s footsteps by moving into the professional game after a spell in non-league football.
In 1997, at the age of twenty two Morrell moved to the North East to study Sports Science at Northumbria University. Shortly after his move he joined Northern League club Newcastle Blue Star and scored twenty five goals in his maiden season with the North Tyneside club.
A trial with Wrexham followed and he was offered a professional deal with the Dragons.
After a successful five-year stay at the Racecourse Ground he went on to play for the likes of Coventry City, Blackpool and Bury during his playing career.
He admitted he was pleased to see his Newton move into the Football League after his former striker penned a two-year deal with the Broadhall Way club.
He said “Danny was decent in his first year with us but he worked tirelessly to improve his all-round game.
“We worked with him in training and made sure his strengths as a player got even stronger and his weaknesses improved too.
“As a player he developed quickly and he just got better and better. We offered him a new deal but we knew he would kick on and get a move.
“Last season he was phenomonal for us and he deserves his move. I hope it all goes well for him”
Article: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)
Image: Stevenage FC