After weeks of negativity, speculation, threats of boycotts and criticism, the eerie silence was shattered on Saturday June the 1st, with the announcement that former Newcastle, Sunderland and Fulham midfielder Lee Clark had been appointed as Alun Armstrong’s successor. Clark joins with a vast experience of professional football management having had spells at Huddersfield Town, Birmingham City, Blackpool, Kilmarnock and Bury. He currently holds the record for the most games unbeaten in the Football League when his Huddersfield side went 43 games undefeated.
It was an appointment that nobody could have predicted and a set of very different circumstances to what he is used to. However, he can’t wait to get started
“I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited by the challenge. It’s a new challenge for me but one I’m really looking forward to.”
Alun Armstrong enjoyed a very successful 3 years at the club winning a league title followed by 10th and 6th place finishes in the National League North. Since Armstrong’s departure, no fewer than nine first teamers have ventured to pastures newleaving just 11 of the players that were at the club come the end of the season. Lee Clark spoke highly of last season’s squad.
“They had a great season last season so we want to try and build on that, we want to keep as many of the players who were here last year.”
The new boss confirmed that he has spoken to the remainder of last season’s squad but admitted it was difficult due to the fact they were all in Ibiza and had consumed far too many beers.
Clark acknowledged the fact that no matter how many of the current cohort he does manage to sign up, he will have to make additions. However, he is keeping his options open regarding recruitment.
“There’s no remit, I haven’t got a set barometer in terms of what I’m looking for.”
“I just want players who I believe will be good enough and fit into the way we want to play.”
Clark didn’t rule out the possibility of a young squad and expressed that youth development is something that he enjoys but he believes the best way to build the squad is with a mixture of youth and experience.
“A good way of doing it is getting a combination of both (young and experienced players), and getting that experienced player in with the youngsters.”
“Sometimes you just need that little bit of help at times when you’re a younger player.”
Under Alun Armstrong, Blyth were well known for an attacking brand of football, which is something that Clark is keen to continue.
“I’m going to try to build a team that’s attack minded, I’m going to try to build a team that wants to score goals.”
Despite the turbulent close season so far, Clark is aiming for improvement on last term but accepts it will be difficult. However, the new management team want to make an efficient transition.
“You always want to try and be better than you were the previous year.”
“That will be difficult with what’s going to be a nucleus of at least 50 percent of a new squad and a new management team.”
“We understand it’s going to be a work in progress but we would like to try and make it happen very quickly.”
The new manager praised the fans and urged them to remain patient
“I know they’re a group of loyal supporters. Just stick with the team, there will be some ups and downs.”
“There’s going to be big changes to the squad which most of it has been forced upon us.”
“Give us a bit of time but we will be working as hard as possible to give them a team that they want.”
Clark stated that he wants to give the fans a feel good factorduring his tenure.
“I’m here to try and build a team for them. I want them to be entertained. I want them to enjoy coming. I want them to enjoy the match day experience.”