Blyth Spartans boss Michael Nelson issues rallying call amid Covid-19 impact
Blyth Spartans manager Michael Nelson has issued a rallying call for the club to pull together to safely navigate through the financial impact of Covid-19.
The former Hartlepool United centre-back landed his first managerial role with the National League North club just weeks after the 2019/20 season was curtailed by the epidemic.
Ironically, Spartans were one of the clubs to benefit from the Football Association’s decision to void the campaign as they were saved from a near-certain relegation into the Northern Premier League.
But that hasn’t stopped the club from facing up to the uncertainty that the pandemic has spread around the non-league scene.
Spartans supporters have met the club’s call for help with the launch of a ‘Future Fund’ that will help boost Nelson’s budget as he prepares his squad for his first season in management.
However, he believes that everyone involved at Croft Park has a part to play as they look to move on from a difficult season last time out.
He said: “There could be clubs worse off than us in the leagues, every club could be better off than us, we don’t know until we get going.
“We just have to recruit what we can within our budget, spend it as wisely as we can.
“There will be a few young lads in there that will be very susceptible to taking stuff on board and developing.
“Hopefully we can develop them, bring them on, guide them and make them better players.
“Then they can be at Blyth for more than just a flash in the pan for six months.
“We can try and develop them, move them on and get some money for the club to help it survive."
He continued: “We need to work with the resources we have, work with myself, the rest of the staff, the chairman and the fantastic supporters that are putting the money in.
“It has to be everyone coming together as one, it can’t just be the squad going out there.
“The fans are already having their say with the future fund, and hopefully they will do that by turning up in numbers – especially if there are some young boys in there.
“They will need encouragement, they will need support, and hopefully everyone can play a part.”
The ‘Future Fund’, which ends on Saturday evening, (July 18), surpassed the £8,500 mark earlier this week as the Spartans supporters helped provide Nelson with that chance to add to his ranks.
Former South Shields pair Callum Guy and Kieran Charlton became the first new signings of the summer last month and Nelson wrapped up the impressive addition of former Barrow centre-back Matthew Elsdon over the weekend.
The former Middlesbrough youngster joined the current National League champions in 2018 and spent time on loan at Northern Premier League clubs FC United of Manchester and Whitby Town.
He will now form a key part of Nelson’s plans and the Spartans boss has challenged the former England Under-17 international to prove himself in front of the Croft Park faithful.
“Hopefully, if he doesn’t work out, they (the supporters) can take the blame instead of me,” joked Nelson.
“But it was something that without the future fund, we wouldn’t have been able to do so quickly.
“To be fair to Matty, we have spoken to him for a while, he’s a local lad, a North East lad, which is pretty much where our budget lies.
“We have to recruit locally with the budget we have, although that is pretty much guesswork at the moment.
“But bringing him in has gone down well on social media and I even had a couple of agents texting me saying it was a good signing.
“It’s up to us to make sure we get Matty fit, firing and ready to go for the start of the season.
“We can let him show the fans what he can do and show a lot of people that were possibly not convinced by him.
“Hopefully it can lead to bigger and better things for Blyth and for Matty too.”
You can donate to Blyth Spartans’ Future Fund by clicking HERE.