New Linby CW manager Lewis Saxby is excited to be part of the club’s ambitious new project to climb the football pyramid.
With former boss Dave Marlow leaving the club after five years and taking some of the players with him up a step to Arnold Town, a new era is beginning with new staff, new players and the start of creating a new-look ground with floodlighting.
Former Teversal boss Saxby had been in charge of Mansfield Town Ladies, but was delighted to make the switch to Central Midlands League South Division Linby.
“They have all made me very welcome,” he said. “It is different as, obviously, I’ve just left women’s football and come back into men’s football so I have a lot more to pick from with both players and staff than in ladies football.
“I applied for the job when it came up. I made no secret when I was at Mansfield Town Ladies that I wanted to get back into men’s football after being at Teversal. So when the chance came we had a chat, though I wasn’t sure.
“But the passion that Dave Elson (chairman) and Ade Ward (secretary) had for this club sold it for me - the work they are going to do on the ground, the philosophy of bringing young players.
“It’s quite similar to the way I want to work. I felt it was the perfect fit and the perfect way to get back into men’s football.”
Saxby explained that new people would recognise the Church Lane ground once all the work was finished.
“They are completely re-doing the ground and it should look smart,” he said.
“They are moving the pitch down from the Church End so it can be widened. “We are having brand new changing rooms and a brand new bar, which creates its own revenue, and, with floodlights up, it also gives us a chance to push up into the next step and see if we can have a go in there as well.
“It will basically be a brand new facility in terms of what they are trying to get out of it.
“It should all be done in time for the season after this. The pitch has got to be moved down first before we can get floodlights up.”
That would allow the club to move up to the next step if they were to be promoted, but Saxby thinks the forthcoming season will be more one of rebuilding and creating a foundation for a promotion push the year after.
“I think promotion this season might be too soon in terms of the March deadline to have everything in place,” he admitted.
“If we are being realistic the aim has got to be for the year after which suits us fine. You look at Linby’s previous record they have been mainly a mid-table side. So there is some work to be done first to get us up there.
“The old manager Dave Marlow has taken a lot of players with him to Arnold in the step above. So it will be a total reshape of staff and players here.
“No one is saying we are going to go out and get promoted this year. That’s not our aim. This year is get a side, get settled, get the style of football we want to play, and then next year we’ll have a look at it.”
However, he added: “The project excites me. The whole club really excites me. You speak to anyone who works in and around the club, the volunteers, they are excited. It’s quite an exciting time to be here.”
Now he needs to stitch together a new squad over the summer.
“We’ve got a few in. Obviously pre-season is always a bit hectic. Players like to go and train elsewhere and see what their options are.
“But we have a few nailed down with four or five who have played in the league above. A few have won this league.
“So the players we are looking at have experience which I think is vital. But we are also obviously going to try to build with youth and try to fit them in.
“We’ve kept six or seven of the lads from Linby last year. They will be involved as they’re decent footballers and we’ll just fit in around them.”
Saxby has put an open call to any players who are interested in coming to trial at pre-season training from June 22. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07977 735770.
Saxby’s predecessor Dave Marlow took over a Linby side that five years ago finished rock bottom of the NSL Senior Division, having played 32 games and managed only seven points.
He built the club up on and off the field, creating a thriving youth set-up and last season the club finished 11th.
Looking to build on that success, Saxby has brought in assistant manager Steve McGurk, who has valuable experience after winning promotion from the Central Midlands North Division with AFC Mansfield. He has also played for Shirebrook in the NCEL.
Also joining the backroom staff are Daniel Machin, a promising young coach in his first job in men’s football, and new press officer Kieran Booker, who had been the head of media at Mansfield Town Ladies.
First team friendlies arranged so far are Sat, July 9 v Notts County (at Rolls, 3pm), Sat, July 16 v Ashland Rovers (A, 3pm), Tue, July 19 v Sherwood Colliery (A, 7.45pm), Sat, July 23 v Teversal (H, 3pm), Thu, July 28 v Bilsthorpe (A, 7.45pm), Sat, July 30 v Arnold Town (H, 3pm), Sat, Aug 6 v Newark Town (H, 3pm).