TEAMtalk's Accrington Stanley FanZoner Lee Walker gives his take on new manager James Beattie and is upbeat ahead of the new campaign.
Well what a summer! I make that around three weeks of sunshine so far, surely we can't go another three and have the hottest summer on record?? So much for record rainfall! Talking of sunshine, it seems only yesterday that the doom and gloom surrounding my tiny club was in full swing with the resignation of former manager Leam Richardson at the end of the season. It was massively disappointing after the board stuck by him after we went bottom of League Two in early March. I suppose that's football and as with anything else, we move on to pastures new.
I was absolutely delighted that James Beattie accepted the job of manager and there is no doubt he is aiming big for the future. His end of season speech at the awards evening was magnificent and I really could not be happier at his appointment. The players all seem happy and have recorded two nice early pre-season friendly wins against local non-league sides Nelson and AFC Darwen respectively. They also got treated to a pre-season training camp in Portugal, the first trip of its kind in the club's history, which the players seemed genuinely amazed at.
Of the players themselves, we have 15 contracted so far for next season, which is a great block to build on. Unfortunately, as expected we have lost star men Lee Molyneux, who joined Crewe, Amine Linganzi, who moved to Gillingham, plus Rommy Boco and Francis Jeffers, while Padraig Amond joined Morecambe. This leaves us with a huge hole to fill up front, with the likes of young strikers Marcus Carver and James Gray being the only two forwards left at the club.
Better news, however, has been the permanent signings of Nicky Hunt from Rotherham United, Laurence Wilson from Morecambe and young Irish striking prospect Shay McCartan from Burnley. I am rather excited about McCartan as Burnley fans really seemed to rate him and thought he didn't really get a chance. Time will tell I suppose.
The manager has said he is looking for a squad of around 20 players whilst also utilising the loan market across the course of the season. With his contacts at Southampton and Everton in particular im hoping we can persuade a few Premier League youngsters to join us for a period. Hopefully a goalkeeper, a striker and a couple of wingers are top of the shopping list.
Bring on the new season.
'On Stanley on.'