‘Evolution not revolution’: New Sleaford Town chairman targets long-term success

New Town chairman Kevin Newman wants success through evolution rather than revolution EMN-180621-160119002
New Town chairman Kevin Newman wants success through evolution rather than revolution EMN-180621-160119002

Sleaford Town’s new chairman Kevin Newman hopes a blend of ambition and pragmatism will steer the club out of its recent doldrums and into a new era.

Newman is targeting both long-term success and stability both on and off the pitch as Town look to rebuild.

Jamie Shaw and assistant Jay Harrison have been busy building a squad for the new season EMN-180621-161007002

Jamie Shaw and assistant Jay Harrison have been busy building a squad for the new season EMN-180621-161007002

Last season was one of the toughest in recent years as a club in flux battled to keep its team in the United Counties League Premier.

Jamie Shaw took over a hugely depleted squad just weeks before the season kicked off after the resignation of new manager Paul Walden.

But the striker did well to overcome a terrible start and guide the team to safety.

The boardroom has also seen some upheaval, and Newman takes over at the helm from Fred Collins who stepped into the breach 12 months ago.

Business and football have been twin passions of the new chairman who first got involved with Town when asked to assist with a junior side.

His yougnest son Jamie played for that team, while his other son Corey was a first teamer.

But it wasn’t until his return from a spell living in Spain that the idea of running the club first evolved.

“We returned to the UK in March 2017 and I explored various opportunities, but the role of chairman at Sleaford Town was in my mind as something that I was keen to consider,” he explained.

“That opportunity arose this year when I was made aware that Fred Collins was looking to step down. I’d like to thank him for the work he did for the club and I’m sure he will continue to do.

“Last season was a somewhat difficult one, on and off the pitch, with Jamie Shaw doing an amazing job to keep the team in the UCL Premier Division.”

Newman is already targeting a run in the FA Cup, for its allure and financial rewards, and in the longer term, higher-league football.

But Newman, a former chief scout with Boston United’s Centre of Excellence, knows that to compete with the division’s top teams they will have to do so through player development.

“Jamie and Jay (Harrison - assistant manager) have been working very hard to retain the players he wanted from last year’s squad,” he added.

“They have been talking to former players about returning and we are looking at new players to the club.

“As someone who is a great advocate of player development, I’m keen to engage with the coaches from our under 18s and bring our own young players through the ranks, where possible.”

As a man who has run his own companies, it’s perhaps not surprising that he insists the club will not spend its way up the league ladder; Eslaforde Park will be no place for mercenaries.

He said: “Other teams in our league seem to have some ridiculous playing budgets which we can’t compete with, and I’m not to prepared to be paying the demands that some players are looking for.

“We are looking for players who want to join us on a new journey for the club, which we hope will ultimately result in promotion to the higher leagues.

“We don’t see this happening overnight, there is a great saying, evolution not revolution, which is the philosophy I will bring into this club.

“We will spend what we have, not what we don’t have.”

But equally important to Newman is the club’s impact off the field which he sees as crucial to any long-term achievements.

He has acted quickly by creating commercial manager and social media manager roles, both voluntary, to sell the club to potential supporters and sponsors.

“I want the club to appear more professional off the pitch,” he added. “We need to encourage a new generation of supporters, sponsors and friends.

“Every additional supporter we can get through the gate will help our development and ultimately promotion.

“A successful football club in any town creates a buzz, excitement and interest. We intend to bring that buzz to Sleaford.”