New Belper Town manager Tommy Taylor has wasted little time in getting to work since his appointment at the beginning of May, and has already recruited practically a new team of players to complement those who have chosen to stay on from last season.
Only time will tell as to whether Taylor’s arrival at the club will be seen one of the most astute managerial appointments in the Nailers’ recent history.
The former West Ham United defender has packed a wealth of experience into a career that has seen him manage at Football League, International level whilst also experiencing management in the non-league scene.
Taylor admits that the Evo-Stik Division One South will be the lowest level of football he has been involved in but doesn’t appear to be fazed by his new surroundings.
“It doesn’t matter to me what the standard of football is because I will approach the game the same way as I always have done,” said Taylor.
“I surround myself with players who want to play for me and give 100 per cent effort in training and in games, and in return they will hopefully be part of a successful team.”
Many supporters’ will wonder what the attraction of Belper Town was to such a much-travelled former FA Cup winner, after being associated with so many larger clubs throughout his career.
The catalyst for the decision was almost certainly Jon Froggatt, the Nailers captain and leading goascorer from last season, whose association with Taylor began as a player at Boston United where Taylor was managing at the time.
“Froggy knew I was looking to get back into management and rang me to say that Belper’s manager was leaving at the end of the season, and was I interested?”
“He spoke very highly of the facilities and the way the club was run and that was how things started, and I’m really pleased to be manager of Belper Town and I’m looking forward to working with the players and directors of the club.”
While Taylor’s knowledge of players in this area of the country is limited, assistant manager Jon Froggatt has been able to recommend plenty, and Taylor does his research at great length before inviting them to Christchurch Meadow.
‘There’s a wealth of information on players on the Internet nowadays and I only need to look at their playing record at previous clubs to make an initial judgement on their abilities,” explained Taylor.
“But when they get here it’s up to them to prove that they are the players I think they are, and the only way they will do that is to work hard in training and do well enough to stake a claim for a place in the side.
Taylor might still have been working in League football as Chief Scout with Peterborough United under Darren Ferguson but he missed the day-to-day involvement of managing a football club.
“I was travelling around looking at players for Peterborough United and I probably could have still been doing that now but when the opportunity came up to manage Boston United I jumped at it.”
Taylor went on to manage Grenada and then had a spell as Director of Football at Spanish club FC Torrevieja before joining the Nailers for the forthcoming season.
Pre-season training has been underway for a couple of weeks now and to give him the best opportunity to see judge the players that he inherited from last season and to assess the new recruits training has taken place over four nights a week.
“Tuesday and Thursday evenings are the main sessions for the first team players with an additional one on Saturday mornings,” explained Taylor.
I want to see every player take part in at least two sessions per week, and Wednesday evening is specifically for the reserve team.”
While it’s still too early to predict the style of football that the new manager will want to adopt, he is quite clear as to what is expected of his teams on match days.
“Once the preparation for each match is complete I expect the players to take responsibility for their performances once they cross that white line,” he emphasised.
“I pick a team that is best suited to the opposition and conditions and send them out each with a job to do, but the rest is up to the players.”
The Nailers have confirmed at least eight new signings with Mark Camm joining from Rainworth MW. A former Sheffield United youngster, he has Football League experience with Lincoln City and then captained King’s Lynn for five seasons before joining Boston United.
Tommy Hannigan has also signed from Rainworth MW and is an experienced and classy defender who is equally at home at the centre of defence or on the flanks. A former Notts. County academy player, Hannigan has appeared for both Alfreton Town and Hucknall Town at Conference North level.
Deon Meikle has signed from Carlton Town, although he originally made his mark at Eastwood Town where he burst into the first team after starring in the Badgers academy team, attracting a host of bigger clubs with his ability.
Lee Morris is a proven goal scorer in the Northern Premier League and has made the short journey down the A6 from Matlock Town, and Damien McGhee, a left sided defender has joined the Nailers from Glapwell along with ‘keeper Andy Richmond.
Of last season’s squad manager Tommy Taylor is thought to be impressed with Luke Fedorenko, Matt Plant, Liam Davis, Richard Davis, Aaron Pride and Jamie Smith although all will be under pressure to stake a first team place come the start of the season.