Goole AFC joint manager Les Nelson admits he is delighted with the signings made over the summer.
Former Penistone Church striker Nathan Keightley is their marquee capture, but the arrivals of goalkeeper Mat Zaniewski, Sam Colbear and even star Carlton Athletic attacker Anees Youis were equally eyebrow raising.
“I think some people have looked at our recruitment and said ‘I’m not sure how they’ve got them’,” Nelson told Non League Yorkshire.
“For me, everyone has the opportunity to speak to any player in the summer and when you outline your plans to players, it is up to them to make their decisions as to whether they buy into them. Thankfully we have managed to turn a few heads with some really good signings.
“We’ve had some positive feedback from the supporters. I’ve seen comments like ‘great signings, really looking forward to seeing them this year’.
“It has unfortunately been a tough time for the fans of Goole and we have brought in to hopefully stabilise Goole in the league and hopefully build on that. That’s our focus – stabilise Goole, get a good squad together and make sure we’re competing and looking to get three points in every game we play.
“I don’t personally feel our recruiting is over. We still have one-or-two irons in the fire. There’s a couple of areas we want to strengthen, but we have to be happy with what we have done with the resources we have available.
“Nathan is a good signing, but look at the other players who we have brought like Mat (Zaniewski) the ‘keeper. He has been tremendous in pre-season and he’s an asset. He’s a unit and he commands his box well.
“I’ll talk a bit about some of the players we have brought from the West Yorkshire League. Joe Tasker has been outstanding in pre-season. He’s looked, in my opinion, in some games a level above. He’s doing well. Anees doesn’t look out of place, he’s doing well.
“Joe O’Neill is growing in every single game he’s playing in. I know the West Yorkshire League lads are the ones you’d pick from the West Yorkshire League because they are that good, but the step-up hasn’t fazed them.
“We wanted to have a good number of players in pre-season to have look a good look and I think we’re at a stage now where we have got 19 or 20 we want to take forward into the season.”
Although pleased with how pre-season has gone, Nelson is still keeping his cards close to his chest on where Goole should be aiming to finish. However, he does admit he hopes relegation battles at Goole are a thing of the past.
“In-house we have kind of targeted where we’d like to finish and how we can get there,” he said.
“We’re all working to that objective and touch-wood we’ll get to where we want to be. Any team can beat anyone in the league and we have to make sure our levels in game after game are consistent and we have the mindset of wanting that win.
“I’d like to think that we can pull Goole out of the kind of positions they have unfortunately been in for the last seven years which is literally a relegation battle. It is not just sitting above it, they’ve been in it. We want to get them out of that and we want to stabilise and we want to build and continually build.”
Goole kick off their league campaign next Tuesday with a trip to Eccleshill United which follows Saturday’s FA Vase trip to Cheadle Heath Nomads.
Whilst chomping at the bit, Nelson is realistic about the new season and concedes that it is likely that everyone is in for bumpy ride.
“Like all managers, I can’t wait to get started and we’ll have the opportunity to see where we are really are,” he said.
“I’ve looked a few interviews and I kind of have to agree with the Penistone manager Ian (Richards), let’s just go full throttle and take every game as it comes as we just don’t know what’s around the corner with Covid.
“Every manager will look at their fixtures and say ‘this is what I’m looking to get points-wise’ out of a set amount of games. I don’t think you can do that because you don’t know what’s around the corner.
“I don’t want to say it is going to be stop-start, but with everything going on, you get the feeling it may be. We’re just planning game-by-game as most managers are and if something does come up, we’ll have to follow whatever the new guidelines are.”
Goole’s First Five Fixtures
September 19th – Cheadle Heath Nomads (A) – FA Vase
September 22nd – Eccleshill United (A)
September 26th – Garforth Town (H)
September 30th – Albion Sports (A)
October 3rd – Silsden (A)
If you have enjoyed reading Non League Yorkshire over the past few months, please consider making a donation to the not-for-profit organisation NLY Community Sport which provides sport for children and adults with disabilities and learning difficulties. CLICK HERE to visit the JustGiving page. There is a video at the bottom of the page showing our work.
NLY Community Sport, run by James Grayson and Connor Rollinson, has always had combatting social isolation at the top of our objectives when running our Disability Football teams. As we slowly return to ‘action’, our work will play an important role in reintroducing our players, who have disabilities and learning difficulties, back into society.
We have six teams, a mixture of Junior and Adult teams – Nostell MW DFC, Pontefract Pirates, Selby Disability Football Club and the South Yorkshire Superheroes (Barnsley) – across Yorkshire.
We have enjoyed great success over the past three years. Several of our players have represented Mencap GB in Geneva, including Billy Hobson from Selby and Greg Smith, whose story is quite inspiring.
Like most organisations, we have been affected financially by the Coronavirus and because of the cancelled Lucille Rollinson Memorial Tournament, we are down on projected income for the year and we have incurred losses in the last few months.
We have not been hit as badly as other organisations, but we do need raise £2000 to put us back at the level we were at in mid-March and enable us to make a difference once again to our players’ lives in the future, without having financial worries. Several of our players are suffering from effects of the lockdown and we are determined to be in the strongest position possible to provide services for them.
Any amount raised above £2000 will be put towards new projects (when the world returns to normal) designed to further benefit people with disabilities and learning difficulties. You can learn more about the organisation HERE and on our Facebook page.
Watch the video below to see highlights from our three years as an organisation. The video was produced for our players at the end of March to remind them of good memories from the last three years.