IT is a genuine relief to have some football news to talk about as pertains to Newport County AFC after being again hammered on the fans’ forum for a couple of recent stories.
The season ticket prices back page story that compared County’s prices right across the top five divisions in the Football League was greeted by a mixed reaction from readers.
However, the re-evaluation on pricing, at least to the degree of offering certain concessions and incentives for purchasing said season tickets, was music to my ears.
Similarly, the news that last week the Exiles again opened the doors of Rodney Parade for full and frank dialogue with supporters, something I called for in my last column. Transparency and honesty is all football supporters expect from their club, their loyalty and love is unconditional and it is a welcome development that new general manager Steve Dance seems determined to keep the lines of communication very much open.
However, pleasingly we now have signings and football matters to debate and a complete change in strategy seems to be taking shape.
Managers as far back as John Cornforth and Peter Beadle, and inclusive of Dean Holdsworth and Anthony Hudson, have taken comfort in strength in depth, or more pertinently, having at least 17 or 18 players on contract.
It has been expressed to Argus reporters by boss Justin Edinburgh that he doesn’t intend to operate in such a manner, especially with the playing budget reduced from last season.
Edinburgh intends to have between a dozen and 14 players on contract with a ‘been there and done it at this level,’ attitude to the players offered deals.
That’s been evident with signings such as Tony James, Jake Thomson and Jefferson Louis (who, incidentally, has had more clubs than Ian Woosnam and Colin Montgomerie combined) and especially Andy Sandell and Danny Crow.
Edinburgh will rely on his own judgement and that of Tim Harris with regard to padding out his group with triallists and loanees.
That means the upcoming pre-season friendlies should again provide us with a smorgasbord of players to assess as we all become armchair scouts.
Add in a sprinkling of local talent in Andrew Hughes, Lee Evans and the aforementioned James and Edinburgh should have a decent blend with subsequent room to manoeuvre based on attendances and increased revenue.