Captaincy | Nelson on handing Heslop captaincy

Blyth Spartans manager Michael Nelson is convinced newly-appointed club captain Simon Heslop is the man to lead the club into its new start. 

Heslop has succeeded Robbie Dale as Blyth’s captain following the club legend’s retirement this week. 

Dale captained Spartans to an FA Cup third round, Northern Premier and Northumberland Senior Cup double and the National League North play-offs.

But Nelson insists he does not want Heslop to fill anybody’s boots, instead challenging him to put down his own marker by simply just being himself. 

Heslop himself has tasted success as a captain, captaining York City to their FA Trophy triumph in 2017. 

Nelson said: “He fitted the bill. It’s something we were looking to do before Robbie announced his retirement – looking to maybe have a new team captain on the pitch and keep Robbie as club captain.

“But with Robbie making his decision, Simon fits the bill perfectly.

“I don’t want Simon to try and fill anyone’s boots or be anybody else. 

“I just want him to be himself and lead the team and club in the way he wants to, in accordance with what myself and the coaching staff are trying to implement. 

“We’ve got pretty much a new squad, new manager, new coaching staff – so it’s a bit of a new start for the team and the club. 

“We want to take the club forward, develop our own philosophy and our own identity.”

Indeed, Nelson believes Heslop has already had a huge impact at the club this summer. 

He added: “He’s experienced. He’s worked under a lot of managers who have got a lot of different ways of managing, so I’m sure whatever way I want us to be on the pitch and off it, he’ll be able to adapt and transfer what I want into the players, which is a big thing.

“Getting Simon done early in the summer probably influenced a couple of the deals we’ve done since then in terms of bringing in the likes of Thomson, Blackett and Agnew. 

“When you bring someone of Simon’s calibre in, it makes people sit up and realise and may want to join the ride.”

Posted by Jordan Cronin