Colne FC boss Steve Cunningham has been busy bolstering his squad ahead of the club’s first ever term in the Evo-Stik First Division North.
Not even a break away in Benalmadena, Spain, could deter the North West Counties Premier Division manager of the year from making preparations for the season ahead as the Reds look to make an impact in the eighth tier of the English football pyramid.
Instead of relaxing on a sun lounger or sipping cocktails the 36-year-old was delving in to the transfer market in a bid to get a head start on his rivals.
And such commitment and dedication has paid off as he captured prolific striker Matty Beadle from 1874 Northwich, Stockport County duo Joe Garvin and Danny Morton as well as goalkeeper Ben Woodhead from rivals Clitheroe.
“Joe has been with us before so we know that he is a fantastic player,” said Cunningham. “He offers everything in terms of ability and desire to win football matches. He’s got that ‘wow’ factor and he can make the difference in games.
“I think this could turn out to be the best signing of the summer. There was a whole host of teams after him. He can produce something even if he’s having a quiet game.
“Joe is the kind of player that I wanted to bring in because he appreciates what Colne Football Club is all about. We’re delighted to have signed him.”
On right back Morton, who had previously had a successful spell at Shawbridge with the Blues, Cunningham added: “Danny had offers from teams in the leagues above. He’s come in and bought in to everything we are doing at the club. He brings athleticism, pace and a threat going forward.
“He has quality that we need for the Evo-Stik League. We’ve brought two players in that were plying their trade in the Conference North. They are exciting signings for the fans and their experience for the step up will be invaluable.”
While Cunningham is taking full responsibility for the aforementioned activity the Reds boss revealed that his players had a hand in the signing of Beadle.
“Matty scored 34 in 36 games last season,” Cunningham said. “I obviously have my own targets but I asked the lads who they wanted and they all gave me his name so we went out and got him. That shows instantly that the players respect him. His dad (Peter Beadle) is the manager of Hereford FC so he’s had good guidance too.
“He’s just got a presence about him. He’s direct and he’s just looking to score goals when he gets the ball. The fans will love him for that. He’s a team player as well though and he’s very ambitious. He wants to be part of a family club that is looking to push on.”
It hasn’t all been plain-sailing for Cunningham, however, as last season’s leading scorer Jay Hart decided to move on after being offered terms by Ramsbottom, now stewarded by former Nelson FC pair Paul Fildes and Mark Fell.
“We’ve lost Jason Hart to Ramsbottom which is very disappointing for us as a club because we’ve looked after him,” said the XLCR Stadium chief.
“We got him back on the straight and narrow - though he’s obviously helped himself as well - and we’ve taken him on board twice now.
“He rewarded us last year with his goals but unfortunately we weren’t able to match what Ramsbottom we’re offering him.
“Obviously we wanted to keep hold of him but as a club we want to thank him for his goals last season and wish him all the best for his future.
“We’ve lost a fans’ favourite and we weren’t expecting it.”