Despite having to work with a vastly-reduced budget next season, Newtongrange Star boss Stevie McLeish is confident he’ll still be able to attract quality players to the club.
Former Musselburgh Athletic manager McLeish was appointed at New Victoria Park last month alongside assistant Murray Hunter following the sacking of Alan Miller.
He has inherited a squad who are all out of contract, with the majority of last season’s side having been offered reduced deals. McLeish faces an anxious wait as they consider their options with players such as Craig Thomson, Lee Currie and Kris Renton certain to have many clubs chasing their signatures.
McLeish, who led Burgh to the Scottish Junior Cup final in a 19-month tenure at Olivebank, has been told the priority is to keep the club in the Super League next season.
He said: “Given the budget we’ve got I think survival at the moment is the biggest point on the agenda. Stay in the Super League and maybe challenge in a couple of cups and we’ll see how we go.
“The committee realise themselves that the level of finance we have this year is not what it has been and it will be difficult to sustain a title challenge with the type of budget we’ve got.”
But despite having less finance to work with this summer, McLeish believes the club is still an attractive proposition for any player.
“You turn up at the ground and you see how nice it is and how good the pitch is and the facilities that are there. It’s a real feeling that it’s a good sized club,” he continued.
“It’s the calibre you can actually entice to the club anyway just because of the name, the surroundings and the people. There are always going to be talented players that won’t to come to Newtongrange Star.”
McLeish endured a troublesome end to his time at Olivebank with he and his players having to go without wages. He wasn’t given the financial backing to bring in new signings and had to work with a squad of just 14 in his last few months in charge.
“It wasn’t a tough decision to leave Musselburgh, it was pretty straight forward really,” he said.
“I thought my time had come at Musselburgh and we couldn’t really take the club any further. We did really well the year before and I had put together a squad which was competitive, but it was systematically eroded.
“We had an up and down bit of form come the middle part of the season and I don’t think we got the chances we should’ve got from people. It showed in the results – there were some good results and good performances in there, some bad results and some not so good performances.
“I’ve got a lot of happy memories from my time at Musselburgh and I really do wish them all the best. I just felt that the time was right to go.”