Tommy Cassidy takes the reins at the Spartans

ROSEMARY Cassidy is delighted. In time, husband Tommy joked, Gavin Fell may be less so.

ROSEMARY Cassidy is delighted. In time, husband Tommy joked, Gavin Fell may be less so.

Cassidy – Tommy, not his missus – was confirmed as the new manager of Blyth Spartans yesterday, replacing Steve Cuggy.

Having missed life in the game since he left his post at Whitby Town of the Evo Stik Premier in October, the former Newcastle United and Northern Ireland star announced himself greatly honoured to take the reins at Croft Park.

Getting him out from under her feet of a Saturday, his wife might be happier still.

However, with Cuggy’s assistant Fell and goalkeeping coach Carl King opting to stay at the club, Cassidy humorously suggested the nature of football – and the tension of the task in hand, namely Blue Square Bet North survival – means they all may be sick of the sight of one another before long.

Joking aside, Cassidy – whose side entertain Altrincham today, subject to the elements – knows he faces a “daunting” challenge.

Though undermined by a catalogue of injury and misfortune, Cuggy presided over just five wins – two in the league, of which they are bottom.

One of those victories was against Cassidy’s Whitby in the FA Cup, but the 61-year-old – who met his new players on Thursday night and means to give them all a chance to prove themselves – is looking forward to life back in the hot-seat, and has targeted a minimum of 38 points to save Spartans’ season.

“I am delighted to have been given the job, and greatly honoured,” said Cassidy, who will begin his Blyth tenure in the stands serving the last game of a ban handed to him after verbally abusing a referee while at Whitby. “Blyth are a top, North East non-league club with a rich heritage and great support.

“Unfortunately, the nature of football is you only tend to get a job when things are not going so well.

“Twelve points from a possible 60, from 20 league games, is not great, although I know Steve Cuggy had desperately bad luck.

“The club got in touch with me, I said I was interested and it is great to be back in football, I have missed it so much.

“My wife has been fed up with me lingering around the house on a Saturday. She says I have been obnoxious.

“There is nothing better than being in a football club dressing room at 2.30 on a Saturday.

However, it is going to be a very hard job. I am looking forward to it but it’s daunting.”

Cassidy added: “The remit is simply to keep the club up this season.

“It is typical of football we have two games against Workington, where I had six years, just around the corner, but first we have to focus on Altrincham on Saturday.

“I know one or two of the players already, and met the squad at training on Thursday night. I do not foresee making too many changes immediately because I want to have a look at the lads and see what they’re about.

“Down the line I will probably bring one or two new faces in but it is too early now to be thinking in those terms.

“The lads there now deserve a chance to prove themselves and they will have that chance.“

So too Gavin Fell and Carl King, coaches who came in with Cuggy.

Cassidy said: “They are both staying and I am delighted about that.

“I had an hour-long conversation with Gavin and we got on well.

“I told him after three weeks he will hate the sight of me and I will hate the sight of him, but that is football!

“The important thing is we all work together to get Blyth up out of the relegation zone.

“We need 38 points at least and if we can be fifth or sixth bottom in five or six weeks time, I will be very happy.”


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