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NLP columnist Lee Fowler reckons radical move was vital for Radcliffe

FIRST ABOARD: Lee Fowler The Non-League Paper

Guest columnist and new Radcliffe FC boss Lee Fowler returns in The Non-League Paper this week after bringing in former Liverpool midfielder David Thompson as his number two.

Change was vital for us

It’s been a busy few days for getting some new faces through the door at Radcliffe FC.

Former Liverpool midfielder David Thompson will be my assistant and I’ve also managed to bring in former Bury defender Stephen Dawson.

I played with Thommo when I was a young kid coming through at Coventry. I always want to work with different people because of the different dynamics it can give you.

We met up in Alderley Edge and sold him what I wanted from him – he explained what he wants out of it and it will work really well. It’s a big coup for me and the club.

As is the signing of Daws. I couldn’t afford to wait another day to sign him so last Sunday I drove over to his house to show how much I wanted him.

He’s fit and hungry and will be a massive signing for the club. I’ve played against him a few times and he’s quite like me – he won’t let anyone slack.

On the sideline I want to be quiet. In Daws, I’ve got someone on the pitch to help manage the team.

Lee Fowler The Non-League Paper

BURY BATTLER: Lee Fowler made Stephen Dawson his first signing

Doug Tharme has also joined us. He’s on loan from Wrexham until the end of the season. I feel for him because he’s had a couple of loan moves that haven’t quite worked out but he’s had plaudits.

He’s a good, honest kid. Wrexham manager Dean Keates said that every time a team has come in to sign him on loan he’s said yes straightaway. That shows the character of the boy.

I’m here for a for a fresh start

When you’re out of football the phone stops ringing straightaway. Now I’m back in as Radcliffe manager it hasn’t stopped!

The phone calls, emails, Linkedin messages from players looking for a game! I finished my day job on Friday to be full-time in this role.

I see my future as a manager so I will be giving everything to Radcliffe that I possibly can. Having won the Midland League title with Ilkeston last season, I feel Step 3 is the perfect level for my progression.

There’s a plan for where I want to be further down the line and I’ve pinpointed the NPL Premier Division as the next stage. It’s a league I’ve been really studying and I’ve been out watching games regularly in recent months.

Look, I don’t want to be going from club to club – from manager to assistant manager – as it has panned out a bit this season. Now it’s time to build something.


I’d been in before the club officially announced it last Saturday. I was like a bull in a china shop at first explaining to the players how I go about my business and what they can expect from me.

We wrote the things they want to improve or haven’t been happy with on a whiteboard. Whether it be discipline or the fact they didn’t like the training balls.

After three sessions I went back in with a rubber and we got rid of six things. Are the balls better? Yes. That’s one excuse gone.

The two left on the board are Tactical and Knowledge. That’s down to me. I’ve told them I am going to prove I’ve got the tactics and knowledge of the league to win games.

Then I’ve also left Desire to Win on there. It’s down to them to prove to me they have that. It’s about us all having accountability on both sides.

As a manager you do you work in the week. You shouldn’t need to be ranting and raving on a matchday because that is when it’s down to the players.

Team spirit

The players are all going out together on Sunday for a social and build that team spirit. Then we’ll be back in on Tuesday and Thursday getting ready for Scarborough away.

It will be nice to actually have a game. The first three have been postponed. I didn’t mind initially because it gave us extra sessions on the training pitch, but our home game against Grantham being off was a blow. You’ve got them on the edge and ready to go and then the weather gets in the way.

Already I’ve seen the standards raise. I won’t be dropping mine so the players know they have to come up to the levels the management want.

The confidence will start to come when you get that first win. They’ve lost the last eight games but that’s gone. It’s starting afresh. A new animal.

Make sure you get your copy of The Non-League Paper on Sunday for the latest news and action from across Non-League over the last seven days including a trip to Scarborough Athletic on Saturday for Lee Fowler and his Boro side.

As well as exclusive match reports and pictures from all of Saturday’s fixtures in the Vanarama National League, the BetVictor-Sponsored Isthmian League, Southern League and Northern Premier League, The Non-League Paper’s live coverage extends all the way to Steps 5 and 6.

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