Spencer Fearn back at Frickley in new role as he joins new manager Craig Spink in reshuffle

Spencer Fearn.
Spencer Fearn.

It is all change at Frickley Athletic following a restructure of the football operations side and the appointment of a new first team manager.

Craig Spink has taken over from Martin McIntosh as the senior team’s manager and will be joined by Adam Valente as assistant manager and Mark Birch as the new goalkeeping coach.

New Frickley Athletic manager Craig Spink (centre) with new goalkeeping coach Mark Birch and assistant manager Adam Valente.

New Frickley Athletic manager Craig Spink (centre) with new goalkeeping coach Mark Birch and assistant manager Adam Valente.

Further developments have seen former manager Spencer Fearn return to the club in a newly created sporting director role with John Williams coming in as a football development consultant and Paul Harmson as the club’s football science consultant.

Fearn will be combining his new role with his jobs as U15s and U16s coach at Sheffield Wednesday and FA coach educator while Williams is also head of coaching for Rotherham United, having spent 30 years at Wednesday as well as working for the Scotland and Northern Ireland teams in a consultancy role and for the English FA.

Harmson is the lead strength and conditioning coach within the Sheffield Wednesday Academy and has previously worked as a first team scout for the club.

Fearn’s first task in his new Frickley role was to find a new first team manager following the departure of McIntosh and he is pleased that his first choice has taken up the offer.

He said: “Craig was an important part of the back room team in the successful side last season and also played several games earlier this season.

“Craig was the only person that I spoke to about the role, he is someone I know well, have the upmost respect for and is an excellent coach.

“His philosophy on how a club should be run and how football should be played links perfectly to the club’s.

“He has cut his teeth in management taking on a huge challenge at Harworth to save them from relegation and almost pulled it off. During this time he developed an exciting style of football, which was great to watch. We also welcome Adam and Mark to the team who will bring knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to the club.”

Spink is keen to get cracking as manager and said: “I’m absolutely delighted to accept the first team manager’s job at Frickley.

“After speaking with Spencer about the restructure of the club, the direction they want to move in and the plans it’s a very exciting place to be.

“Having had discussions with close friends and family this is definitely right where I want to be.

“Feels like a bit of unfinished business, I made a lot of friends at Frickley first time around and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into this new challenge.

“The work that Ryan (McKnight) and Spencer are doing behind the scenes is unbelievable and we hope to take it to the next level.

“I’ve assembled a team around me who I completely trust. Adam and Mark are football people, very ambitious and we’ve already sat down and had discussions on how we are going to work.

“The pre-season schedule is already planned and we can’t wait to get going.”

Explaining the decision to change things round at the club, chief executive Ryan McKnight said: “This restructure will be fantastic for the football club.

“There are huge opportunities that are before us with the Academy now part of the club and the Community Foundation doing incredible work in our local area. Making the most of that requires a structure that flows as seamlessly as possible from the first team to the new younger ages groups we’ll be introducing next season.

“Spencer knows the football club as well as anyone and the team we’re now busy assembling around his new position is going to give us the very best chance of making the most of the resources the club has to offer.

“The club has made so many strides forward the past two years – your support next season is going to be vital in helping us to keep that momentum going.”