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New Blackstones bosses keen to carry on the good work

Daniel French (left) and Lee Clarke (right) have been named as joint managers of Blackstones.
Daniel French (left) and Lee Clarke (right) have been named as joint managers of Blackstones.

New joint Blackstones boss Lee Clarke believes the opportunity to move into management was too good to turn down after taking over the Lincoln Road helm with Daniel French this week.

The duo will form a joint management team at the United Counties League Division One club following the resignation of Andy Lodge.

Lodge has to decided to take a step away from management, but could remain involved on the commercial side at the ALH Recruitment Stadium.

And Clarke is keen to build on the good work of his predecessor as he links up with French who moves up after being Lodge’s assistant.

Clarke said: “It’s been a whirlwind couple of days. The thought does cross your mind about getting into management and, when Andy left at the weekend, I had a lot of conversations with Frenchy.

“We got together, put some ideas together and set the wheels in motion. It was too good an opportunity to turn down.

“We have known each other for years. Sometimes you wonder if joint managers can really work because someone is usually making all the decisions and there’s bit of a power struggle.

“But we know each other so well that it will genuinely work. We are always talking about football and this will just be an extension of the conversations we’ve been having for the past 15 years.

“I had a bad Achilles injury a couple of years ago and this is the first time in a while that I’ve got a real buzz about something. I’m excited, the buzz is back and I just want to get started. I can’t wait for Saturday.”

The duo take over a Stones side that are currently sixth in the Division One table ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Huntingdon Town.

Clarke continued: “It is an unusual situation because a change in management usually means something has not been working and a lot of things need changing.

“But there is no need for drastic action. We might tweak a few things and do some things slightly differently, but Andy has done a good job.

“He leaves the club in a good position and we want to continue where he left off. The outlook of the club’s plans will not change.

“There won’t be a dramatic overhaul. We might bring in a couple of players over time, but that’s part and parcel of football.

“We certainly won’t be getting rid of anyone – it just might be a case of supplementing what we’ve already got.”

Stones face a Huntingdon side on Saturday who they defeated a couple of months ago in the League KO Cup. There will be a number of familiar faces in the visitors’ line-up, including Clarke’s nephew Connor.

He added: “It’s good to be up against a team we know a little bit about. The last couple of performances have been a bit indifferent so we need to get a little bit more consistency and a settled group.

“We appreciate that people have other things on outside of football and it’s not the be all and end all, but we’ll be looking to find a happy medium so that players become fully committed to playing and training.

“We need to get a bit of stability in the squad and hopefully that will help get us to where we want to be.”

Clarke will remain registered as a player with both Stones and near neighbours Stamford after featuring for both clubs in recent weeks.

He continued: “I’m registered for Blackstones and it’s a no-brainer to be there as an option. I’m also there for Stamford if they ever need me.

“Graham Drury (Stamford manager) has been fantastic. I’ve got a lot of time for him. I’ve enjoyed it massively and my one regret is that I didn’t stay longer.

“There is outstanding quality at the club, the lads are great and they are on the verge of something special and I hope they get promoted.”


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