Glue Watch | 7/6/24

Welcome to the first edition of Glue Watch! A weekly (or perhaps bi-weekly if I can’t be arsed) look at what’s going on in and around the Glue League.

With pre-season training only a few weeks away, many of the bigger and better sides in the Glue League Premier have been strengthening their squads, either via smart and strategic recruitment, or by saying “Fuck it” and chucking ‘Loadsamoney’ about the shop.

On that note, we’ll start off with the leagues most beloved side, Macclesfield. Though they seem to have a touch of the ‘Massivefax’ about them, Macc seemingly have a lot more cash to spend than Massivefax ever did at this level. They’ve massively strengthened their squad thus far, bringing in experienced centre midfielder Danny Whitehead who had just been released by AFC Fylde, as well as snatching away some of the best wingers in the National League North in Elliot Whitehouse (Chester) and Justin Johnson (Chorley) – both of whom scored against Spartans in the league last season.

They’ll no doubt continue to strengthen what is already (for this level) a star studded squad throughout the summer. The closest thing we’ll have to a Scunthorpe this season, it’ll be a huge shock if these don’t win the league this time around.

Guiseley are another team who’ve made some waves this summer, seemingly throwing some cash about. Forward Jordan Thewlis joins from Alfreton, on 2-year contract – having just notched 17 goals in 37 league games for them last season. Now 31 and his prime, he’ll be a contender for the glue league golden boot this season.

Another striker joining The Lions is Jake Wright, who left Buxton in the summer as they went full time. He may not have featured much for them last season, but he’s another one who managed to notch a goal against Spartans last season. Former Darlington, Spennymoor and York City man Adriano Moke is another new face this summer. Now 34-years-old, he’s likely not as dynamic as he used to be, and he likely no longer offers to fight fans in car parks on twitter anymore. That being said, he can still be a dangerous creative player in deeper role.

Will Longbottom departed Bradford PA this summer, choosing to link up with former manager Mark Bower. The creative and versatile midfielder netted 18 goals in 58 games for Bradford across the last 2 seasons, and he’ll no doubt help fire Guiseley into the play off race this season. They’ve also signed Lebrun Mbeka, who left Sepnnymoor in the summer. That deal seemingly took a while to go through, but nevertheless, Mbeka will supposedly be getting a canny wedge down in Yorkshire.

Locally, Stockton Town have gotten off to a good start this summer. Most importantly of all, the key players from last seasons campaign have all been signed up, including Kevin Hayes. Just this week they added Consett centre back and former Spartan Arjun Purewal to what is an already impressive squad. They perhaps still need 2/3 quality additions to have what will likely be a competent Glue League Premier side this summer, but I’ve no doubt they’ll manage that.

Down at Hebburn Town, they’ve strengthened with a wide range of talent, on top of signing up their key players from last season. Experience arrives in the form of Michael Turner and Liam Noble who left Morpeth Town at the end of the season. On top of that, one of the Northern League’s best players in Joe Posthill also arrives despite teams higher up the pyramid having interest in him.

Further down the east coast, Whitby Town have had a bit of mixed start to their summer. While they have lost captain and back bone of their defence in Dan Rowe, as well as winger Junior Mondal – both of whom have joined Spennymoor Town. On top of that, they’ve also chosen to move on from strikers Bradley Fewster and Jerome Greaves, as well as centre midfielder Adam Gell. On the plus side, they have managed to retain a lot of the younger players who impressed last season, and they’ve also brought in young full back Sam Collins following his release from Middlesborough – as well as former South Shields captain Gary Liddle. Whitby still have a bit to do if they’re to match or even better last season.

As for Morpeth, well… we know all about their summer activity so far…

Over on the west coast, Workington caused a stir the other week, signing Spartans goalkeeper Alex Mitchell. He’s one of few new faces on the bleak Cumbrian coast so far this summer, with Carlisle United youngster Kai Nugent also set to link up with the Reds this summer, following his release. While it may seem like they’ve made a bit of a slow start, they do have a good manager in Mark Fell, so I’ve doubt new faces will begin to pur into Borough park in the coming weeks.

Elsewhere in the league, the original godfather of Alfreton’s infamous Brexitball in Nicky Law, is back in football after 7 years out of football management. He’s taken the reigns at Matlock Town, who will be looking improve on last season after they spent most of the season near the drop. They retained well renowned forward Liam Hardy last month, as well as Connor Grady and Shaun Brisley. Law then swooped for Stocksbridge goalkeeper, Ben Poole and now former Ashton United man George Milner. Safe to say they’ll be an invigorated side this coming season.

Over at Worksop, they’ve added former Gateshead and South Shields striker Aaron Martin to their ranks. After losing out in the play off semi’s last season, the free spending Tigers will be looking to go all the way this season – and they’ve certainly gotten their summer off to a good start. On top of Martin, they’ve also added Luke Shiels and former Scarborough man Dan Bramall.

Warrington Rylands are another team that will likely be up there this season. Funded by Wayne Rooney’s former agent, they’ve shot up from nowhere in recent seasons. They’ve snapped up one of Bury FC’s top players in Sam Burns who netted 8 times in 16 games for them, along with Dylan Dwyer and Ntumba Massanka. More additions will likely follow as they seem to have cash to burn, yet again.

Hyde United will be a team that most of you will be rather familiar with. A side that Spartans battled frequently between the mid 1990’s and mid 2010’s, they only just missed out on the play off’s last season. While they have managed to retain the services of well renowned former Salford City striker Jack Redshaw, they have been picked apart a bit this summer.

Captain Brad Roscoe has been snapped up newly promoted NLN side Radcliffe, and former Spennymoor and South Shields player Josh Doherty is also off. Midfielder Callum Spooner is also off to the NLN, with him joining Southport. If Hyde want to have another crack at the play offs, they’ll need to bring in some top quality players to fill the massive holes in their side at present.