St Neots Town face Weymouth on first day of the Southern League season after wary summer for Iain Parr

Gavin Hoyte, centre, will be the captain of St Neots Town this season. Pictures: Claire Howes

Gavin Hoyte, centre, will be the captain of St Neots Town this season. Pictures: Claire Howes - Credit: Archant

IAIN Parr said he has found it hard to understand the ‘ambition and financial expectations’ of established Step 3 players after making some ‘very good’ offers during the summer and having them turned down.

The St Neots Town manager, whose club will begin their second season in the newly sponsored Calor Southern League Premier Division with a home game against Weymouth on Saturday, signed former defender Rene Steer this week in the run up to the big opener, and told The Hunts Post: “If you’re not careful you can get drawn into a bidding war.”

He said: “At some point you have to step back and question your values and beliefs and look at what is right for the development and sustainability of the football club.

“As soon as Adrian Sear kicked the last ball of the season for us to win the Hunts Senior Cup we started preparing for the new season and the process has proved to be an eye-opener and a journey in which I have gained some valuable experience.

“Speaking to some established players at Step 3 I found it hard to understand their ambition and financial expectations.

“We made some very good offers to some very good players but it wasn’t to be so we wished them well and moved on.

“We said throughout last season we are buying into youth development and asked the supporters to be patient and the message is the same again.”

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Parr isn’t just making early excuses, just in case things go wrong; there is a real feeling around The Cozy Stadium that success no longer needs to be bought as it was under the former manager, Dennis Greene, who won two successive promotions with the chairman Mike Kearns’s money.

Parr continued: “People ask me about my expectations this season and it remains the same: win every game, play the attractive style of attacking football we have a growing reputation for, improve and give 100 per cent. We are an ambitious football club with one of the best facilities in non-league football, with a long term plan.”

Players remaining from last season include the midfielders Sear, Lewis Hilliard and Jay Davies, while defender Gavin Hoyte has been named the club captain this term. Into the squad have come, among others, Joe Benjamin, Paul Rogers, Ash Fuller, Ola Sogbanmu and Dan Crowie.

Supporters can expect a few more signings in the next few weeks with Parr confirming that he is looking at further players.

Meanwhile, St Neots Town Youth & Saints, who have entered Division One of the United Counties League this season, began their campaign with a 1-1 draw at Raunds Town on Saturday.

Chae Simons scored the club’s first ever goal and the manager, Steve Kuhne, said: “It was important to get off and running and not get beaten.

“We had a few players call in ill – so we went with 14 outfield players and two goalkeepers. But we did well to bounce back after going behind.”

This Satursday they are away again, this time at Lutterworth Athletic in Leicestershire.