By James Grayson (Twitter: @jamesAgrayson)
Photo courtesy of Ryan Clark of ClarkHirstPhotography
John Reed’s former assistant Clive Freeman believes Scarborough Athletic are a good bet for Evo Stik Division One South glory.
Freeman, who worked under Scarborough coach Reed at Buxton and then briefly at Goole at the start of last season, has been watching events at Queensgate closely.
Leeds-based Freeman turned down a role in Scarborough boss Rudy Funk’s (pictured above) management team because of travelling concerns, but he has kept an eye on their signings and has been impressed.
“They have a fantastic chance of going up, they have signed some great players,” he said.
“Bradshaw needs no introduction to anybody, he has scored goals and he will score goals for anyone.
“At teams I have looked after, Park Avenue, Guiseley, Buxton, we always feared when Bradshaw was on the team-sheet, you always knew he was going to score. He’s a bit like Alan Shearer, you knew he would score, it was a case of when not if.
“Paul Foot is a great centre half, he’s big, strong, a typical Evo Stik centre-half so he’ll do a great job for them.
“Steve Ridley is a guy that I know very well and he played for me and John at Buxton for five seasons.
“I was there the day he broke his leg at Worksop and it was the worst break I have ever seen and he has done unbelievably well to get back. He is a player who is the first name on the team-sheet for me.
“I said he would never play again, but he has proved us all wrong. He’s a fantastic lad and a great lad in the dressing room.”
Freeman not only coached under Reed, the former full-back played for him at Bridlington Town and Goole so knows exactly how he operates.
Freeman believes Scarborough and Reed are a great fit.
“I was speaking to John yesterday morning and he said it was taking some getting used to being a number two again after being a number one for 30 years,” he said.
“He is a great guy and people who know him have a lot of respect for him. He’ll do a great job for them.
“John’s good in the dressing room and he likes strong characters in there. He’s old school and likes his centre-halves to defend and his full-backs to get forward and his midfielders to make tackles.
“He’s just got to adjust to being a number two. There will be times when he’ll want to have his say, but he’ll have to bite his lip, like I did when I was his number two.
“I had five great years working with John, he’s great fun and he loves his football and talking about it.
“John has a great job at Scarborough, it is fantastic as Scarborough are real up and coming club. It has lifted itself out of the doldrums so it is going to be good for him there.”
The Scarborough experience will also erase the painful 12 games that Reed endured at Goole.
Reed returned to the Evo Stik club after 12 years away and hoped to bring the glory days back – in his first spell, Reed won a couple of promotions.
However, he was sacked after just 12 games in charge by chairman Des O’Hearne and Freeman left the same day – Freeman admits it was a nightmare job from the moment they took the job last summer.
The pair replaced Karl Rose who had left to become Frickley Athletic manager.
“It was the worst eight weeks of my life almost, it was a real culture shock,” he said.
“To start off with, we didn’t have a team as half of the team had gone to Frickley so we turned up at the first training session with five or six players who had been there from the previous season.
“We tried to bring players in along with loan players, but it was a car crash waiting to happen right from the start.
“The finances at Goole weren’t great so we struggling to bring players in as well.
“I was fed up by the end because it was becoming a chore and it probably soured me so much that I needed a break from it all.
“It’s a shame because John was really looking forward to managing Goole and so was I because he had been successful there before when I was playing for him.
“I have to say that I think Des (O’Hearne) was wrong to get rid of John when he did, I don’t think he gave him enough time. They wouldn’t have got relegated.”
But, what was does the future hold for Freeman?
“My garden has never looked as nice and my house is painted, but work has been tough for me over the last couple of months so I have had to dedicate a bit more time to work,” he said.
“My son is 14 and he’s playing on Saturdays and Sunday and as most people know I’m a Leeds United fanatic and I’ve been going to watch them at home and a few away games.
“I still miss that involvement, but not as much as I thought I would. I obviously turned down a job at Scarborough, but the travelling would have been too much for me with work.
“If something came available more locally, I would probably think about it. I think I’m getting on my wife’s nerves on a Saturday now to be honest.”