‘I could feel there was something special going on here’ – new Lewes boss Nelson on the challenges ahead

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Craig Nelson says he can’t wait to experience the passion of the fans that makes Lewes FC a special place to be.

The former Glebe FC boss is the surprise choice to replace Tony Russell as the Rooks’ men’s manager as the club look for success in the Isthmian premier division in 2024-25.

It’s a two-division step up for Nelson from the South East Counties League but he says he and his backroom team have plenty to offer and aim to get the team playing exciting football.

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Nelson said: “I've been managing at step five at Glebe, where we were top of the league for large parts of the season. We played possession-based football, high intensity, fluid and we make sure there is a lot energy so we can get the crowd of their feet.

Craig Nelson at the Dripping Pan | Picture: Jack TowersCraig Nelson at the Dripping Pan | Picture: Jack Towers
Craig Nelson at the Dripping Pan | Picture: Jack Towers

"We like attacking and making sure we are structurally sound so we are not conceding goals as well.

"There will be a definite passion – not just from me but the team I’ll bring with me off the pitch. We’re all very people orientated so I like to think we will bond very well with people here.”

Nelson admitted he was surprised Lewes were looking at Glebe’s level of the non-league game. But he said he was given a good grilling in the interview process to make sure he was the right choice.

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“Through conversations with John (Peel) and some of the other directors I could feel there was something special going on here – not just on the pitch but off it as well,” Nelson said.

“We spoke at length for the first time and then I had another interview.

"That was intense but it’s good because they were being very thorough and it seemed like we aligned on what they want from me on the pitch and off it.

“I got a real sense of community from it – it was quite impressive in terms of what the guys do here off the pitch and how that brings life to the ground and what ‘s done by the fans.”

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Nelson said: “We look at people first, we're all people we all have a story, we try to make sure we help people on and off the pitch and see how we can impact their lives through football."

He added: “It will be a quick learning curve but i've got people with me who can support me.”

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