Promotion 'a must' for ambitious Oldham
Lee Spencer, one half of the former Salford City Reds double-act now in charge at Oldham, will be satisfied with nothing less than seeing Roughyeds win promotion from Championship One in his first season at Whitebank.
As head coach Scott Naylor's No 2 and right-hand man, 50-year-old Spencer says he will adopt a hands-on approach and act as go-between for the players in their relationships with the boss.
"I'll be the father figure," said the man known fondly as "Spanner" --- a broad hint that he will be very heavily involved indeed in the nuts and bolts of Oldham's bid to lift themselves out of the sport's third tier at the seventh attempt.
Spencer had nine years at The Willows, working variously with scholarship, under-18s and under-20s and spending a lot of time alongside Naylor when the former Bradford Bulls centre had charge of the City Reds reserves. Both men have built a reputation for speaking their mind, telling it as it is and pulling no punches in their efforts to improve their players individually and to take their teams upwards and onwards.
Oldham fans will be banking everything on the success of a partnership made at The Willows and now preparing to take Whitebank by storm.
Said club chairman Chris Hamilton: "They complement each other and they bring a wealth of experience, key ingredients in any coaching combination. "Each will have strong opinions and each will speak his mind.
But they also have a very healthy dose of mutual respect and understanding and that's a great starting point for any partnership.
"We hope it will be the start of a long and fruitful relationship with the club."
Naylor said of Spencer: "He's a quality person and a quality coach. He did a fantastic job last season with Salford's under-20s.
When I heard he was available I couldn't get on the phone quickly enough because I didn't want anyone else to beat me to him.”
Spencer said of Naylor: "He's highly motivated and his attention to detail is outstanding. He's honest, blunt and has a dry humour.
He doesn't hide behind excuses. "He says what he means. I like to think we are similar in that regard. "My forte is working with players at the coal face. Scott is big on tactics, I'm more technical."
He's also ambitious. Explaining how he was attracted by the Oldham job, Spencer said his every career move had been "progressive rather than regressive" and to become an assistant to a head coach was a promotion.
He went on: "I'm 50, but I don't feel it. I played at Folly Lane until I was 41.
“I've been coaching for 26 years and I'm just as enthusiastic now as I was at the start when the late Don Preston's revolutionary ideas on coaching blew me away and inspired me to devote much of my life to it.
"It's no secret that I would love to be a head coach myself one day."
Oldham, he said, were building a new-look squad which he firmly believed would be strong enough to win a revamped Championship One in 2013.
"We've signed a lot of young players from Super League clubs who are keen to come to a club like Oldham to work in a first-team environment with a view to getting back into Super League on day.
"Everyone has to strive for goals. If we win the league in 2013 everyone will be queuing up for our players.
“The reward for a coach is to see a player fulfil his potential and go on to better things.
"I can't wait to meet the players for the first time soon. We'll see then if my enthusiasm rubs off on them. I think it will.
"I don't wish to be disrespectful to the club, but I've had nine years in a Super League club and I don't intend to drop my standards. We'll be setting standards of professionalism and insisting on personal pride in performance."