Jon Newby, 45, former Liverpool player and FA Youth Cup Champion shares his favourite non-league moment as well as the challenges he faced throughout his career, both playing and managing at all levels of the English pyramid.

Beginning his career with four appearances for Liverpool, Newby, known for his lightning pace, was loaned out to Crewe Alexandra, Sheffield United and then eventually securing a permanent deal to Bury in 2001. 

When asked at which club made him feel most comfortable, where he could play his football to his best? He picked his time at Bury above all others.

 “When I first signed for Bury, they had a manager called Andy Preece, he gave me confidence and he knew what made me tick.

“He and his assistant at the time, they kind of knew how to give you confidence and how to make you feel good about yourself, I was very much a confidence based player, so that worked best for me.”

Originally from Warrington, having made his 100th appearance for Bury, he would move to multiple different league teams including the likes of Southport, Morecambe and Northwich Victoria before making Colwyn Bay his home in 2011. 

At the time (2010/11 season) the club were in the Northern Premier League and were favourites to get relegated. Having surpassed all expectations, they reached the playoff final which saw them take on FC United, which they won 1-0. 

“I scored in the game. But it wasn’t the goal or anything like that, that gave me the feeling. When the final whistle blew, even if it was for only 5 or 10 seconds, that 5 to 10 seconds was without a doubt the best feeling I ever had in football, not just non-league”, he says. 

In November 2011, he was appointed player manager of ‘The Seagulls’, following the sudden departure of former manager, David Challinor. 

When discussing the challenges he faced at the North Wales club he said: “In non-league, particularly at Colwyn Bay, we had myself and an assistant who worked nights as well, so during the day he was asleep making it very difficult to bounce any of these ideas off.

“You are kind of on your own as well as managing the financial situation at the club.”

“The location was difficult to attract players, so if you were getting players in from Liverpool or Manchester, we would have to get three or four in, so they could all travel together because otherwise it wasn’t worth the while on the wages they were getting.”

Since 2014, he has been working with the Liverpool F.C. Academy, first with the under-9 and under-12 age groups before becoming head of the under-11s in 2017; he is now part of the club’s scouting network.

Having played the majority of his career outside of the top division, Newby believes that playing in the lower leagues gives players an experience like no other. 

“It’s probably what helped me the most.”

“Nowadays if you look at the U18’s and U21’s, at the academy level, is it the real game? I’m not sure.

“You don’t see much tackling, you see a lot of tactical play.

“It’s different for every player, but I think that dropping into the lower leagues gives you a real taste of what football is about.

“It certainly toughens up players, it makes them see the real world of football, what they are going to have to experience not playing at the top level”, he said. 

It is clear from speaking to him that the non-league is held in special regard, and like so many others already within the community, would encourage others to get involved. 

“No matter what level your team is at, whether that is at non-league or in the Premier League, that is kind of your team, and you support that team because that is where you feel a sense of belonging.

“Personally, I think that non-league football is great, there’s excitement, it’s a totally different world, to some fans it is probably a more realistic world. The more people that get involved with the non-league the better.”

Also currently involved with Bury F.C. On the board, Newby continues to share his football career knowledge at multiple levels. 

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