In the uncertain game of football management, it is good to have an individual in charge who has a glass-half full mentality. Thankfully for Nortel, Lee McCartney is one such man.
It has been a challenging time at the Monkstown Avenue club, with a regular changeover of managers over the past couple of seasons, but McCartney and his players are working hard to steady the ship.
Undoubtedly the most concerning period came at the close of the previous campaign, when they found themselves involved in a relegation battle, but to their relief, emerged a place above the drop zone.
This season may not have started in the most blistering fashion, either, with Nortel sitting bottom with four points from their first five games, but McCartney has every faith that his team will not find themselves with the same toil they had last time around.
He told The Park: “I’m always positive, but I am more positive than I was last year. When I took over around December last year, we couldn’t get any players in because of the 10-game rule. We only lost two players over the summer, but we have brought eight or nine in.
“Last season, we were running a tight ship with a squad of about 11, and padding it out. But this season is different.”
Squad numbers aside, McCartney has seen several other things things that have helped fuel his infectious positivity. Take the mindset of his players, for one.
The Nortel boss continued: “The players seemed to be losing games before they left the changing room. It was all about getting that belief and attitude right, and once we sorted that out, I knew we would be alright.
“We had finished fifth in the season before, so I think was a bit of a shock to everyone to find ourselves near the bottom of the table. We are not getting carried away, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t see why won’t be up there challenging again.”
The thing with this season is, it is difficult to see who won’t be a contender in the Premier Division. Every weekend, there is at least one ‘shock’ result, and no team has yet to break away from the back.
This level of unpredictability is something that all teams are potentially subject to - including Nortel themselves (their manager insists a 3-0 defeat to Kilmore Rec was a game they should have won) - but on the whole, McCartney, typically, believes this is a good thing.
He said: “Ards Rangers, Albert Foundry, Immaculata and Crumlin Star have all lost games - and they are the teams everyone expects to be up there.
“The way Downpatrick and Crumlin United have come up into the Premier and gone right up the table has given everybody a real boost. We beat Crumlin United when they were top and we were bottom, so that tells you all you need to know. I think it’s great for the league.”
With a team of his own signings in place, not to mention several members of the Nortel reserve team he was previously in charge of, McCartney is confident they can make big strides this season.
He added: “There is no negativity at the club, and everybody is working hard.
“The home games are going to be key for everyone. If we can put together a run of home wins, we will see where that takes us.”