Saturday 15th May 2004

Burns looks to strengthen Tonbridge

Newly-appointed director of football takes over as reserve team boss

TONBRIDGE Angels' newly-appointed director of football, Alan Burns has spoken out to clarify what his role at the club entails, writes Jez Durrant.

Burns' appointment is part of a number of changes that have recently come into place at Longmead Stadium, which have also included chairman Paul Dainty taking up a vice-chairman's role but concentrating on first team matters.

As Tonbridge look forward to playing in the Isthmian (Ryman) League Premier Division next season due to re-structuring of the non-league game, Burns said that since he taken up his position, which has responsibility for all football below first team level, there had been some misinterpretation about his remit.

Speaking to the Kent & Sussex Courier, Burns, who works in an unpaid capacity, said: "I am a qualified FA coach to Level 2, but the time pre-season training starts I will be Lever 3/EUFA B qualified.  Next year I will be working towards obtaining my UEFA A License.

"Therefore as a coach I will be one of the more senior qualified coaches at the club.  I operate two companies, one an IT agency business called Interactive Analysis and a football coaching business called Soccernet.ac.  The latter business coaches young school children in the Tonbridge and Medway areas and as part of my appointment will feature my association with Tonbridge Angels, thereby promoting the club at junior school level, something that as head of football development, I feel strongly about as surely that is where the long-term future of the club lies."

One of Burns new roles will be manager and coach of the reserve team taking over Derek Moore and Bob Pittaway.

He thanked the pair for their efforts but said now was a time for a different direction, adding: "It was felt that, in agreement with first team manager (Tony Dolby) and directors, we wanted to bring a fresh approach to the reserve team for next season.

"Therefore, I shall be taking over as manager/coach of the reserves for next season assisted by Mike D'Arcy.  Mike is a qualified FA coach in line with club policy and has more than ten years loyal service with the club and indeed some of the young players he has coached over that period have made their first and reserve team debuts this season."

Burns said the aim of the reserves was to be a breeding ground for the senior side with players pushing the first team squad for places.

A number of players have come through the youth and reserve teams to play at senior level and Burns said he hoped to continue this and increase competition for places in the Ryman Premier Division next season.

Plans for redeveloping the younger players in the club were also in place.

Burns added: "The future development of the youth section is continuing apace from the excellent foundations we already had in place.

"Next season we hope to have gained the FA Standard Charter mark as a club which will also mean that by the end of the year most if not all coaches will be FA qualified.

"We also have several new initiatives to improve facilities and equipment levels throughout the club in order to make Tonbridge Angels Youth as one of the premier youth set ups in the area thereby ensuring a strong supply of some of the best talent around that will be able to showcase their abilities hopefully in the future with the Angel's first team."

Burns called for patience from supporters and said that the board and management teams were all working together to put the club in a stronger position.

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