Wednesday 25th May 2005

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Everything is geared towards success

THERE is always a breath of fresh air around football clubs at this time of the year, and the same can be said at Tonbridge Angels, writes Stephen McCartney.

Despite relegation from the Ryman Premier League last month, player-manager Tony Dolby remains upbeat for their Ryman League Division One campaign, which gets underway on Saturday 20th August.

The only set-back Dolby has encountered since the last game of the season was losing goalkeeper Jamie Turner to Nationwide South outfit Welling United but Dolby admitted this isn't the time of the year to talk to players.

"Obviously I'm in discussions with certain players that I'd like to bring to the squad," he revealed.  

"Jamie Turner has left to go to Welling as everybody knows but people are a bit reluctant to commit themselves at this early stage of the summer and they often wait until they get back from their holiday's before committing to anything."

But searching for a new goalkeeper is high on the agenda for Dolby.

"I've spoken to a couple of goalkeepers and something will come sooner rather than later," Dolby reveals.

"We'll be keeping the bulk of the squad, everyone's indicating that they want to be part of what we are trying to build here."

Former Arsenal, Bromley, Sutton United and Tonbridge Angels goalkeeper Nick Sullivan has taken over the chairmanship of the Avavan Longmead Stadium outfit from Paul Dainty and as a member of the coaching set-up last season, the new chief knows a lot about Dolby's credentials and those of the current squad.

"We've both got similar ideas, we are both keen on youth and bring young players through, making it a friendly club to be at and play for and obviously be successful." said the manager.

Dolby said: "We are starting from the bottom and build up," as he revealed the extent of the ground improvements at the club's Avavan Longmead Stadium.

New windows are being put into the clubhouse, a new bar, new decor, new carpets being laid, and most importantly advertising boards are being erected around the pitch to help with the club's promotion push.

"I am confident that we will be a successful non-league set-up and I have no doubt about that," insists the Chislehurst based manager.

And Dolby wants to repay the faith shown in him by Sullivan after losing their Ryman Premier League status along with Dover Athletic.

"Nick knows what I'm trying to achieve," he said.  "We both have similar ideas on how to run the football club.  

"Nick knows I'm tactically aware and have a good background and knowledge in football.  I am confident in my own ability as a manager and the right man for the job and I'll have to prove that this season."

The Angels aim for the season?  "Promotion" insisted the former Millwall man.  "Simple as that"  And how will they achieve that? "By keeping the bulk of the squad, making a few adjustments here and there and learning from last year."

Dolby hopes Sullivan will be able to muck in with the coaching, as well as being suited and booted inside the boardroom on matchdays.

"Hopefully Nick will have some input in coaching but being chairman is a big role and time consuming for him," Dolby said.

"We will all pitch in and do our bit and hopefully we'll have own formula to bring success to the fans.

"We have got big plans for the club, it's not going to be easy but there's a lot of hard work and drive."

"Nick was very close to the team at the back end of last year and knew it wasn't easy.  He knew that it wasn't easy for the players with talk of change but I think the most important thing is we are striving forward now and are not going to look back.

"I think everything is geared towards success and what we are trying to achieve, everything's in our favour and hopefully that will reflect on the pitch." promised Dolby.

The Angels, however, have confirmed five pre-season friendlies so far, and are in the process of confirming details for a game against Fisher Athletic.

Their game against Sutton United at the Avavan Longmead Stadium has been brought forward seven days to Tuesday 12th July (7:45pm) before they make the short trip to Greatness Park to play Sevenoaks Town on Saturday 23rd. 

The Angels then host Southern Leaguers Aveley on Tuesday 26th before they make the short trip to Culverden Stadium as they defend the Courier Cup against Kent League neighbours Tunbridge Wells.

Dolby's men then travel to Ryman Premier League side Folkestone Invicta on Saturday 6th August.

It is expected more matches will be arranged.