Sunday 12th June 2005

Clearing debts was a big Deal for Hares

DEAL TOWN manager Derek Hares is delighted the Kent League club have cleared their debts and can look forward to a brighter future, writes Stephen McCartney.

And in an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk Hares is close to making up to four new signings by the end of the month.

"Obviously we've had two seasons where the club has really tried to put themselves back in the black," Hares said.

"What we've had to do is take a little bit of a backwards step with the team, but this year we can move forward a little bit.

"All I know is the club were a bit in the red a couple of years ago but we've turned it around now.

"We've had to watch our budget, which has affected the team - it's no good spending money that you haven't got."

Hares praised the club's chairman Dave Saunders and his directors for turning around the club's financial difficulties.

"We've got the same chairman but the other directors have worked hard over the last few years to turn things around," Hares praised.

"Our main aim is to get a new clubhouse - anything we have been making has gone into that, as that is the future of the club."

Like many managers in Kent football, Hares is keeping his transfer targets close to his chest, but he admitted he is on the lookout for a striker.

Despite financial limitations last season, Deal Town went the furthest than any other Kent League side in the FA Vase.  You will recall, the club won the competition under Tommy Sampson at Wembley Stadium in 2000 but the club had a much bigger budget then.

"We are definitely improving," Hares admits.  "Last year we got to the last 32 of the FA Vase, the furthest team from Kent and no-one expected us to do that.

"We had a bad two months in February and March, where we were in midtable in January, we had games in hand on teams around us but we didn't take advantage.

"We lost ground but picked up later on in the season, winning at Erith Town, Slade Green and Sevenoaks Town and drew the last game of the season at Thamesmead Town - but it was those two months that let us down."

However, Hares couldn't put his finger on the problem of poor home form, as he admitted his best performances were on the road.

"All our best performances - except from our win at home to Maidstone United - were away from home," he reflected.

"We don't know the reason why - maybe we relax a bit more away from home - but we want to do well at home for the supporters."

Without making any predictions on their fortunes next season, Hares did add: "All I want to say is we're looking to improve.  We would like to finish in the top half of the table and if we can do that, it will be another improvement."

Quitting the club was never on Hares' mind last season as he has the backing of his playing staff.

"The players have been fantastic supporting me.  We had some good games but some we should have won but lost, but overall there's a good atmosphere at the club.

"There's a lot of people at Deal who have worked hard.  It hasn't been easy for them trying to keep the club going, but there are signs now that the club is moving in the right direction."