Friday 19th August 2005

Rivals shocked with Toms departure


We are only six days into the new season but Kent football's managerial merry-go-round claimed its first casualty today, writes Stephen McCartney.

Whitstable Town are currently bottom of the Kentish Observer League table, which after only two games is a false position, but manager Matt Toms "has left the club with immediate effect."

The Oystermen crashed to a 6-2 defeat at wealthy club Beckenham Town in the opening game of the season last Saturday and that was followed up by a home defeat (3-2) to local rivals Deal Town in midweek.

However, speaking briefly after their clash with Deal Town, there were no hints that he was about to leave the club.

"We need to tighten up at the back and stop conceeding sloppy goals," he told the club's website www.whitstabletownfc.co.uk

The club, however, today issued the following statement, without explaining why Toms has left the club.

"Whitstable Town manager Matt Toms has left the club with immediate effect.

"We wish Matt all the best for the future and would like to thank him for his contribution to Whitstable Town during his time as manager.

"Club captain Marc Seager has been asked to take over as temporary manager for Saturday's fixture.

"We wish Marc and his staff and all the players good luck for the game.

"There will be no further statement issued by the club."

The manager of tomorrow's opponents, Tunbridge Wells, learnt about Toms' shock departure courtesy of www.kentishfootball.co.uk at 6pm tonight.

And Kevin Metcalf admitted he was saddened by the news, but wishes Toms all the very best for the future.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk Metcalf said: "I'm upset about that as I like Matt and class him as a footballing friend.  But I'm glad he's done that before our game and not after.

"I wish him all the best.  I am sad and I am sure it won't take him long to get back into management."

It always appears players do that bit extra for a new man at the helm, initially, but Metcalf is fully aware of any backlash from the Oystermen.

"It will still be the same professional attitude from us and the players and we'll be looking to go there for three points," he added.

Metcalf's side, however, go into the game sitting nicely behind Beckenham Town and Maidstone United in third place with a 100% record from their opening two games, beating Hythe Town (2-1) at Culverden Stadium on the opening day, and winning 2-0 at Greenwich Borough in midweek.

"Two tricky games, I'm pleased," he said.  "We knew Hythe would be a tough test and Greenwich Borough are an unknown side as they are rebuilding.  I'm pleased with the six points."

Metcalf, however, will be without four players for their trip to North Kent, but he has received a boost with news that highly-rated goalkeeper, Matt Bromby (knee), one of the best in Kent League football, has been given the go-ahead to resume "light training".

"It's amazing we've got four injuries from our two games.  That's why we said we would carry a big squad," the Tenterden based manager said.

Martin Anderson (knee), Lee Porter (shoulder), Gavin Williams (knee) and Danny Barham (ankle) watch the action from the sidelines.

"On the plus note Matt (Bromby) was given the all-clear from the specialist yesterday to start light training as of next week."

When asked how long the Tonbridge based stopper will be out of action, Metcalf replied: "still out for a while."

Both clubs embark on their FA Cup campaigns the following weekend in the preliminary round.  Whitstable Town host Fleet Town and Tunbridge Wells travel to Worthing to tackle Littlehampton Town.  This game, however, will be on Sunday (2pm).

However, Toms was unavailable to comment on the situation, despite leaving a voice message on his mobile phone at 7:19pm tonight.

Whitstable Town v Tunbridge Wells
Kentish Observer League
Saturday 20th August 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at The Belmont, Belmont Road, Whitstable