Monday 22nd December 2003
Everyone will be given a fair crack of the whip, says new Bromley manager Walker
New Bromley manager, Alan Walker takes charge of his first training session at Hayes Lane on Tuesday evening, and insists he will give all the players at Hayes Lane a chance to impress him, writes Stephen McCartney.

But Walker’s CV is very impressive.  The forty-four year old was born in Mossley, Lancashire, and now lives in Gillingham, Kent.  He works for the Kent Football Association and is based throughout the county where he teaches people how to coach football.  He is one of the top coach educators in the country and is also a national coach for the Football Association.

His managerial pedigree cannot be disputed, as he has won championships at Dr Martens League clubs, Fisher Athletic and Sittingbourne, and was on course to land the eastern division title at Tonbridge Angels this season before financial cut backs forced him to quit the Longmead Stadium outfit on Wednesday 17 December after three weeks of uncertainty about his future.

Walker said: “I left Tonbridge Angels on the Wednesday morning due to financial reasons.  They had a massive budget cut as their main sponsor, Brewers pulled out.”

Before the financial problems struck Longmead Stadium, Walker led the Angels to an impressive run of seventeen wins and only one draw in their first eighteen games in the Dr Martens League Eastern Division, and clearly favourites for promotion.

But at the end of November, Tonbridge Angels supporters read in the local press, that money was desperately needed to keep Walker, his management team and key players.

After leaving Tonbridge, Walker met up with ambitious Bromley chairman Jerry Dolke and vice-chairman Paul Greenwood, and was appointed Bromley manager last Friday.

Walker said: “Obviously I was very impressed when I met Jerry Dolke and Paul Greenwood, but having played against Bromley on numerous occasions I know what a big club it is.  I’ve spoken to various people who know more about the club and I have been very impressed about the club so far.”

So far, two people have made the switch from Longmead Stadium to Bromley’s Clive Christian Stadium sponsored home in Hayes Lane.

Walker revealed: “Lloyd Hume was my player/assistant manager at Tonbridge and has joined me at Bromley.  He is an ex professional, and was my apprentice at Gillingham.  He is aged 30 and is an UEFA B coach.  He is an excellent motivator and is very knowledgeable about football.  He has won the Dr Martens Eastern Division twice before, and has followed me everywhere.  He played for me at Fisher Athletic, Sittingbourne and at Tonbridge.”

Also making the switch is Tonbridge skipper, Peter Overton.  Walker added: “Peter Overton was my captain at Tonbridge.  He is aged 29, and is a very good player.  Again, he has played for Dover Athletic, Sittingbourne, Ashford Town, Tonbridge Angels, Fisher Athletic and Welling United.  He is a central midfielder and can also play at centre half or centre forward.”

Walker played down the prospect of the title chasing Tonbridge side moving lock stock and barrel to Bromley – for the moment at least.

He revealed:  “I will be looking at the squad we have at Bromley and see who is good enough and who isn’t good enough.

“My aim at Bromley is to just do as well as I can possibly do.  We want to get promoted this season.  I don’t care who I put on the pitch.  It’s a fresh start from now, and the Bromley players have got to start impressing me.

“All I will be looking for is the players to give 100%.  I am fair, and players will get a fair crack of the whip, but players have to prove their worth to me.  There has been rumours flying around that I am taking the whole of the Tonbridge side with me, and that’s not the case.”

But he added: “All the players at Tonbridge have indicated they want to come to me.  But there is no point in doing that until I know what I have at Bromley.  If they are good enough they will still be at Bromley.  My job is, however, to build a team for Bromley FC, wherever they come from Tonbridge or anywhere else.”

Walker’s was going to asses his new squad on Saturday, but Bromley’s trip to top of the table Lewes was postponed early in the morning due to a waterlogged pitch.  But although disappointed the game was called off he was looking forward to see his new team play, he will be able to run the rule over the 25-man squad when they train on Tuesday.

Walker's first game in charge is the Boxing Day clash against old rivals, Dulwich Hamlet at Hayes Lane (3pm).

Walker said: “It’s going to be tough as Dulwich are doing well in the league.  I am expecting a lot of commitment from my boys.  It’s going to take a little while to get to know the players and see where, and if, we need to make changes.”

The Bromley job is his first in the Ryman League, but Walker knows enough about the Ryman League having played for Walton & Hersham in the Premier Division, and playing against Ryman League teams.   He added: “I know a lot of the players in the Ryman League, and I am really looking forward to the challenge.”

Walker said: “I think there is a difference between the Ryman and Dr Martens League’s.  Tonbridge played Lewes in the FA Cup earlier in the season and drew 1-1 and they went out to a last minute goal at Lewes.   We played Horsham in a pre-season friendly away and I took the second string down to play them and won 3-0. 

The quarter-final draw of the Kent Senior Cup has ironically paired Bromley against Tonbridge Angels, but Walker is relishing the clash against his former club at Hayes Lane.  He said:  “I left Tonbridge seven points clear at the top of the table.  I was given a budget two years ago and didn’t go above it.  It’s not my fault I’ve had to go, and I am not blaming anyone, it’s just one of those things that a sponsor pulled out.  I have a lot of time for the fans, they backed me 100% and a lot of time for the people who run Tonbridge.  It’s a good club, unfortunately, circumstances didn’t allow me to carry on.”

Walker revealed he is working to the same budget at Hayes Lane as former managers Stuart McIntyre, who brought success to Hayes Lane with a top six finish and the London Senior Cup last season, and Eddie Saunders.

He said: “The budget at Bromley is very competitive, but it’s no bigger than it was before.  The chairman, Jerry Dolke gave me the figures of all the players and I am working with the same figures.

“I am pleased to join such a good club, and I am looking forward to bring success to Bromley.” said Walker.

Bromley  vs  Dulwich Hamlet, Boxing Day, Friday 26 December (3pm), at The Clive Christian Stadium, Hayes Lane, Bromley

Molesey  vs  Bromley, Thursday 1 January 2004 (3pm), at 412 Walton Road, West Molesey, Surrey