Personally this season has been a learning curve for myself and ultimately for AC London, having said that we do strive for excellence therefore we do not want to make the same mistakes twice, says Prince Choudary
AC LONDON manager/owner/chairman/founder/player Prince Choudary says he is considering stepping down as manager after a tough debut season in the Kent Invicta League.
The club began their home campaign back in September at the 16,000 all-seater Crystal Palace Sports Stadium but now play their games at Merland Rise, the home of Banstead Athletic.
They sit in 11th-place in the Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League table, having won 10, drawn 10 and lost nine of their league games and face a fixture back-log due to a number of home games being postponed through waterlogged pitches.
AC London have not been too far away from a line of controversies during their first season in non-league football but in this interview with Choudary, he admits that he has learnt from his mistakes and the club wants to move forward with a more experienced man in charge of the team.
“The life of a Young football manager is defined by emotional turmoil and suffering,” he said.
“Though, one thing I have in common with other managers is that we all love the game so much. That's why we put ourselves through all that! It's a difficult job but it's a great job!
“After a long hard season drawing to a close, I am considering stepping down as manager. I have thought a great deal about it. I feel that it is the right time as next year with a smaller budget we want to create something away from the pitch that generates the income, that will secure the club’s future.
“The club's ambition has always been to develop a FA Charter Standard youth Academy which will consist of under 8’s all the way up to under 21's and a ladies team.
“I've set the wheels in motion and I can confirm that talks are at an advanced stage and we hope all teams will be located at the same site, which will be at the Crystal Palace National Sports Arena.
“Being a manager at the age of 20 in non-league is a surreal experience and it's something that has changed me profoundly.
“My main aim was to win more than we lose and finish in the top half, suffice to say we are on course for that so therefore I am content with our season.
“I hope to start my UEFA B license soon in order to bring more to the club and as I hope to continue my voluntary work with Crystal Palace Academy.
“I will step down as manager when someone who will be capable of taking AC London to the next step becomes available. Someone with more experience than myself, ideally someone with plenty of non-league experience and a proven track record.
“I want the new manager to utilise the current crop of players, add a few older heads and play to our strengths to get us the results to match our performances.
“I am looking for stability so hopefully someone who can commit long term and can see our vision, drive, potential and ultimately our dream.
“Personally this season has been a learning curve for myself and ultimately for AC London, having said that we do strive for excellence therefore we do not want to make the same mistakes twice.
“Next season has to be different! This season we have had a squad with an average age of 20, we have kept our registration secretary extremely busy as we have registered over 75 players! Our oldest player is only 28.
“Next season we hope to get a few experienced players in, alongside an experienced manager. Stability will be the key to success next season!
“Currently, we have the fifth best defence having only conceded 42 in the league and as a technical playing side we have to be scoring more! That's the difference between the top sides and ourselves.
“Unfortunately we had to leave Crystal Palace Arena mainly due to facilities unavailable which are compulsory requirement at this level nonetheless we hope to be back at the Crystal Palace Arena in due course.
“Moving out to Banstead was the only option available, the weather hasn't been helpful regardless Banstead FC and Terry Malloy have been fantastic to us, we have had some great moments at that ground.
“We are set to have our most exciting pre-season to date. I've organised a tournament in Portugal for the boys as well as games against Portsmouth FC, West Ham FC and Crystal Palace FC. I am also finalising a few friendlies against teams from higher non leagues.
“We will start training as soon as this season ends, as our training base was also held at Crystal Palace Arena, since we left we stopped training. The boys haven't trained properly for around 6 months, yet we have always been a difficult team to play against for the opposition.
“I am very excited about next season! With a new manager, new players, good training schedule and a fantastic pre-season under our belt hopefully all the noise we make will be positive and be on the pitch!
“Despite many people envying our movement, the truth is three years ago AC London was playing in a youth league and I was playing in goal in our first season as a football club. Playing on park pitches where we had to clear up dog’s mess, sticks and stones as warm up. Three years later we are set to finish in the top half of one of the best step 6 leagues around. The rise has been remarkable and long many it continue.
“The rise of Sheppey has also been remarkable. The first time we played them this season we were 8th and they were 9th - there was little difference on the pitch but off the pitch the difference was staggering. The fan base, the facilities, everything! They have just won the Kent Senior Trophy and are set to get promoted.
“I am really happy for Matt Smith (Sheppey United chairman) who has been of brilliant help towards us, very supportive to myself and my club.
“This is one of the reasons I want to step down and focus on the other aspects of running a football club. I want to work closely with Matt as I want to strive for excellence and be like Sheppey or even better!
“We have made mistakes in the past but as a football club we will learn and continue to grow and one day we hope to be like Sheppey, Glebe or Bearsted with a massive committee, owning our ground with a fantastic set up and fan base.
“The committee from the league has also been fantastic help but special thanks to Crystal Palace Football Club manager Alan Pardew who's always a phone call away and has invited my team down to their first team training session next week!
“We have had a lot of interest from players this season unfortunately I haven't had the time to reply to all nonetheless we will soon be holding trials so I recommend players to get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Players who know how to play football and want to be part of our movement.”
AC London welcome thirteenth-placed Forest Hill Park to Merland Rise on Monday night and have nine games to fit in between now and the end of the season.
Visit AC London’s website: www.aclondon.co.uk
AC London v Forest Hill Park
Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League
Monday 18th April 2016
Kick Off 7:45pm
at Merland Rise, Tadworth, Surrey KT20 5JG