Our aim is to be cometitive in the top four or five this season, says Beckenham Town player-boss John-Paul Collier
BECKENHAM TOWN player-joint manager John-Paul Collier says he wants to break into the top four or five this season.
The 28-year-old joined the club from Ryman League Division One South side East Grinstead Town in the summer and will work alongside Jason Huntley at Eden Park Avenue this season.
The club were scheduled to open their new Southern Counties East Football League campaign with a trip to Ashford United next Saturday – but that fixture hangs in the balance.
Ashford United are trying to lay their new artificial pitch but that has been delayed due to Operation Stack, which has prevented materials reaching Homelands Stadium.
Last night, Hythe Town secretary Martin Giles emailed to say, “Next Saturday’s game between Ashford and Beckenham will be played at Reachfields.”
In response, Beckenham Town tweeted: “Becks Secretary Peter Palmer confirms no agreement has been reached to switching next Saturday’s match against Ashford United to Reachfields.”
When asked his thoughts on the game following Beckenham Town’s 3-0 defeat to Bromley on 27 July, Collier said: “It’s the first game of the season and they’re a team I think – and they’ll honestly say themselves - they’re going to be challenging to win the league.
“It’s a home game for them. They should have a big crowd. They’re playing Beckenham town, they could be playing anyone. They’re going to be expected to win the game and go out there and play well.
“There isn’t any pressure on us apart from we’re going to go there and try to win. I think it’s a good game to have.”
Beckenham Town will welcome newly-promoted local rivals AFC Croydon Athletic to Eden Park Avenue on Tuesday 11 August.
Collier said: “We won’t know anything about them. I’m not sure how much they know about us. To have them at home on a Tuesday night after, that’s good.”
Beckenham Town then make the trip down to Sussex to play Ringmer in The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round on Saturday 15 August (3:00pm).
“I was at East Grinstead a few years back and again at the end of last season, I know Ringmer as a team and as a club,” said Collier.
“Obviously we don’t know them much now but we’ll have a look at them and everyone wants to win, wants to do well in The FA Cup, don’t they?”
Collier joked: “We may pass our way to the final, who knows? Maybe not!
“You try to get as far as you can in The FA Cup. Everyone’s excited. You want a home trip but we get away, but I think we’re at home in the next round if we were to win.”
Collier is looking forward to working within a seven-man management team at Eden Park Avenue this term.
He said: “We’ve all come in and joined Jason Huntley and Jason Clews. It’s been really good. Everyone’s gelled really well. There’s seven of us in the management team all pulling together in the same direction and you can never have too many bodies.
“It’s really working well. We’ve had a massive squad of players trying to try to play for us, which is fantastic and it’s been brilliant. I’m really enjoying it.”
Beckenham Town underachieved last season and had to settle for a top nine finish last season and Collier is keen to put the club up to where it should be.
“I think this club, I looked at it before I came here and it’s pretty much been in or above around midtable, maybe just a little bit above and I think personally it’s a challenge for us to see can we do something?
“For me Erith & Belvedere, Greenwich Borough and Ashford, there the teams looking to win the league.
“Can we try and push? Can we be competitive with those sides and be in the top four or five? That’s our aim this season.”
But Collier just cannot wait to get going – and hopes the Ashford fixture saga is sorted out soon.
“I think everyone’s dying to go now. You play so many pre-season games. You have so many players. It’s so much effort to getting going and then finally your phone can calm down and you can get on with your life again and you can start playing and training and getting into it and everyone’s really excited.”
Midfield playmaker Collier, 28, was asked whether he’ll still be playing this season or will take up a position inside the technical area with Huntley and Clews.
He replied: “I’ll play as much. You know what it is. We’ve got enough people around us to allow myself to play if I need to.
“The playing will definitely slow down but as much as I can contribute to the team, if I feel like I’m doing well enough and the team are better with me – or if they’re better without me, we’ll just judge it like that.
“But in the future what we’re looking towards is I want to step aside and that’s what I’m doing now. Sometimes I’ll play, sometimes I won’t.”
Visit Beckenham Town’s website: www.beckenhamtownfc.co.uk