Bromley boss Neil Smith: We have to make sure we kick on and don't stand still

Sunday 29th April 2018

BROMLEY manager Neil Smith reflects on the clubs best ever season in their 125-year history.

The Ravens finished their third campaign dining at the top table of non-league campaign at a personal best of ninth-place on 70 points.

Bromley boss Neil Smith has guided the club to their
highest ever finish in their 125-year history.
Photo: Edmund Boyden

They missed out on a place in the Vanarama National League play-offs by just three points and suffered a painful humiliating 5-2 defeat at midtable finishers Maidenhead United yesterday.

“Listen, for us to take this season to the last game of the season, to try to achieve anything, has been immense,” said Smith.

“Could we have done it a lot easier, yes we could have!  For us to year on year improve, we’ve improved again finishing ninth with 70 points, eight points more than we had last year, with a new team with virtually everyone leaving at the end of the season and we have a trip to Wembley, I want the boys to be remembered for the right reasons and that was because of their team spirt and sticking together.  I’m not going to take it on one game.”

Bromley can now reflect and prepare for their FA Buildbase Trophy Final tie against Brackley Town at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 20 May (16:15).

Brackley finished in third-place in the Vanarama National League North table on 80 points from their 42 league games, 11 points adrift of champions Salford City, who will be playing Bromley for the first time next season in the top-flight.

Brackley will have home advantage in the play-off semi-finals and Smith will be keen to watch them ahead of their meeting at the iconic Wembley Stadium.

National League North is regarded to be stronger than it’s South equivalent but the Ravens have defeated Blyth Spartans and Spennymoor Town from this division en-route to Wembley.

“We can’t go in there with the same attitude as we came in yesterday,” said Smith, who has to keep his squad ticking over during the period of inactivity before their big day.

“We can’t take anything for lightly, as much as we needed to win. I didn’t want to get beaten like that and likewise it will only be a good day if we get a result at Wembley.

“I’ve got to make sure the boys get over this very quickly and get our full focus on the one game that we’ve got left at the end of the season.

“We’ve got to make sure that we don’t over do it.  Likewise we can’t give them too much time off.  They’ve had a hell of a season and there’s some tired people out there, not just physically but mentally and I’ve got to make sure we’re sharp and ready for May 20th.”

Smith has pulled off a miracle to get little old Bromley to within a shout of winning promotion in to League Two with promoted champions Macclesfield Town.

Bromley have finished above clubs like Wrexham, Dagenham & Redbridge, Leyton Orient, Eastleigh, Hartlepool United and Maidstone United, all with bigger budgets and bigger crowds and fans are proud of their team this season.

The challenge for Smith now is to make Bromley a force next season and to keep star players like 21-goal attacking talent Louis Dennis, who has enjoyed his best season at Hayes Lane and 20-goal midfielder Josh Rees.

Only one player, captain and fans’ favourite, Jack Holland has re-signed a new contract for next season.

Smith added: “What stood out for me was how strong everybody is. Any one team at any one stage could go on.  Look at Macclesfield, who would’ve had them as the favourites to go up automatically?

“For us to beat Leyton Orient at home 6-1 earlier on in the season and then go and do it against Hartlepool and we’ve finished above these teams just shows you how strong this division is getting.

“It’s getting more and more professional, less teams are part-time, more are professional. There’s so much money in some of the big club’s that are in this division so yes it’s going to be tough. We’ve withstood it and we’ve held our own.

“We’ve got to make sure we kick on and don’t stand still.”

Visit Bromley’s website:

Bromley  v  Brackley Town
The Buildbase FA Trophy Final
Sunday 20 May 2018
Kick Off 4:15pm
at Wembley Stadium, Wembley, Middlesex HA9 0WS