I want to personally thank Tony Russell for giving me the opportunity to be involved in a very exciting time for Cray Wanderers, says player-assistant manager Joe Vines

Wednesday 28th June 2017

JOE VINES says non-league footballers will have to adapt to playing on more artificial surfaces.

Vines, 36, has returned to Cray Wanderers where he will be player assistant manager to manager Tony Russell.

The central defender first signed for Cray Wanderers from Cray Valley Paper Mills when he was aged 20.

“I’ve always had a great relationship with the club officials, supporters and chairman Gary Hillman,” said Vines.

“Having enjoyed a short spell with Tony Russell where we realised our approach to football was similar, we have stayed in touch and he asked me to help support him in the dressing room and on the bench this year.”

The highly-respected Vines picked up a championship winning medal for Ashford United, clinching the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division title on the last day of last season.

“Ending the season at Ashford was unbelievable,” added Vines.

“The team that Danny Lye put together was full of character, grit and determination and for me I thrive in that sort of atmosphere.  I am very grateful for Danny bringing me into the club and being so welcoming.”

Russell has been searching for a number two after recently having Ray Powell and then Paul Lorraine fulfilling that role.

“Management is something for the future,” added Vines, who lives in Sidcup and is a recruitment specialist.

“Work commitments mean that an assistant role fits perfectly for me at this time.”

Cray Wanderers’ landlords Bromley are laying an artificial pitch at Hayes Lane this summer, which will be ready for Crystal Palace’s visit to play Neil Smith’s side on 29 July.

Vines has experience of playing on an artificial surface at Ashford United last season and he was asked the difference between that and playing on grass.

“An artificial pitch means developing a style that works but being understanding that it may not work away from home, so having a plan B and C is crucial,” said Vines.

“Tony is knowledgeable about how to work the angles to get the footballers on the ball so the challenge is replicating that at some of the unfortunate club’s that are not blessed with a flat surface.

“The game was played on grass, for me. The 3G surface brings obvious advantages, for example, all-year round play, an opportunity to return the investment etc, but the surface, in my opinion, can sometimes be unforgiving, so we will need to consider the type of training we undertake and how we allow players to recover from games. 

“This is the way the game will move, so we need to move with the times.”

When asked about his own personal aspirations for the season ahead in The Bostik South, Vines said: “Personally, I want to test myself against some very good sides, which I think the South has.  I’ve tasted football both sides of the Bostik and in my opinion the South is a more competitive League.  It will be good to see if we can mix it with the favourites and compete.

“I want to personally thank Tony Russell for giving me the opportunity to be involved in a very exciting time for Cray Wanderers.”

Meanwhile, Bostik South rivals Greenwich Borough have today unveiled the signing of former Ebbsfleet United central defender Mark Phillips, 34.

Visit Cray Wanderers’ website: www.cray-wanderers.com