I want to get this club back to the Isthmian League, that’s my ultimate dream, just to get Croydon back to playing Isthmian football, says manager Liam Giles
CROYDON manager Liam Giles says his chairman has put pressure on him to win promotion from the Southern Counties East Football League First Division at the end of the season.
The Trams fell away last season and were in eighth-place in the table at the time of the abandonment in March due to Covid-19 but with no promotions or relegations below Step Three, four teams will be promoted at the end of this season.
The club had to switch their FA Vase First Qualifying Round tie to Glebe’s Foxbury Avenue ground in Chislehurst on Sunday and gave Sheppey United a scare in a 2-1 defeat.
Ernie Batten’s side will host Molesey in the Second Qualifying Round on Saturday 10 October after goals from strikers Junior Aikhionbare and his replacement Warren Mfula sealed the victory.
Croydon pulled a goal back through powerfully built striker Andy Somo, 21, with a couple of minutes to go and visiting keeper Tommy Taylor pulled off a brilliant save to prevent right-back Johnny Akoto taking the game to the lottery of a penalty shoot-out.
The Trams are next in action with another trip to Foxbury Avenue, this time as the away side to tackle Stansfeld on Tuesday 29 September (19:45).
“I’ll put pressure on myself, me and John Gladwin (my assistant), we’re very passionate, we kick every ball,” said Giles, who’s side have collected four points from their opening two league outings.
“Both being Croydon boys growing up through the youth teams here, it means a lot to us.
“In terms of the board, yes, obviously we’ve got that unique opportunity again this season with the four that go up. The pressure from them is clear, we need to get promotion and we believe we can do it. We’re the right people for the job and on that showing against Sheppey, we should be there or there abouts.”
Croydon used to be regular rivals to the likes of Bromley, Sutton United and Dulwich Hamlet, who have since climbed up to the top two tiers of non-league football, in the National League structure, while Croydon have slipped down to the tenth-tier of English football, Step Six in Non-League.
“You look around when I was young and playing in the youth teams at Croydon, I remember Croydon-Bromley, Croydon-Sutton, Croydon-Dulwich, those sides have pushed on and Croydon fell away for whatever reason.
“Croydon is a huge borough! To be playing at this level of football is upsetting to see but all we can do is do what we’re doing and get ourselves back to Step Five.
“There’s an awful lot of money being thrown around in Step Five.
“I want to get this club back to the Isthmian League, that’s my ultimate dream, just to get Croydon back to playing Isthmian football.
“It might take some time but I believe I’ve got a good board behind me and they see the same vision and it’s all about taking small steps and taking every game as it comes now and see where we are come the end of the season.”