Winning this league was our be all and end all and to have done it is a great achievement, says departing Farnborough Old Boys Guild player-boss Luke Johnson

Monday 09th May 2016

FARNBOROUGH OLD BOYS GUILD begin the search for a new manager after their joint-managers stepped down from their roles despite winning the league title at the weekend.

The Farnborough High Street based club drew 1-1 at home to Peckham Town at the weekend, which was enough to win the NRG Gym Kent County League Division One West title by three points, leaving their opponents in second place.

The team are managed jointly by Matt Ellis and central defender Luke Johnson.

“The season has been fantastic from start to finish,” said Johnson.

“I spoke with you after our cup final defeat a year ago and outlined our aim was to win the league this season.  We’ve done that with the same group of lads who finished seventh last season.  It’s been a massive squad effort, we’ve only used 22 different players all year!

“To lose only two league games out of 20 is a phenomenal effort.  We also performed well in the two cups, reaching the semis of the Sevenoaks Cup and knocking out a few Premier Division sides in the Inter-Regional Challenge Cup.

“Cups aside, winning this league was our be all and end all and to have done it is a great achievement.”

When asked why the two of them quit the club after claiming the league title, Johnson replied: “We are stepping down due to family commitments. We let the club know in March and let the boys know not long after.  Additionally, both of us still want to play as often as we can and managing has stopped us getting 90 minutes regularly.

“Personally, being manager has limited me to only 10-15 appearances this season, although possibly under a new manager I might play less!”

“We started managing three years ago when we brought our reserve team over to the Kent County League from the South London Alliance.  We gained promotion from the Third Division in our first season, missing out on the title by three points.

“The club then asked us to take over the first team as the manager left three weeks into pre-season.

“We were reluctant as we had about six players in late July but after stabilising we went on to reach the Inter Regional Challenge Cup Final in our first season and have obviously improved this year to take the title.

“This is a terrible thing to admit but we’ve done all that without a single training session!”

Reflecting on Saturday’s title clincher against Peckham Town, Johnson said: “I’ll be honest after Saturday and after a few light ales, we were reconsidering but I think now the hangover has cleared, passing it on to someone who can put the time and effort to take this club forward would be best.

“Saturday’s game against Peckham was hardly a classic but I don’t think it was ever going to be.  It was a nervy game, with very few chances.

“I’ve got nothing but admiration for Peckham and their match-day staff. They’re a good club on and off the pitch and probably deserve to be playing a few leagues higher.

“We beat them with a last minute goal in our first league game of the season nine months ago and I put a tweet out guessing that we’d be the top two sides come May and it’s turned out that way.

“Hopefully both our ground’s pass league guidelines so we play each other again next season.

“The future of the club looks good. We’ve got funding sorted to upgrade the pitches and the clubhouse and obviously a good set of players. We run four Saturday sides, which is hard work for the committee, but it is a great club to be part of.

“Personally, I will stay at the club, primarily as a player but also to help the transition for the new manager.

“I need to thank a few individuals for helping Matt and I over the last three years, without whom there wouldn’t be a club, let alone a title winning side, Ian Couchman, Steve Viner, Colin Brazier and Paul Parsons.

“It’s three years since we lost Vic Farrow, who did everything for the club and who the ground is named after.  This ones for you Vic!!”

Meanwhile, Bexlians, who finished third-from-bottom in the same division, have today unveiled a newly restructured three-man management team next season.

Last season’s assistant manager Ky Davies will take up a joint role alongside first team manager Harry Newman, whilst former first team captain Ben Mitchell will take up the role of first team coach.

“We are delighted to welcome Ben into the management set-up following a long playing career with the club,” said a club statement.

“Ben is well-respected in the dressing room and will bring plenty of experience to the table.

“Along with the earlier appointment of Mark Warner as the new reserve team manager, we are delighted with the two acquisitions we have made and feel we are well equipped to really push the club on in the 2016-17 season.”

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