FC Elmstead boss Danny Wakeling: We will catch our breath, work hard, be humble and play in a proud manner and character that I think represents our club really well
FC ELMSTEAD manager Danny Wakeling says he needs to catch his breath after his side made an impressive Kent Invicta League debut.
The Bromley based club welcomed local rivals Orpington to Holmesdale’s Oakley Road ground on the opening night of the season and 203 fans were treated to a thrilling 2-2 draw.
FC Elmstead are keen to play more Friday night games at Oakley Road to put more bums on seats and with Wrexham in town the following day to play Bromley in the Vanarama National League, Oakley Road would be an ideal venue to stage Friday night football on a more regular basis during the course of the season.
This website is leading a campaign for the Southern Counties East Football League and Kent Invicta League to stage more Friday night games during the course of the season, which will attract larger attendances to clubs.
“I think it’s the way forward, if I’m honest,” said Wakeling, 40.
“I know you’re a keen promoter of it. I said to you during the week non-league football needs to do something a bit different at times. I know Fisher do Monday’s, you’ve got Wrexham here (to play Bromley the following day), there must be 200 of them in hotels?
“If I’m honest if we were a bit more bolder and we had a bit more infrastructure about us I think we could have got a better crowd but that’s me being brave. A lot of this was done last minute to gain momentum, but 203, what a start, what a start.”
Wakeling takes his side to fifth-placed Bearsted on Saturday to play a side that came away from much-fancied Sheppey United with a 2-0 win in midweek.
“Bearsted are one of the best sides in the league aren’t they, now Hollands & Blair have gone up,” said Wakeling.
“They’ll be amongst the runners and riders. I said to the boys we’re coming here as newbies. We know there’s a few people laughing and calling us whipping boys and that sort of stuff.
“They’re a strong outfit, they’ll be strong at home. We’ll have to approach the game differently to how we approached it (against Orpington).
“We’ll have to go to Bearsted with a different game plan and show the respect their due. They’re always a top three, top four team in this league. We’re the newbies, we’re the fresh boys. We have to earn our corn and respect this league and that’s how we’ll continue to play.”
FC Elmstead have come a very long way in a very short space of time and Wakeling is relishing the challenges ahead.
He said: “I came into the club last Christmas and a team that I saw Fabio (Rossi, general manager) and Jack White put together the year before, albeit in Kent County Division Three West. They won the West Kent Challenge Shield and put together a very good side.
“Jack left and went to another club in Step Six, won’t name then, another club in Step Six, they used to be here, I think.
“Fabio then felt the need to go upstairs when the club wanted to get Step Six football. The club knew the challenge you’d had to go down to progress so he made a managerial change, which didn’t work out for the club unfortunately.
“The first game I took over I was asked to take over at three o’clock on a Friday afternoon. There was seven players available to play at Footscray Rugby Park. Thankfully the game got called off as the opposition pulled off a moony waterlogged pitch as the home club only had nine but they would beat us on the day.
“The change around the club and to be here tonight with 203 watching the club after having started off at Christmas time with seven players available is a massive leap we’ve made, not just in terms of the league and level because there’s some cracking players in the Kent County football, brilliant players that don’t travel, who can’t travel so there’s good players down there but come to this level with three match officials there’s more of a professional feel.
“Some of the boys have got to re-adjust, despite the fact they’ve played a bit higher and we will catch our breath, work hard, be humble and play in a proud manner and character that I think represents our club really well. I know Fabio’s a proud chairman anyway.”
Visit FC Elmstead’s website: www.fcelmstead.co.uk
Bearsted v FC Elmstead
Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League
Saturday 15th August 2015
Kick Off 3:00pm
At Otham Sports Club, Honey Lane, Otham, Maidstone, Kent ME15 8RG