Grieves impressed with Tonbridge talent

Thursday 02nd March 2006

The Youth Development Officer at Ryman League Division One club Tonbridge Angels is impressed with the talent on offer within the club.

Ian Grieves joined the Longmead Stadium outfit at the end of October following a meeting with chairman, Nick Sullivan and the club’s under 16s and reserve team manager, Julian Leigh.

Grieves has a playing background at professional level at Wimbledon, Leyton Orient and HM Forces and coaching experience level for Gillingham’s Academy for six years, with an emphasis on youth development.

Speaking inside the club’s impressive match day programme for their Kent derby against Dover Athletic earlier in the week, Grieves admitted “it’s a very successful year.”

He said: “My role in conjunction with Nick Wing (whose the chairman of the youth section at the club) is to oversee the development of all youth football at Tonbridge Angels.

“I have been greatly impressed with what I have seen so far - it’s a very successful year for age groups 7s-18s.”

The Youth Development Officer role has yet to be completely developed, but a principle aim should be to identify players of outstanding availability within the youth section of the club and to promote players so they fulfil their potential.

“In this regard, I have been working with the under 16s manager to review the current playing staff," he revealed.

As a result of this the club has attracted players of academy experience with Gillingham, Fulham and Chelsea.

The names of Jay Beecroft, Sean Surridge, Scott Whibey, Nick Rich, Luke Watkins and Alec Bryant are exciting prospects for the future.

Last weekend the under 16s reached the Kent County FA Youth Cup Final, where they'll play Bromley in the final in April, following their 1-0 win over Whitstable Town.

Grieves said: “This is a remarkable achievement for all players and coaching staff.

“I am looking forward to the development of the youth section and there is still a lot of hard work to be done.

“However, there are examples in each age group of considerable promise and I hope I can maintain and promote this development to the required standard of the first team.”

Meanwhile, with the first team travelling to Horsham on Saturday, the Angels’ reserves entertain local rivals, Sevenoaks Town in the semi-finals of the Kent Intermediate Cup at Longmead Stadium.

Leigh, former first team manager at the Greatness Park outfit, has seen his side win seven games on the trot - keeping five consecutive clean sheets.