Halls Athletic begin the search for a new management team

Monday 15th May 2017

HALLS ATHLETIC begin the search for a new management team to take the club to the next level.

The Dartford based club were founded in 1919 and they play their home games on the community artificial pitch at Dartford’s Princes Park Stadium.

Dartford based Halls Athletic begin the search for a new first team management team
Photo: Halls Athletic FC

Manager Ross Copley has stepped down after two seasons at the helm, completing their campaign in the top eight in the Andreas Carter Joma Kent County League Division One West.

“This season has been very mixed,” admitted coach Billy Judd, 25, who is a PE teacher at a secondary school.

“We had a terrible start and our preparations for the season weren’t ideal and this continued throughout losing our first six games.

“We slowly started to assemble the team and with the addition of promoting two of our under 21 players Ryan and Lewis Trimstram, who gave the first team a boost with added quality, we slowly turned a corner and got a few runs.

“The turn of the year is where we really kicked on and won five games on the bounce and we also drew against the team top-of-the-league at the time.

“These results helped us climb slowly up the table and this was the most frustrating thing, knowing we should have been competing with the top teams.”

Judd revealed that the club are looking to push on.  They currently play in the 12th tier of English football.

He said: “The club has ambitions getting into the Southern Counties East Football League.  We want to earn the right to be in that division and we thought that this season we could mount a promotion push, but that was not the case.

“The club is currently in the process of trying to acquire our own ground, which is exciting for the club.

“Our short-term aims is gaining promotion into the Kent County League Premier and the reserve team to become more competitive in Division three and for them to progress.

“Long-term, I think the sky is the limit for the club. Once we have our own ground we can really push to compete with the best teams in Dartford. We currently have the youth teams and committee members to push the club to the next level.”

Like many amateur football clubs, the youth teams at Halls Athletic are flourishing.

“The club currently has youth teams starting at under 6s, all the way up to our under 21 squad,” said Judd.

“We pride ourselves on our fantastic reputation and that was supported when we won Charter Standard Development Club of the year 2016.

“All our youth teams train together on a Saturday, which you do not see many grassroots clubs do.  This gives all our coaches a chance to work together and creates a superb club environment for all of our players to develop, which is our goal.

“We have already had eight of the youth players who started with the club at under 12’s who have made appearances for the first and reserve team.  We take real pride in developing our youth players and there is nothing better than seeing them make appearances for the senior sides.”

With Copley now departed, Halls Athletic begin the search for a new first team and reserve team management team.

Judd, who wants to stay on, said: “The club are looking for a new management team that have experience at this level or higher and potentially a manager with some player pulling power as well.

“The first team train on a Wednesday night at Princes Park and we play our home games there where they have fantastic facilities for our level of football.

“The previous manager Ross Copley did a fantastic job coming in two seasons ago and really helped stabilise the club and helped us gain our highest finish last season.

“Ross made it clear at the start of his tenure that he would only do the job for two seasons so the club are now looking for a management team with fresh ideas and help move the team to the next level and we believe that we have the foundations to do that.

“The club are also looking for a new reserve team management after David Tristram has stepped down to concentrate on his role with the under 21 side.

“He’s done a fantastic job with the small squad that he had, the majority of the team was made up of his under 21 players. Also with some of the under 21s moving into the first team this made his job even more difficult.

“The reserve team would be perfect for a manager with pulling power or potentially a squad of players from a previous club. There is a strong core of players but to improve the squad we would need new additions.

“The club has already had seven players that have inquired to come down for a trial. The reserve team manager would need to work closely with the first team management and also train at Princes Park on a Wednesday night.”

Judd is keen to stay at the club and work alongside the new man at the helm.

“I have currently completed my UEFA B licence so I would be more than willing to work with the new first team management in a coaching capacity,” said Judd.

“I have had the experience already of managing the reserves before being called into the first team and found player-manager is a real difficult job without a good team around you.

“I have been with the club for six years and I’m currently the head coach of the youth teams whilst coaching my own side for those years.  My passion is to continue to build the club and move us on to our own ground.   We have so many great people at the club and I truly believe we can become the biggest club in Dartford.

“Both teams need to have a good coaching set-up. We found last season that the management needed more support and because of this it hindered their coaching and management.

“We are going to try and create a better set-up next season that is more professional and will help the club progress.”

When asked about the standard of Kent County League football, Judd replied: “The standard is fantastic!  You see so many teams bringing in ex semi-pro players and also many players from the League make the jump to semi-pro as well.

“The League you really want to be in is the Kent County League Premier.  That is the most competitive and it is also the step to progress to the Southern Counties East Football League.”

To apply for either vacancy at the club, please email Billy Judd: billjudd92@gmail.com