Heaslewood: We are realistic with what we can achieve - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Friday 14th July 2006

Danny Evans and Adam Heaslewood both know what to expect as they embark on their managerial reign at Kent League club Slade Green, writes Stephen McCartney.



During the close season the duo have replaced Phil Miles (whose now coaching at rivals Greenwich Borough) and Terry Malin at the helm of the Small Glen club.

In an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with www.kentishfootball.co.uk Heaslewood outlined his plans for the new campaign.

The 33-year-old, Beckenham resident, is the managing director of Valsport (UK) and also holds an UEFA B coaching license.

He has had two years coaching experience in the USA with college and Olympic development teams.

Heaslewood started his own playing career in Peterborough United’s youth team before playing in America for Husson College, and has played for Kent sides Beckenham Town, Cray Wanderers and Thamesmead Town.

When asked why the duo decided to start their managerial career with Slade Green, Heaslewood replied: “Danny was in and out of the game last year and contacted me asking if I would be interested in applying for the position with him.

“I have known Danny for a number of seasons and we have always shared the same ideas on the game and it seemed a natural progression for the pair of us.

“Opportunities don’t come along that often at this level and after meeting the committee it showed that we have the same ideas and opinions on how the club can possibly progress.

“Obviously we both have experience in the Kent League so we know what is required.”

But Heaslewood admitted money is not the only motivation for a number of players and the pair, like Miles and Malin before them, won’t be working with a budget.

He said: “We were both aware of this from the moment we applied for the job. It didn’t deter us from going for the job.

“Obviously the club is realistic to what we can achieve and so are we.  We both feel confident that we can attract good enough players to compete.

“Money is not the only motivation for a number of players.  Sure you will get some players who will go to clubs for small amounts, that’s their prerogative, but we know we need to try to attract players who are not spurred on by money.

“However, at no time will we use the “no playing budget” as an excuse.  We knew this when the job was taken so we have to plug away and assemble a side that will compete week in, week out.”

The club have arranged seven pre-season friendlies this summer, but Heaslewood revealed the reasons why the club has scrapped their reserve side and running with just one team this term.

He said: “Pre-season has been very good and the response from the players has been extremely encouraging.

“All the training is football specific with a lot of ball work but we have seven good pre-season friendlies to try different personnel, systems and get match sharpness.

“We are slowly but surely getting the numbers down and the type of players that we want.

“All we can do is keep plugging away, making phone calls, use contacts and shape the squad to what we require.”

Speaking about scrapping the reserves, Heaslewood said: “It was a decision made between Danny, myself and the committee.  We wanted to solely focus on the first team and felt that trying to bring a new team together and organize the reserves was too much."

He added: 
“We have a core base of players that have committed themselves to the team.

“We are still talking to a number of players that are keeping their options open.  It’s a merry-go-round at the moment where players are training with other sides but in a couple of weeks we will have a clearer picture on our signings.”

One player to have joined is former Bromley, Leyton Pennant and Cray Wanderers’ utility player Andy Silk, whose been managing Bromley’s reserves for the past three seasons.

“We’ve invited all the first team squad back for pre-season, some have returned, some have gone and some are in the category of keeping their options open,” Heaslewood said.

“We are looking at a squad of 16-18 players.  Danny and myself will sign and we also have Silky coming down, who can still do a job at this level.

“Another option open to us are our contacts at clubs playing at a higher level, so there could be some loan deals.”

Heaslewood pointed out their aims for the new season.  “To compete, play attractive football, learn as managers and enjoy ourselves.

“We are not going to come out and state a top three, six or ten finish, although Danny and myself know what we would like to achieve.

“We obviously know what you need to do to compete in this league and win it from our time at Cray Wanderers. Over the course of our playing days we have worked under good managers and coaches.

“Hopefully we can bring that knowledge learnt, along with a few of our ideas and implement them at Slade Green.”

Slade Green’s pre-season programme:

Saturday 22nd July (a) Lewisham Borough
Thursday 27th July (H) Dartford
Saturday 29th July (a) Canvey Island
Tuesday 1st August (H) Eton Manor
Thursday 3rd August (a) Cray Valley
Saturday 5th August (H) Dulwich Hamlet
Wednesday 9th August (H) Cray Wanderers

Visit Slade Green’s website: