I'm looking to take the Deres where they should be, insists Brown (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS)

Sunday 13th August 2006

We bring you SIX EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS with managers of Kent League clubs.


Erith & Belvedere player-manager Wayne Brown has set his stall out for the new Kent League season, writes Stephen McCartney.

After finishing in fourth place last season – 14 points behind champions Maidstone United – Brown insists he’s the man to get the much-fancied Park View Road outfit promoted.

The Deres got their campaign off to winning ways yesterday, winning 2-1 at Beckenham Town.

Fresh from his trial at Nationwide Conference South club Welling United, former Beckenham Town midfielder Danny Beszant, a close season capture from Slade Green, netted a brace from set pieces for the Deres.

The 24-year-old opened the scoring with a right-footed 19-yard free kick inside the opening six minutes and Beckenham Town’s former Welling United goalkeeper Darren Ibrahim was at fault allowing Beszant’s whipped in corner curl into the far corner with just four minutes left on the clock.

Striker Ashley Carew, whose recently played for Gillingham and Bromley, and has signed from Aston Villa, volleyed home Beckenham Town’s 55th minute leveller.

Beckenham Town gave debuts to all of their 16-man squad, with Brown handing debuts to seven of his squad.

“The most important thing was three points,” Brown said in hist first ever  EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with www.kentishfootball.co.uk following our main match yesterday.

“I was very pleased with some of our play and not so pleased with other parts of our play, so we’ve still got some work to do.”

But the central defender was pleased that his side were victorious on the opening day as the club aim to win the title.

“The opening day of the season I think all managers are striving to get three points, get a good start, get off and running,” he said.

“I thought we totally dominated periods of the first half and could and should have been two or three up at half-time and that would have eased the pressure second half.”

But Brown praised hosts Beckenham Town, as missed chances almost cost his side two points.

He said: “But credit to Beckenham, they re-organised a bit after half time and came out with a lot more purpose and basically gave us a good game second half.

“I suppose they may feel they were unlucky to lose on their second half performance but I think if they’re honest the game could have been well and truly over by half-time.

“In fairness I think a win for us was a fair result but credit to Beckenham as they played very well second half but we’ve got some work to do but I’m pleased with the start we’ve made.”

But Brown feels the facilities at the club’s Park View Road ground should be hosting Ryman League football – at least.

“The bottom line is we’re looking to win every game we play,” he insisted.  “I think I’ve got a squad more than capable of winning this league.  There’s still some work and fine tuning to do but it’s looking really promising.

“The set up at the club is second to none.  The ground, the changing rooms, the whole set up is a lot better than Kent League football, no disrespect to Kent League football.  I’m looking to take the club where the club should be.

“We’re looking to emulate what their doing across the road at Welling United.  It’s a Conference grading ground and that’s the sort of football that should be played.

“One step at a time, we’ve got to win the Kent League and we’re looking to do that and take the club where it should be.”

New Beckenham Town manager Jason Huntley insists it won’t be long before the new-look side bounce back.

Huntley replaced Gavin Rose at the helm during the summer as the club couldn’t fulfil Rose’s Ryman League ambitions.

All of Huntley’s sixteen-man squad were making their debuts for the club and the former Stansfeld Oxford & Bermondsey Club manager asks fans to be patient as the new squad settle.

He told www.kentishfootball.co.uk that his side's poor first half performance cost his side. 

“Very disappointed we didn’t play in the first half to be fair," he said.

“We lost the actual game in the first half and I told the lads that.  In the second half there was only one side as far as I’m concerned.  But it’s too late, they’ve got to learn now.”

Huntley criticised Darren Ibrahim for allowing Beszant’s whipped in 86th minute corner to find the net, giving the Deres a deserved three points.

He admitted:  “It’s a hard way to lose as well.  I felt we deserved a draw on the day.  To lose the way we did – a goalkeeping error really – but we’ve had a word with the boys and they know what the mistakes are and they know what they’ll have to do from now.

“We’ve come in and brought in the eighteen players we’ve got now.  We didn’t have one player from last season.  That’s not down to us, they al left on their own accord and whatever happened last year we’re not concerned with that.

“But as I say, I thought we’ve done quite well to get a team out from nothing.   We didn’t have no-one here at all.”

Rose’s highly-talented side played their home games on a bowling green of a pitch last season, and they were still good enough to collect 33 points (from 45) on the road.

With the club failing to produce a match day programme yesterday, Huntley insists these teething problems – on and off the pitch – will be ironed out.

“We’re trying to sort the ground out, we’ve had problems with the pitch as you can see but once we’ve got the pitch up and running you’ll see a better standard, I’m quite sure of that,” he insisted.

Whitstable Town player-manager Marc Seager hopes to play some part of a reserve team game on Tuesday night as the 34-year-old battles back from the torn groin injury he sustained over the Easter period.

But he admitted to being “over the moon” as his players got their campaign off to a winning start.

Marcus Perona netted the only goal of the game inside the first two minutes as the Oystermen defeated new boys Croydon at the Belmont in front of the Kent League’s biggest crowd on the opening day.

And although 154 was the official crowd, Seager revealed there was a lot more at the game as players from VCD Athletic, whose game at neighbouring Faversham Town fell victim of a waterlogged pitch, watched the second half action.

He told www.kentishfootball.co.uk:   “The first game of the season you have 15 changing rooms buzzing.

“It was a stern test, a clean sheet and we’re up and running, against a side I don’t know much about.”

Seager revealed his side played good football, which lead up to the only goal of the game, courtesy of a goalkeeping mistake.

But he felt his side should have gone on and scored more goals against the visitors from South Norwood.

“I thought that would settle us and give us a platform to work on,” he said.  “We looked strong early on but a little lack of quality but if we had that quality we could have won the game more comfortably.”

Seager handed debuts to Stuart King (Herne Bay), Micky Lane (Deal Town), goalkeeper Kevin Fewell (Chatham Town) and Jake Gess and Josh Maine, who have both worked their way up through the ranks.

But Seager warned other Kent League clubs not to expect a comfortable ride against the Trams.

“They’re a half decent side, very strong,” he revealed.  “It was a fair, physical game and they’re going to take a few points of a few teams – expect a hard game at their place.”

Seager admitted his side “underachieved” last season, having finished below Maidstone United, Beckenham Town, Thamesmead Town and Erith & Belvedere in the table last term.

And he’s trying to bring success back to the north Kent coastal club, despite a lower budget than some of his rivals.

“We want to win something,” he insisted.  “Whitstable have underachieved but we’ve always had good players.”

“I haven’t got the biggest budget so when I lost nine of my main 15-16 players last season it was hard for us.
“But we’ve got a good strong squad and if I can keep everyone happy, we will be there or thereabouts.
“This year the Kent League is going to be very strong.  The likes of ourselves, VCD Athletic, Erith & Belvedere, Beckenham and Herne Bay are always going to be there or thereabouts.
“Me personally the title’s out of VCD, Thamesmead and Erith & Belvedere, but I’d like to think we can win it on a low budget.
“It will be good for a club who can go and win it without having the most money.
“I’m happy with my squad, we’ve got quality players who want to be successful.  We’ll be there and thereabouts but it will be a very strong league.
“Ramsgate and Maidstone have gone but it’s still strong and the league table doesn’t lie. The team sitting at the top in April are the ones being the most consistent.
“Football is a results business.  Nothing’s said in the stats about performances and if we can win games having not played well, it’s not a bad way to be.”
Keith McMahon was delighted that he won his first game in charge at another much-fancied side Thamesmead Town.
The Bayliss Avenue outfit defeated Tunbridge Wells by two goals to nil courtesy of goals from Lee Morgan and Sam Thomas.
McMahon handed debuts to eight players against Martin Farnies’s side, who welcome Greenwich Borough to Culverden Stadium on Wednesday night.
Morgan and Scott Lewis arrive from local rivals Slade Green, with former Sevenoaks Town goalkeeper Chris Arnold keeping a clean sheet.
Robbie Tarrant (Metropolitan Police), James Brown (VCD Athletic), Tyrone Sterling, 18, (Fisher Athletic), star signing Ryan Royston, 25, (Maidstone United) and sixteen-year-old Lee Dawson made their debuts for the club.
“We played really well,” McMahon told www.kentishfootball.co.uk.   “The first half was a good performance with a strong wind behind us.
“Tunbridge Wells are an organised side and the turning point was a red card.
Joe Fuller, the Wells’ former Tonbridge Angels’ striker, saw red in more ways than one.
His teammate, midfielder Symon Stickney was penalised for a challenge before a free kick was punched clear under pressure by former Dartford goalkeeper Jimmy Simpson.
As the dust began to settle Fuller pursued a loose ball with Morgan.  But as the ball went out for a Wells throw, Fuller raised his elbow, which drew blood and was sent off.
Morgan had to swap his bloodied shirt with Mead’s mascot, Tommy the Toad, before he could continue.

McMahon added:  “The second half we put our pre-season form into the game and could have scored more.  I’m really pleased.”
“First game in charge it’s always good to get off to a win.  It was important that we got the season off with a win.”
When asked if his team can lift the Kent League title in April, McMahon replied: “Yes!”  He added: “I’ve got to be honest, Erith & Belvedere are going to be the side in my eyes.
“I’ve heard they’re a good side, they’ve got to fancy themselves but the teams that drop the less points against the lesser sides will win it.
“The top teams are more than capable of taking points of each other.  It’s consistency.  If we play like we did yesterday and pre-season we are going to be up there, but it’s a long season.”
Despite low support, which is slowly increasing, McMahon admitted his main ambition is to see the club play Ryman League football.
“My ambition is for us to win it and to get the club promoted.  We want to play Ryman League football and move up the ladder,” he said.
McMahon revealed today the club are submitting an application with the Football Association in the next two weeks to get their Bayliss Avenue ground fenced off.
Their floodlights are being upgraded but the club has already installed new a public address system and has one of the best playing surfaces in the league.
And with a crowd of 74 watching yesterday’s opening day win, McMahon hopes crowds will increase further.

He said: “The crowds are getting higher. The mascot has helped and the way we play entertaining football has helped attracting people to watch us.”

McMahon feels Lordswood and Slade Green are the league’s dark horses but feels Erith & Belvedere will have a major say in this season’s title outcome.
He said: “If we finish above Erith & Belvedere we should win the league.  Any team that finishes above them will win it.  They’re the benchmark – the Maidstone of last year.”
After going six pre-season games unbeaten, Hythe Town manager Paul Fisk hopes rival clubs don’t notice his side’s push towards the top six this season.
Fisk will be the first one to admit last season’s bottom five finish wasn’t good enough for the former Southern League club, but they’ve already improved on last season’s start.
He told www.kentishfootball.co.uk : “I think last season it took us five-six games to get our first win so we’re already ahead of last year.
“It wasn’t a great game but we stuck at it and got a win.  Last season we were the ones letting in the late goals so it’s nice for us to be winning with a late goal.
“We’ve not played particularly well and won so hopefully we’ll play well and win games, but last season we played well and lost.
“We are unbeaten and we’re looking to do a lot better than last year and improve on yesterday.  We’ll be looking to improve in our next few games.”
Fisk handed a debut to former Folkestone Invicta goalkeeper Dave Wietecha, whose signed from Ryman League Division One South neighbours Ashford Town.
The tall goalkeeper was understudy at the Homelands to Simon Overland, whose on a season long loan from Nationwide Conference club Dagenham & Redbridge.
Centre back Gavin Ramsley is back at the club after a couple of years where he’s endured groin and ankle niggles, during his spell at Folkestone Invicta.
Another former Folkestone Invicta youngster, John Walker has also signed for Hythe and Stuart Daffin’s patience has been rewarded with a place in the first team.
But former Dover Athletic star Dale Skelton is expected to make his debut next Saturday having missed the game due to work commitments.
Fisk added: “There’s a lot of good sides in the Kent League this year with their own expectations.
“Over the first six to seven games we can look at where we are.  After winning on Saturday I don’t want to get carried away with things.
Lordswood are tipped by some Kent League clubs to be dark horses this year, but manager Paul Piggott was pleased that his side kept patient in their win over Sporting Bengal United.
A brace from Lyndon Guscott in the final ten minutes was enough to defeat a side that used tactics more likened to the World Cup rather than the opening day of the Kent League season.
“It was a scrappy game to be fair,” Piggott  told www.kentishfootball.co.uk:
“There wasn’t much passing, they came with one up front, stuck loads behind the ball to make it hard for us, which spoilt the game a bit, but we preserved and got our just rewards with the two goals from Lyndon at the end.”
When asked if the east Londoners were a dirty side, Piggott revealed: “Not really.  I wouldn’t say that.  They’re an awkward side to play against and I can see teams lose points to them over the season,” he warned.
But Piggott was pleased that his side got their campaign off to winning ways, adding: “Credit to the players, they didn’t stop, kept battling, working hard creating chances to get the three points.  Luckily enough Lyndon took his goals very well for us.”
Meanwhile, the Medway club have also launched a new website at www.lordswoodfc.com
Elsewhere in the league, Adam Heaslewood, the player-coach of Slade Green scored at Deal Town, who won the game courtesy of goals from Jamie Marriott and Dan Smith.
Sevenoaks Town, who finished rock bottom last season, winning just three games, drew Greenwich Borough in front of the lowest crowd of the day.
Only 37 people at Greatness Park saw former Dartford striker Matthew Jones-Butler cancel out Dave Hassett’s 70th minute opener for Borough.

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