K Sports appoint Paul Atkins as caretaker manager on the eve of the new season

Friday 02nd August 2019

K SPORTS chairman Mark Pickup has appointed Paul Atkins as their caretaker manager just three days before the start of the new season.

The Paperboys lost their long-serving manager Kris Browning and his assistant Graham Martin on Thursday 25 July 2019.

The pair guided the Aylesford-based club to an eleventh-placed finish at the end of their debut Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division campaign and kick-off their new campaign with a trip to newly-promoted side Erith & Belvedere tomorrow.

“Kris and Graham did an amazing job during their time with the club and we would all like to thank them for their hard work and we wish them every success in the future,” said Mr Pickup.

“At the end of last season, the committee sat down and put together a plan for the future direction of the club.

“Although the facilities at K Sports are some of the best in the area, the senior and junior sections of the football club are still only tenants. With an annual rent in excess of £100,000, we are constantly striving to find ways of raising funds to cover this and the other associated costs with running a football club.

“For the past two season’s we have been lucky enough to benefit from the generosity of investors who have agreed to cover player expenses but even those costs are on the rise, last year by 10% and this year we were asked to increase this by a further 45%!!

“The committee understandably felt this was not sustainable year on year and we needed to find a pathway for our young players to progress through the club to ultimately represent our first team.

“We also felt we had let the players down, although the facilities were great, within the senior section, we were not providing them with the levels of coaching they deserved.

“Our reserves gained promotion to the Kent County Premier Division last season, which gave us the perfect platform for players to push for first team places and with the formation of a new under 23 development side this season in the Sevenoaks League, this will provide a stepping stone for our young players to move from youth to senior football and onto a pathway to our first team.

“This week we have appointed former chairman Paul Atkins as our caretaker manager with his assistant, former first team coach Michael Dodsworth. They have brought with them Sonny Gladish and we have managed to retain the services of Elliot Gratwick and Liam Martin to bolster our coaching staff and implement the clubs plans.”

Mr Pickup confirmed that 36 players’ attended training last Monday, while 20 players took part in their 3-0 home win over Rusthall Reserves on Wednesday, which was the day of Atkins’ managerial appointment.

Mr Pickup added: “Having taken this action a week before the start of the season isn't ideal and we know we will be playing catch up with teams around us, but we have a talented squad of players.

“We have spoken with them all and explained our decision and they have given us their full support and we are now looking forward to our opening game tomorrow.”

Visit K Sports’ website:  www.ksports-fc.co.uk