As a football club we are in a brilliant place right now, says Old Bromleians boss Danny Wakeling
OLD BROMLEIANS manager Danny Wakeling hails the great season that his club has had during his first season in charge of the Bromley based outfit.
The former FC Elmstead boss has turned around the amateur club’s fortunes around as they sit proudly at the top of the Andreas Carter Joma Kent County League Division Two West table with 34 points from 15 games. The Broms ae six points clear of Edenbridge based outfit Nomads.
Wakeling takes his side to Dartford to play sixth-placed side Fleetdown United Reserves today (2:45pm).
“We head to Dartford today to play a Fleetdown United side that gave us plenty to think about in a 2-1 home win earlier this season but we head there in fine fettle after a brilliant 4-2 home win last week against a very good South Athletic team,” said Wakeling.
“We’ve had a training session this week full of energy, positive attitude, happiness and confidence, which comes from a great group of players approaching a peak level and all looking focused and very sharp.
“We've had a great season so far on the whole with on pitch improvements across the club (1XI 2XI and 3XI) in comparison to last year in particular and previous seasons too.
“We re-calibrated the entire playing structure from the first day of pre-season which was Saturday 2 July and despite a few natural playing losses along the way who were perhaps happy playing in a defeatist environment; we've recruited the right type of person and player for the football club and have kept those Broms who really wanted to make a difference and be responsible for changing the playing culture down at what is a fantastic football club.
“We've had magnificent support from erstwhile long serving and battle hardened Broms on the club committee and everyone - from bar staff and various other volunteers - have pretty much immersed themselves into re-aligning the football club and coming together as one proper unit which has been totally strengthened with far better links from our Vets XI right the way through to our excellent youth set up.
“As a football club we are in a brilliant place right now with more news to come at a later date regarding key improvements off-pitch as well as the excellent progress on the pitch via our players.
“As for the first XI we've improved on last year’s results brilliantly. We've already put silverware on the table this season by defeating West Wickham (who had won the AFA Senior Cup a few months previously) 4-1 back at the end of August in the annual memorial Robin Gonzalez Cup (the first time it's been back in our proud clubhouse for seven years) and have made great strides forward since then.
“We took the risk of rotating in both cups in early January which although didn't pay off with progress from positive results , we were in fact able to test our depth a bit more in games that really matter and found out a bit more about ourselves in certain situations from which we've all learned from, which is a great thing.
“Once both cup competitions came to an end for ourselves we were in a clear position to ascertain a plan of action going forward for our last ten league games.
“One or two players were brought in to strengthen the club and we remain on the look-out for possibly one more prior to the registration deadline. We've had a couple of good players return recently having left earlier in the season to return to a higher level (we've had 5 or 6 lads move back up to higher echelons this season which is brilliant to be fair) and yet the lads have still performed so well throughout.
“It would be easy to name plenty of lads who have popped up on your column inches over recent years but I have to give a mention to players we've been blessed to have inherited; lads that are of the 'older guard' of Old Broms. Lads who have stuck by the club during some very tough times on the pitch in recent years as well.
“Players such as Chris Round (absolutely immense this season, a true standard bearer for the entire club) Steven "Ched" Brady (a prolific striker and an outstanding Brom over many years) two battle hardened and brilliant long standing Broms in George Bartlett, Simon Warman, David McDonnell , Jake Garlick and goalkeeper Nick Greenwood (the latter two grafting away in our reserves and give their all when called upon for the first XI, train hard and push for first team football) plus two very creative and talismanic talents in Adam O'Neill (who returned to the club last summer) and Mitch Hyland who we were very lucky to retain.
“There are many others that myself, Greg Barton and Martin Munden could mention and quite a few pushing from our second XI which is also absolutely flying so far this season but as much as the new lads have made a big difference - those mentioned have stuck around, contributed immensely and have kept a proper Old Broms feel to the club.
“That feel keeps everyone's feet firmly on the floor as the club scales heights currently, that it hasn't for some time.
“Everyone is enjoying the moment and each game as it comes around. We've had a return of a few injured players which has hit us hard of late in a couple of games but all teams have injury lists and we just crack on regardless.”
Wakeling is delighted with his free-scoring side going into today’s trip to Heath Lane lower in Dartford.
He said: “A key strength of ours is scoring goals. We've hit 86 across all competitions this season and whilst Brady (24) and O'Neill (18) have hit just under half of those, amazingly another 17 players have also notched. Nineteen lads in total who play across first XI and reserves each week, a remarkable effort. Out of the 86, 21 goals have come from players coming off the bench which is indicative of the positive attitude, talent and strong mentality within the club and something that defines us as a team and a club.
“We head to Fleetdown enjoying our current situation. We go there in a steely determined and mentally positive frame of mind but also respectful and fully prepared to earn the right to play first and foremost.”
Visit Old Bromleians website: www.oldbromleiansfc.co.uk