I hope people notice know that I’m serious about moving forward and managing and that I want to progress up the football ladder, says Otford United manager Ricky Tompkins
RICKY TOMPKINS says he wants to manage at a higher level of football after a successful first season in charge of a club.
The current Otford United manager has guided the club to top spot in the Andreas Carter Joma Kent County League Division One West table at the end of their campaign, winning 18, drawing four and losing two of their league games this season.
Ricky Tompkins (right) says he wants to be given a
chance at a higher level of football after a successful
first season in charge of Andreas Carter Joma Kent
County League Division One West side Otford United.
Photo: Julie Hoare
Lewisham Athletic are currently in second-place and can overtake the O’s to reach the summit should they claim a win from their last two games this week.
“My season in charge at Otford has probably been one of the most enjoyable season I’ve had in football with some great talent and people,” said Tompkins, 31, who has scooped a couple of manager-of-the-month awards this season.
“I went to the interview in pre-season and was delighted to see such great people on board and they had massive ambition. They just needed the right people to come in and help them make the next step as they hadn’t had anyone to lead them before.”
Tompkins, who is a self-employed painter and decorator from Bexleyheath, took time out to spruce up the dressing rooms at the picturesque ground on Otford High Street.
“I visited the ground and was really happy to see Conference floodlights and a decent looking playing surface,” said Tompkins.
“The changing rooms were the first thing I looked at and thought this will not get my players’ fired up for a game. They had magnolia walls, no badges and numbers and a green patchy floor.
“I spent four days in total off work and decorated myself both changing rooms, putting numbers above pegs and badges in the changing room with an amber and black line and a newly painted floor.
“I spent hours cleaning the toilet just to make that changing room good for my lads.”
Reflecting on his first campaign in charge of the club, Tompkins said:
“I was very fortunate to have played at a decent level throughout my footballing life so I managed to get some very decent players in, some of whom have played in the Ryman League and SCEFL last season.
“There was a core here and I just needed to add to it.
“Pre-season showed all the hard work that was paying off with some wins from club who play two and three leagues above us.
“We also had great Cup runs this year, having entered into three Cups, we managed to get to a Quarter-Final, Semi-Final and the Final of the Sevenoaks Charity Cup.
“It was exciting to do so well in all of the Cups and had a turnout of over 300 for our Final.
“The League this year for me has been amazing. I told the lads if you defend first in football you will nick points. That’s exactly what has happened this year. In all competitions we have had 20 clean sheets and only conceded 15 goals in 24 League games, which apart from Cuxton is the best out of the whole of the Kent County League!
“I think at any level that’s amazing and I take my hat off to my lads. They have listened to how I wanted them to play.
“As a manager I feel that getting your dressing room buzzing is the most important thing and you gain the respect from your players, getting their morale up and talking game plans. It’s so important but one thing I hope I’ve done is gaining their respect.
“I’ve had players’ ring me saying ‘thanks for their most enjoyable season of football I’ve ever had,” and that means the world and makes me proud. I have given people the hunger to die for the team.
“We finished our season unbeaten for 17 games, only losing two all season and we last lost in October so to go nearly six months unbeaten is amazing and I really wanted a real chance to say to all my lads ‘thanks for a great year, you have all done me proud.”
Tompkins believes a higher league club should take a punt on him next season.
“I hope people notice know that I’m serious about moving forward and managing and that I want to progress up the football ladder,” he said.
“I have some great contacts now, who have offered me Ryman Youth players with massive potentials so if I get a higher position job and also a full under 21 side saying they would love to come in as a under 21s reserve side to work with. So many players have contacted me asking to be involved in my plans for whatever club I’m at. I feel blessed and just need that break.”