Playing Ryman League football is a goal of ours, reveals Sevenoaks' chief - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Thursday 10th August 2006

Despite finishing rock bottom in the Kent League last season, Sevenoaks Town are already showing signs of improvement ahead of their opening game on Saturday, writes Stephen McCartney.

Eleven goals have been scored during their six warm-up games, which has seen them lost just once - and that was a 2-1 defeat at Canvey Island.

And Graham Logsdon, the club’s general manager, hopes that impressive form continues when it really matters, against Greenwich Borough.

In an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with, Logsdon insists there cannot be a repeat of last season’s dire campaign.

He said: “It has got to improve and judging from what I’ve seen so far, there’s a lot of new faces, we’ve looked good, played some good football, and if I compare like for like it’s far better at this moment in time than it was this time last year.”

The team have played some decent football during this pre-season as the club has forked out £11,000 on another round of ground improvements, including better pitch drainage.

Mr Logsdon, meanwhile, admits lessons have been learnt from their disastrous campaign last term.

He said: “I guess stability was a requirement. Stability needed to be regained if you like, which I think we’ve achieved.

“Both the managers have worked very hard pre-season, getting the players they feel would be appropriate at this point in time and all the way round it just feels better - the whole environment feels better.”

After numerous managerial changes at Greatness Park - this is their fourth season since returning to the Kent League - Mr Logsdon feels Bob Pittaway and Derek Moore can bring success back to the club.

“It would be nice to think they would be here to build, but I suppose equally the board, as it’s now, we’ll still be looking for results,” he said.

“But I sincerely hope they’re going to be here for a while and help build the club.”

Every summer the club have worked hard to improve their facilities, and Mr Logsdon thanks the local business community for their continued support.

He said: “Once again we’ve been very fortunate that the local sponsors continue to back us.

“It’s hard work as always for our commercial manager but they respond.

“We’ve had a lot of input, from what I suppose could best be referred to as plant sponsors. They don’t necessary give money but they give us equipment, supply us with stuff that we need like diggers and we’re extremely grateful to them.”

Although the playing surface has had “zillions of gallons of water pumped onto it, It looks starved of water in places, but unlike previous years, proper football can now be played on it, and the famous Sevenoaks bobble is now a thing of the past.

“We’ve had half pitch drainage where we’ve had full pitch reclamation,” revealed Mr Logsdon.

“I don’t have any problems with the pitch. It’s playing well at the moment and the response has been quite good from the players that have been out there.”

However, FA guidelines being put in place mean the club must find more funds for even more ground improvements.

“In terms of the future we’ve got a lot of stuff to do,” revealed Mr Logsdon. “We’ve been told the ground has to be enclosed totally by the FA in regards to their requirements.

“I think it has to be done by the end of 2007-09 but that’s going to cause a considerable amount of expense again.

“But we’re looking at our options, and will be a priority for the start of next season.”

Speaking about the grass banking at the cemetery end of the ground, Mr Logsdon insisted: “We can’t do anything about that as I pointed out to the FA rep when he came down.

“It’s allright filling in the security fencing but they can still go up onto the bank and get a birds eye view for nothing anyway, but he didn’t seem that was relevant anyway.”

Having visited many grounds in the south-east of England, Greatness Park, with a view minor improvements, can stage Ryman League football, and Mr Logsdon agrees.

“You’ve got to remain with goals haven’t you?” he said. “I think at this point in time, with the changes that we’ll possibly need to make, we could reach that.

“I think we could get to that standard without too much massive expenditure, but that I think would be the limit for the foreseeable future.

“We’d need to add, as I understand it, another turnstile and extra stands, but I think that’s an achievable target to make but obviously you’ve got to do it on the pitch first.”

When asked if the west Kent club have set a timescale for Ryman League football, Mr Logsdon replied: “How big is a ball of string?” He added: “I think this year we have to see what happens out there on the park.

“If we can finish in the top half, top six, that’s maybe something we’d need to consider with management maybe in a season or two.

“You’ve got to have the challenges in front of you. I think that’s a realistic one and I don’t think it out of the question.

“But it takes money and a good quality team to get to that standard.”

And talking about finances, Mr Logsdon, revealed the club are still in the black.

“We’re stable, we’re still in the black, which is good,” he said.

But he did criticise the costs fielding two sides in the Kent Youth League, which is sponsored by Valley Express, which STEALS Kent football fans to watch Premiership club Charlton Athletic’s home games at the Valley.

“If you take the Kent Youth League it costs the club more for two teams than it does for the Kent League, the Sevenoaks League and Charity Cup put together,” he bemoaned.

“The expense that we have for the youth set-up is, in my opinion horrendous, but we do it and find the money.”

Admission Prices:
£5 (adults)
£2.50 (concessions)

Sevenoaks Town v Greenwich Borough
Kent Premier League
Saturday 12th August 2006
Kick Off 3:00pm
At Greatness Park, Mill Lane, Seal Road, Sevenoaks