Robbins: Hythe has great potential (EXCLUSIVE)

Monday 06th February 2006
Mike Robbins expects some of his players from Ashford Town’s reserve side to join him at Kentish Observer League club Hythe Town, after being appointed first team coach at Reachfields Stadium, writes Stephen McCartney.

The ambitious 33-year-old, has left his home-town club to team up with Paul Fisk’s Hythe, that have under performed in the league this season, winning just four league games this season and have Sporting Bengal, Sevenoaks Town, Greenwich Borough and Erith Town below them in the table.
A former youth team coach at Gillingham, and goalkeeping academy coach at Southampton, the former Royal Engineer has also assisted at Barnstaple Town, scouted for Gravesend & Northfleet and led their ladies side to their first title, and was first team assistant coach at Tonbridge Angels before moving to The Homelands club at the beginning of last season.

Robbins, however, admitted he was frustrated at Ashford Town and would like to thank Bob Morton from Elite Security.  “Ashford could never have paid me and were going to release me until he came in,” he revealed.
“I had the same frustrations that all reserve managers have,” Robbins said.  “I tried from the start to be as professional as possible.
“With the side left in the quarter-finals of two cups I think they are healthier than when I arrived.
“There are many issues that are holding Ashford Town Football Club back at present but with a town the size of Ashford the support in the community should be far greater.”
Robbins feels his new club can be bigger than the Ryman League Division One strugglers.
“I am obviously extremely pleased with the move as I am fully confident in my ability,” he said.  “Hythe Town has great potential to be even bigger than Ashford Town at present.”
Robbins explained how difficult it was in his reserve team role at The Homelands.  “It is an impossible and thankless task,” he said.  “I loved my time under (former manager) Terry Fenwick as his communication skills were understandably second to none.
“Communication is the key and it should run from top to bottom at all clubs.”
But Robbins, whose first game for his new club is at Thamesmead Town in the quarter-finals of the Kentish Observer League Cup on Saturday, explained what he can offer.
“I can offer coaching (I am UEFA B licence holder) skills, man management skills and a quickly developing contact list,” he said.
“I am ambitious and enthusiastic.  I want to coach at the very least in the Ryman Premier League and ultimately one day full-time.
“I communicate with some of the other managers in Kent and get ideas.  Every young coach needs a mentor.  In Alan Walker (Maidstone United coach), Jim Ward (Ramsgate manager) and Neil Cugley (Folkestone Invicta manager) we have some of the best.”

Robbins has already drafted in Martin Larkin, who assisted Ashford’s reserves – to “reshape Hythe’s reserves” and a seven-day approach has been put in for Terry Penfold, who scored six goals for Ashford’s reserves despite having joined from Welling United a month earlier.

Robbins, however, admits reserve team players can make the step up to Kentish Observer League level – as they’ve done at Sevenoaks Town.
Bob Pittaway and Derek Moore have signed many of their former reserve team players at Dartford to play for the first team at Greatness Park.
“There are some very good players at Ashford in both sides,” said Robbins.  “I can only say players play for managers.
“Paul Fisk and I obviously want to improve the side. There are a number of very good reserve players out there.
“Bob Pittaway has taken some good ones to Sevenoaks.  I will, however, be offering my former assistant, Martin Larkin the opportunity to come as a club coach, initially to re-shape the reserves.  Obviously I do expect a few seven-day approaches.”

Robbins final game in charge at Ashford saw his side, without a recognised goalkeeper, defeat Cray Wanderers 4-2 at Homelands.  “The lads gave me the perfect send off.  We as a team have scored 13 goals in the last three matches and remain unbeaten in four.”