Stansfeld boss Lloyd Bradley retires at the age of 59: Ater speaking to the chairman on my return from holiday it was agreed that I would stand down and make way for someone younger

Tuesday 06th June 2017

STANSFELD manager Lloyd Bradley says he’s hanging up his tracksuit at the age of 59.

Bradley guided Eltham Palace to a bottom five finish in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division last season and the club will revert to Stansfeld FC next season as Eltham Palace sink into the history books.

“It is with great sadness that I part company with Stansfeld O&B FC by mutual consent,” said Bradley.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my four years with the club and made some very good friends both on and off the pitch.

“I am pleased to say that I achieved everything that I promised at the start of my reign at the club, after being asked by club chairman Ian Rooney to try to bring the club out of the downward spiral it found itself in after previous manager Tony Saunders decided to resign.

“I am very proud that I not only reversed the clubs fortunes, but helped to add to Stansfeld’s rich history.

“In my first season, we reached the Semi-Finals of both the Inter-Regional League Cup and Kent Intermediate Shield, as well as a top-five finish in the Kent County Premier Division.

“In my second season, we again reached the Semi-Final of the Kent Intermediate Shield, but went one better in winning the Inter-Regional League Cup and also finished as runners-up to a very good Metrogas side in the Kent County Premier Division.

“Season three was my most successful winning more silverware. We not only finally made it to the Final of the Kent Intermediate Shield, we won it in fine style with a 4-0 hammering of our great rivals Metrogas.  We had further success when we beat Kent Invicta side Seven Acre & Sidcup 2-0 in the Hospital Charity A Cup.

“We also again had a top-five finish in the Kent County Premier Division.”

Last season, meanwhile, was a confusing one.  Eltham Palace kept their name in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division but really it was Stansfeld Oxford & Bermondsey Club playing their fixtures with Bradley their manager but the team wearing Eltham Palace’s kit and players arriving in Stansfeld’s tracksuits.

Stansfeld agreed a groundshare deal with Glebe FC and this remains in place for next season.

Next season the name of Stansfeld FC will be in fixture lists and league tables in Step Six.

“Last season was by far my toughest and it was well documented some of the problems we had as a team throughout the season and personally have never known a season like it,” admitted Bradley.

“I was never able to pick the same XI players for two games on the bounce, so in the end it was a tremendous achievement that we finished 21 points clear of bottom placed Lewisham Borough and we were even 10 points clear of third-from-bottom Meridian VP, so we were never in any trouble with regards to relegation.

“Although the committee only set us a target of survival, we set ourselves a goal of finishing tenth, but unfortunately our poor start to the season meant we came up five points short of that target and the record of 14 wins, 16 draws and 24 losses is certainly not the worst set of results for a first season at a higher level.

“The icing on the cake came with us retaining the Hospital Charity A Cup with a comfortable 2-0 victory over League opponents Phoenix Sports Reserves in the Final.”

Bradley has returned from a holiday and has discussed his future with chairman Ian Rooney and the pair have decided to part company by mutual consent.

Bradley said: “I have just returned from two weeks holiday and was initially really looking forward to the coming season and I had a lot of new ideas of how to improve things.

“Next year was to be my last season before retiring, then hopefully I would have joined the ranks of the committee in some role.

“I was particularly looking forward to playing under the Stansfeld banner again, especially after the difficulties and confusion of playing as Eltham Palace last season.

“And the prospect of managing in The FA Cup and FA Vase again really excited me.

“But after speaking to the chairman on my return from holiday it was agreed that I would stand down and make way for someone younger.

“I would really like to thank all the players that played for me during my time at the club, also the manager’s, coaches and assistants, without who’s help I could not have achieved anything.

“I would very much like to thank all the clubs supporters, who have always been brilliant to me from day one and also a thank you to the clubs very generous sponsors.  Finally, I would like to thank the Stansfeld committee for their help and support in my four seasons at the club.

“My biggest thanks of all must go to club secretary Colin Lush.  Lushy is the best secretary I have ever worked for and with. He has been a massive help to me personally during my time at the club. Nothing is too much for him and he is a major reason for any success the club has.  It has been an absolute pleasure working with him and I am convinced he could easily do a job at a much higher status club, as he is so dedicated, efficient and professional. The club would be lost without him.

“I will really miss everyone at the club but I will do my best to take in some of the games and catch up with everybody.  But previous managers tend to stink the place up and often add unnecessary pressure on the new manager.

“I am really proud of my achievements at the club, four trophies, three Semi-Finals, two top-five finishes and a runners-up in the League is a pretty impressive haul in the four seasons I was there.

“I leave the club in great shape, having set up the club website, suggested Twitter and 100 Club, established a good relationship with the local paper in Bermondsey and formed a great partnership with local photographer Andy Clay, whose superb images now adorn the club and League websites as well as appearing with credits in the local paper.

“It is a shame it ended like this, as I would have loved to continue raising the club’s profile but I wish the club every success in the future and send my very best wishes to everybody for the new season.

“I have no plans to start again anywhere else and I will now be officially hanging up my tracksuit.”