We’re not going to be in fear of it, we’re going to have a go at it but at the same time we’re fully aware of the task ahead, says Thamesmead Town boss Tommy Warrilow
THAMESMEAD TOWN boss Tommy Warrilow says Sunday’s FA Cup tie against Billericay Town has put the club in the spotlight.
The Mead vacated Bayliss Avenue at the end of last season and secured a five-year deal to hire Princes Park Stadium in Dartford and they are preparing for their biggest game since moving when Glenn Tamplin’s circus is in town for a Second Qualifying Round tie.
Billericay Town have the largest budget in the Bostik Premier and many star names including Jermaine Pennnant and Paul Konchesky in their ranks, which will put bums on seats on Sunday afternoon.
The Essex outfit are top of the Bostik Premier with six wins out of seven with 18 points on the board, three points clear of Hendon, Leiston and Wingate & Finchley, while The Mead are in thirteenth-place in the Bostik South, having collected two wins and two draws from their five league outings.
“It’s had a lot of media attention this week, it’s the most I’ve had for a long, long time being manager of Thamesmead. We’ve seem to go under the radar,” said Warrilow.
“We’ve moved on to Dartford to try to reinvent the football club and a new injection with what’s gone on regarding Bayliss Avenue last year and previous years and we’re trying to move on with a positive note.
“When you have a good couple of wins in The FA Cup, it’s nice to get a draw against a side that’s probably the most talked about side in non-league football at the moment.
“We have to make the most of it off-the-pitch as well as on it. We have to try to raise people’s awareness that we’re looking for main sponsors and small sponsors to help push the club in the right direction.
“The draw itself for that side of it, I don’t think it could have been any better.”
Tamplin has certainly ruffled feathers around non-league football in the manner that he has changed Billericay Town’s fortunes both on and off the pitch, creating interest mostly through social media and the national media.
Warrilow said: “I’ve gone on record all week, I find it quite baffling that people are having digs at them because I don’t see what harm Glenn’s doing over there.
“I went to see them against Leatherhead the other Saturday and got treated thoroughly professionally and knowing how the Billericay of old was and it’s only a positive for football and the area.
“It was always a hostile place to go and get a result and now it’s become like a proper football club. The change, you’ve got to go and see it to believe what’s going on over there, not just on the playing side but off-the-pitch, the facilities, the pitch and it’s looking to go from strength-to-strength so good luck to them.”
Victory for Thamesmead Town on Sunday, will go down as the club’s biggest ever result in their 48-year-history – but Warrilow is such a man that can pull off a giant-killing act. Remember Tonbridge Angels knocking Oxford United out of The FA Trophy just weeks after taking over at Longmead Stadium?
“From our point of view, there’s no point to going out there and be in awe of it and if we do give it the best we’ve got, you can’t ask for much more,” said Warrilow.
“What’s not accepted these days is when teams win sometimes people say how bad the other team was and nobody walks off the pitch and says they were better than us!
“I want us to go out there and do the right things and be organised and who knows? It’s not impossible, but it’s a big ask.
“I’m banging the drum to get the mental side of our game right these days, not just the physical side. It’s what you do without the ball. The way football has changed over the years and the have brought into it and that’s why we’ve become a difficult side to beat because we’re disappointed when we come off the pitch with draws.
“There’s no hiding it, we’re going to be playing a really good team on Sunday but I’ve got to worry about my side being organised and doing the right things and making their life as difficult as possible.
“Billericay’s (ex-pros have) all had a fantastic career and they’re playing on the same pitch as what my lads are and it is the League above. I’ve seen them and they’re good players and have had fantastic careers and they’ve still got a few more years left in them in non-league football.
“I’ve got no qualms with what we’re coming up against and my lads, I’ve got some youngsters in there who are going to be very good players and I think they can push on, and it’s up to them to go out and make it as difficult as possible for them.”
Despite a universal difference in playing budgets, The FA Cup has a habit of creating giantkilling acts in each round every season.
Warrilow guided Thamesmead Town to the Third Qualifying Round for the first time last season in his first season at the club.
“We took it the furthest it ever went last year in the FA Cup, which brings the financial rewards with us and that is key to us. It’s important that we’re getting all this media attention for this game because we’re playing Billericay, it’s nothing to do with Thamesmead so I’m not naïve or stupid enough to believe that,” he said.
“At the same time we’ve got to use this platform. We do need help at the moment. The chairman (Paul Bowden-Brown) is doing it all on his own. We’ve got no reserve team or youth team set-up, that all walked out last year and stayed at Bayliss Avenue.
“It’s all about rebooting and restarting the football club. We’ve got an apprenticeship scheme running, it’s in its first year and we’re looking to do that all over Kent.
“For us, off-the-pitch, it’s a massive game but for me I’m trying to help off the pitch with the chairman but I’ve got to concentrate on the pitch and most importantly try to get us out of Bostik South, which is easier said than done and also address this game on Sunday, like it’s not an impossible game to go and win, which it isn’t.
“I fully appreciate and respect Billericay but at the same time I’m treating them no different to anyone else. You’ve got to treat everyone the same, whether it’s Billericay or the team bottom of our league at the moment, they’ll be treated the same.
“The only difference on Sunday, as we know, we have to try to be patient and keep the ball the best we can because it might be one of those games where we might not have it.
“We’re not going to be in fear of it, we’re going to have a go at it but at the same time we’re fully aware of the task ahead.”
Visit Thamesmead Town’s website: www.ttfcofficial.org
Thamesmead Town v Billericay Town
The Emirates FA Cup Second Qualifying Round
Sunday 17th September 2017
Kick Off 2:00pm
at Princes Park Stadium, Grassbanks, Darenth Road, Dartford, Kent DA1 1RT