I don't want to be the manager of the football club again, says Welling United chairman Mark Goldberg

Thursday 23rd September 2021

WELLING UNITED chairman Mark Goldberg says he wants to appoint a new manager within the next two weeks.

Steve Lovell, 61, and his assistant Tristan Lewis both resigned on Monday after the club suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Harrow Borough in The FA Cup Second Qualifying Round last weekend.

Harrow Borough were in eleventh-place in the Southern League Premier Division South table ahead of their win at Park View Road.

The Wings, meanwhile, are struggling in the bottom three in the Vanarama National League South, having picked up a win and a draw from their first five league games.

Former Gillingham manager Lovell was in charge for 10 games in total.

“The first sign of it was when we lost to St Albans and we were only three games into the season,” Goldberg told the club website.

“I had signs already that both Steve and Tristan were losing faith in the squad that we put together.

“I had to pick them up to be honest with you because I felt they had gone out to play without central defenders available to them for various reasons.

"We’ve had players that were either suspended or injured or we hadn’t managed to bring them in on time and we ended up playing with left-backs at centre-half and a central midfielder at centre-back and it’s like going to war without ammunition.

“I had to make them realise that (we had to) wait until we’ve got round pegs in round holes and when you’re centre-halves are available and then decide whether you’ve got a squad capable of competing at this level.

“It’s no coincidence when we played well we had two proper centre-halves playing and I’m really pleased with the recruitment of Teddy Perkins and Bradley Pearce, both young and showing that they could be really great for the future of the club.

“Unfortunately, when it came to The FA Cup game we were without Bradley Peace because unfortunately he had a car accident and he had whiplash and we were unfortunate that Teddy Perkins was cup-tied, although I knew that when we signed him.

“We went into bat again with no centre-halves and I was hoping we would get through that first round and we’d get Brad back for the next round – but we didn’t.

“The disappointment was great and I knew we went into bat without the right tools, shall we say, that we really needed, so it wasn’t the end of the world for me, however disappointing it was. I was realistic.

“I shouldn’t be needing to pick up my management team, because if anything as chairman I’m responsible now to fill the gap for the money that we’ve lost by not getting through in the FA Cup, which is so important to the club and it means so much to me personally.

“I was a bit disappointed that Tristian and Steve decided to leave - but at the same time what I don’t want to do is pick up my management team.

“I want a management team that believes we are capable, however low the budget is, and it is, there’s no doubt about it, it is low.  They’ve been given the lowest budget since I’ve been at the club.

“But I believe in the squad that we’ve got is more than capable of competing when we’ve got the players available in the right positions and I’m hoping to prove that to the next manager that comes in.”

Goldberg revealed that he wants to appoint Lovell’s replacement within the next two weeks, with former Bromley boss Neil Smith in the running to return to Park View Road for his second spell in charge.

Goldberg was Bromley’s manager when they won the Conference South title in 2015, while Smith was his assistant manager, before Smith took the helm at Hayes Lane for five years and helped retain their National League status before controversially being sacked on 25 March 2021 despite the team sitting in the final play-off berth of seventh-place, where they were to finish under current boss Andy Woodman.

Goldberg said: “I did offer a manager that I would like to bring to the club who I think is extremely high pedigree and I think it’s fair to say that he’s not yet ready to commit because he is also aware that the budget is what it is and he needs to see if the squad is capable of developing and competing with and it’s only fair to him.

“He will be watching us over the next week or so. It may take a week or a couple more weeks and I’m hoping he will make the decision sooner rather than later.”

Welling United host league leaders Dartford on Saturday and Goldberg and Hugo Langton have taken training ahead of the local derby.

Steve King’s side have collected 16 points from their five league games and are two points clear of Maidstone United in the table.

“Although I took training with Hugo Langton, I don’t want to be the manager of the football club again,” revealed Goldberg.

“I only want to take the responsibility in order to ensure that we get the right manager on board and we steady the ship in the meanwhile.

“I know how people feel that the two of us aren’t the choice of the fans to be managing the club but I’m very grateful for Hugo for stepping in. He’s doing me and the club a massive favour and he’s given up other work to come in and help me and the club and we’re only doing it until we find a new manager.

“I hope the club and the fans will thank him for stepping in and helping the club.

“I’m only doing it until we can find the right manager.  Hopefully, it’s the manager that I’ve offered. If it’s not, I won’t stop until I find the right manager to take control, who believes in the squad in the way that I believe in them and we will compete at this level when we have round pegs in round holes.

“Those players need to know that we believe in them and they need the support,  It is a young squad but we have got the potential there, players who can be with us for many years to come if we can develop them with the right coach or the right manager, who can work with them.

“I’m quite excited about the future. I can understand from the fans’ point of view it was extremely disappointing to lose to Harrow Borough, who are a league below and we were expected to win but we did go out without any centre-halves.

“We had a right-back playing right centre-half and a left-back playing left-centre half and unfortunately there is no excuse for players not working hard enough or being fit but we are now training two mornings a week and we’re putting that right.

“We will develop their fitness and we will also make sure they’re fully prepared for games and they will put in the effort that the fans have seen has been missing.

“I really believe that these players want to be playing for this football club, the budget shows that and they’re here because they want to wear the shirt and I believe they will prove that they will earn the right to wear the shirt as well.  Hopefully, in time we will see this.”

Goldberg demands a positive reaction against Dartford on Saturday as they go in search of their second league win of the season.

“The one thing about Hugo Langton that no one can deny, his scouting reports are the best in our level of football at least and we’re really preparing for the game,” said Goldberg.

“We know Dartford’s strengths and we know in our mind that we can actually compete against them and where we can compete against them. 

“The least that we hope to see on Saturday is not only the hardest effort from every individual and commitment but also the fact that we can come out of the game and we can compete with this squad and for the fans to feel that the players have given everything they can out on the pitch, which is the minimum that I expect.

“I’d be very disappointed if on Saturday, no matter the score, that the fans will be clapping the players’ off the pitch.

“It’s been explained to the players and they all know that it’s the least that they owe the fans and for them to continue and be a part of the squad moving forward to show 100% commitment to the cause.

“Managing the side is not something I want to do long-term. I hope to have a time period that we find the right manager and I’m able to pass on the role to the right manager.

“What I’m hoping is that the players themselves are up for the game. They believe that they can compete with Dartford who are looking like they’re – I’m not saying running away with it -but they’re certainly up there competing for the big spots.

“This is a massive game for us for so many reasons, one to respond from that big disappointment of last week and for my set of players, our set of players, the clubs set of players to prove they’re more than competing at this level of football and that they are committed to the cause and they are proud to wear the Welling United shirt and that’s what I want from them on Saturday.”

Goldberg revealed that he is in talks with two centre-forwards to bring them in before the Dartford game.

“I can’t wait. I can’t wait. I’ve got two centre-forwards that I’ve been talking to and who I’ve spoken to Steve Lovell about and Steve agreed for them to come on board anyway,” said Goldberg.

“I can’t wait for the new manager and it’s all part of proving to the new manager that I’m hoping to bring in that he has a ready set of players that are only going to, shall we say, strengthen, what he’s seen so far.

“They’re coming within the budget and it takes time. Unfortunately, when you’ve got the budget that we’ve got, sometimes you’ve got to be patient and you have to wait for them to be available and for them to realise it’s not all about the money.

“Just to make it clear that all the players know they only get paid when they’re actually in the squad so it’s not affecting the budget. When one player fits into the squad someone, unfortunately, doesn’t but they realise that’s just the way things are and have to be as we’re sustainable as a club.”

Visit Welling United’s website: www.wellingunited.com

Welling United  v  Dartford
Vanarama National League South
Saturday 25 September 2021
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Park View Road, Welling, Kent DA16 1SY