Wednesday 12th January 2005

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TIM THOROGOOD has asked all supporters of Ashford Town to get behind the club as they bid for Ryman League Division One survival, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Homelands outfit are second from bottom in the table, seven points adrift of Banstead Athletic - a side they lost 1-0 at Merland Rise last Saturday - in a game Thorogood returned as manager following the departure of his close friend, former Tottenham star Terry Fenwick.

The 43-year-old regretted leaving his managers post earlier in the season, stating demanding work commitments as the reason for standing down, but Thorogood - also the club's chairman - is back in the dug-out after Tony Reynolds and Fenwick's reign's only brought two wins in the league this season, leaving the club with a massive fight to beat the drop.

Bexley based Thorogood said: "No, we won't appoint a new manager.  I will stay in charge for the rest of the season.

"I think stability has been a problem at the club with three managers already this season, including myself."

Thorogood, although disappointed to lose such a big game last weekend, admitted he was satisfied with the players response following Fenwick's departure.

"I don't think we can fault the players, they applied themselves very well," he said.

"I didn't really have to tell them much, most of them voiced some of our concerns one way or another.

"They had a lot of respect for Terry Fenwick, but they weren't surprised with his departure, with the results we've had."

Thorogood, however, admitted sacking his close personal friend - who play golf and holiday together - was hard to stomach.

He said: "He is a personal friend of mine and to be honest it was the most difficult thing I've ever done.

"We are very good friends and it was something I didn't enjoy at all.

"There were others at the club that voiced their opinions.  If we had a chance to make the break we had to. Two wins from 23 games has left myself 19 games to resolve it - if we don't we will get relegated," he warned.

Thorogood announced John Cumberbatch - the father of Erith & Belvedere defender Marc - and loyal club servant Ian Ross will assist him in their battle for survival.

"I've stayed in touch with John after I had Marc on loan at the club last year," Thorogood said.

"He brought in several players for us and will be good for the club.

"He has previously worked with Barnet and around the football scene and knows a few players.

"Ian Ross, however, was one of our players whose unfortunately had a bad break of a leg over a year ago.  He has stayed with the club and he is going to help us too."

After losing their "six-pointer" at Banstead Athletic, Thorogood's rescue bid continues with two home games this week.

Fleet Town (Saturday) and Hastings United (next Tuesday) visit The Homelands and Thorogood asks fans that have stayed away to return in their droves.

"We need to win every game, don't we?

"It's a fine line between winning and losing.  We were the better side last Saturday by a mile. 

"Perhaps we've forgotten how to win at the moment.  Winning is a habit and we've lost that habit," Thorogood said.

Hard work from the players, fantastic support from the terraces and championship winning form is needed to preserve their Ryman League Division One status.

"My only plan is to keep us up," Thorogood insisted.

"We have to work hard, change things and keep us in the league - nobody has done anything without hard work!

"There's a lot of passionate fans at the club that care.  We need the fans that have stayed away to come back - we need your support!

"Football is all about the fans and the community. Ashford has been very fortunate with the fan base it has got.

"It takes us all to get through the bad times - because the good times will come back."

Ashford have already used 49 players in their first team this season, and the chairman/manager added: "We've had up to 50 players at this club and that hasn't created a good stable condition to enjoy football."

Ashford Town v Fleet Town
Ryman League Division One
Saturday 15th January 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at The Homelands, Ashford Road, Kingsnorth

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