Tuesday 24th May 2005

Please credit article to Stephen McCartney - www.kentishfootball.co.uk

Ashford working jointly towards success 

ASHFORD TOWN chairman/manager Tim Thorogood insists he has learnt from the mistakes made last season and he is working very hard to bring the good times back to The Homelands club, writes Stephen McCartney.

And in an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with www.kentishfootball.co.uk Thorogood reveals John Cumberbatch, who was his assistant at the end of last season, has been appointed joint-manager to work with the Homelands chief.

Ashford Town, who finished only one point from safety to maintain their Ryman League Division One status last month, are starting afresh this time out and have already started their preparations for next season.

Thorogood revealed his squad have already had one training session and they will start pre-season training at the beginning of next month.

"We are not going to make the same mistakes as last year, we are looking at new players and when they sign I will divulge their names," he said.

After losing Matt Bower and Paul Jones to their local rivals Folkestone Invicta, who will be playing Ryman Premier League football next term, Thorogood wishes the pair good luck in their quest to play at a higher level.

"They both wanted to play at a higher level but that's not an issue from where I see it," he said.  "Good luck to them.  I spoke to both players and I'll always have time for them both.  They are both nice men, two very good, key players but that's football and we move on."

Thorogood said he will start with 18 players with one or two making the step up from the club's reserve side.

Speaking about the appointment of Cumberbatch as joint-manager, Thorogood explained:  "If I'm not at training or a match for whatever reason it makes it very difficult for your assistant for players to see him in the same light as me.

"It's a joint effort and to be honest with you, John has brought in several new players, who will respond to him.

"But we want all players to respond to us equally and that's why we want a situation when someone's not about players can see us as a joint team."

When asked if he was going to leave on the pitch matters to Cumberbatch to concentrate on running the business side of the club, Thorogood said: "I will be doing the same as previously.  We felt it was important because of the amount of training we are doing.

"They're times when business or personal parts of my life when I'm not necessary going to be around.  If I'm not I don't want the players to look at John and feel there's an issue with him being there rather than me.

"If the manager's not there, players don't always respond the same way to the assistant.  As John takes a lot of the sessions, certainly pre-season training, he will do all the fitness work, if I'm not there I don't want the players to say that I don't care.

"I think it's important as we both have the same input in team talks, coaching, the way we want to play and the team we want to choose.  So basically if we are doing it together we are both the managers.

"We think it's a better way to do things."

Thorogood is relishing next season and cannot wait for the new Ryman League division one campaign to get underway on 20th August.

"That's the reason why we are coming back early - we won't make any mistakes like we made last year," insisted the chairman.

"This club will see a completely new attitude, a completely different situation and discipline level including the management and we want people to come to our games and be proud with what we are producing.

"We will work twice as hard and that's why we need two managers as in effect we've got a lot more work to do and we'll share the work load.

"That's the biggest issue for John and I this year and that's to get it dead right and bring the fans back to Ashford instead of driving them away."

Thorogood demands 120% commitment from the players this season and wants everyone to work in the same direction - both on and off the pitch.

"We've already had one small session with some of the new players, just to meet eachother.

"Like I say we will continue in the first week of June.

"Believe you me, there won't be a hard working management team in this league, or anyother, than us.  We will do extra sessions now and during the season and we demand 120%.  We won't put up with any slackers this time."

Thorogood is very excited about next season - and so should every Ashford Town supporter.

"You always learn from your mistakes," he said.  "And you don't make them again or try not to make them again.

"The first mistake I made last year was to stand down as manager.

"I want John fully involved because I don't want the mistakes made last year to be made again.

"It's better to have two people, bouncing ideas of eachother and discussing things.

"When you've done as badly as we did last season, and we did, I think we did exceptionally well in difficult circumstances (to stay up) you can only be excited about it (next season).

"We are going to have new players and the chance to have a full season on what WE WANT and not survival."

And the Homelands chief gave this message to many of Ashford Town's disgruntled fans.

"I apologise to the fans for not meeting expectations but I can guarantee, without fail, they will not be making the same (negative) comments.  They will enjoy, and be proud of us and be optimistic about the future.

"I know, without fail, we will not even be anywhere near where we were last year," he promised.

The Homelands outfit, however, are currently in discussions with several clubs with regards to pre-season matches but they do host newly promoted side Bromley at The Homelands on Saturday 30th July (3pm).