Friday 03rd June 2005

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

Ready for their next challenge

THE Youthful management team of Mike Robbins (32) and Martin Larkin (24) have explained their reasons for resigning from their positions with Ashford Town's reserve side, writes Stephen McCartney.

The decision for the pairing was a difficult one, after what can only be deemed as a successful season, finishing in the top half of the Kent League first division after starting the campaign with no reserve players.

When asked the reasons behind the resignation, Robbins said: "Although I am only 32, I feel that I am experienced enough to progress up the non-league ladder.

"When the club appointed its fourth new management team (Tim Thorogood and John Cumberbatch) and overlooked myself and Martin, I felt it was time to move on.

"I am studying for me A Licence as we speak, and have ambitions much higher than the Ryman League.

"All that is needed is a chairman to take a chance on us."

The one thing that Robbins did achieve was player development, with no less than ten of his squad signing first team forms during the season, in which Ashford escaped the drop from the Ryman League first division by just one point.

"We tried to do everything as professionally as possible in the reserves and although sometimes results went against us my job was not to win games but to improve players," said Robins.

"I have no doubt that the squad that I had, if given a full pre-season would have been capable of playing at a far higher level.  Overall, I feel that 99% of the players improved."

Larkin, a qualified sports scientist, added: "I believe that the club has some very talented players and I hope they are given the opportunity to play at the highest level next season."

Larkin - the former youth manager felt it was a difficult decision to leave his home-town club.  "Working with this group of lads at my home town club has been a pleasure.  I just hope Tim (Thorogood) can keep them together."

When asked what his future holds, Robbins revealed: "We have had a few offers, including at Kent Premier League level.  Ideally the next step would be a first team manager at a club that is at least step five.

"I have had experience at Tonbridge, Barnstaple and now Ashford so I feel I am ready for the next challenge."