Sunday 01st May 2005

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

I am not a quitter

DEFIANT Erith & Belvedere manager Steve Robinson insists he won't quit the Park View Road outfit despite the side finishing inside the Southern League Division One East relegation trap door, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Deres' 2-0 defeat at fifth placed Wivenhoe Town and Great Wakering Rovers' deserved 1-0 win at Chatham Town meant the Deres finished second from bottom and could be playing Kent League football next season.

"Obviously disappointed with the outcome," admitted Robinson.  "It was always going to be a very tough and tense weekend.

"We always knew it would be a difficult task to beat Wivenhoe away bearing in mind they are a good side and already made the play off's but we were very much focused on the game we could influence as opposed to the game at Chatham that we couldn't."

Danny Scopes' 73rd minute header sealed Great Wakering Rovers' escape but Robinson praised their manager, the former Dover Athletic and Margate star, Iain O'Connell.

"Full marks to Great Wakering for putting a superb run together towards the end of the season and Ian O'Connell, who I know personally, he's done a superb job and I wish him all the best."

Having taken over from Heybridge Swifts' bound Barry Lakin in January, Robinson had sixteen games to maintain the club's Southern League status, but the club managed to collect 15 points (four wins) and having three points deducted earlier in the season for fielding an ineligible player in Sebastien Ndombe the Deres have paid the ultimate price.

"Having taken over the role in January I always knew it was going to be a difficult job to keep us in the league, with the fixtures we had remaining that is," admitted Robinson.

"But I still felt confident we could do it and never imagined it would end on the last day of the season in the nature it happened.

"I've not really been involved with relegation as such in my playing career, which was somewhat new to me, but at times the players let themselves down in particular our home form at Park View Road."

When asked why his side had performed so badly at home - they had lost 14 league games at Park View Road, Robinson paused before answering: "Don't get me wrong, there were some games at home, against the likes of Wivenhoe, Fisher and Aveley, which we won, but the form wasn't as consistent as it should have been."

Speaking about his future, Robinson will be discussing that with his chairman John McFadden but if he is in charge of team affairs next season, Robinson will be giving some of the club's successful reserve team a chance to shine at first team level.

"I will sit down with the chairman and talk about the way forward," he said.

"For those who know me, I am not a quitter and never have been and I don't intend to do that now. 

"Knowing it was a tall order, taking it on in January, if the board decided if a change is necessary then obviously I respect them for that.

"It was very much a team I inherited whilst I've made one or two changes brining far more local players, I would retain one or two of the players I've got but look at what potential there is in the reserve set up as well as having a blend of experienced players locally."

Robinson added: "Obviously it's been difficult taking it on, with the resources I had and for those people that know me, behind the scenes I had worked tirelessly to make it happen.

"Certainly the wage bill during my reign had been cut drastically to a more realistic level, which I know the board was extremely pleased about.

"That said, there is a fine line between success and failure and sometimes it goes for you, Ashford Town are a prime example and sometimes it goes against you but I am a strong enough character to ensure I will be successful in the future."