Friday 30th September 2005

Luchford parts company with Hythe

Hythe Town's preparations for tomorrow's FA Vase Second Qualifying Round against Wessex League side Moneyfields have been rocked after assistant manager Justin Luchford parted company with the club on Thursday, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Reachfields Stadium outfit were hoping for a Kent derby against Tunbridge Wells, but Wessex League outfit Moneyfields thrashed Kevin Metcalf's side 5-0 in the first qualifying round (replay) after the two sides played out a goalless draw at Culverden Stadium.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk, Luchford explained why he has come to the decision to leave the club after three years service - and has nothing but admiration for manager Paul Fisk.

The 28-year-old said: "I left the club on Thursday, and parted company with not just the club but with one of my closest friends in Paul Fisk.

"Paul brought me in about three years ago as reserve team manager and after half a season he made me his number two.

"We have both worked tirelessly to achieve what we have done over the past few years and have worked with some great players.

"As I have said previously, we seem to complement each other by what one lacks the other excels in."

Working with Fisk has put Luchford in good stead to become a manager himself.

"Paul has taught me many things in football, which I hope to put into action one day," he revealed.

"His experience and knowledge has been just two areas that have helped me develop my managerial skills as well as my coaching ones.

"I have enjoyed being at the club immensely, working with Paul and the players.  Regrets? Perhaps a few but only ones that I will learn from in the future."

Speaking about why he has decided to leave the club, Luchford added: "There are a few reasons for me leaving, but I would like to confirm that under no circumstances was my decision influenced by a flaw in my relationship with Paul.

"We are still very good friends and I wish Paul all the best for the season and future - I have no doubt we will be in contact regularly.

"Most of my reasons I will keep to myself as I don't want to talk negatively about the club in anyway.

"I think the club is going through a frustrating time at present, and perhaps a transitional time with a few players coming and going out and Paul will certainly get the right balance again soon - I am sure of that."

So what does the future hold for the 28-year-old?

"I have no plans at present but I do feel I have learnt an awful lot since being at Hythe Town," he said.

"I may only be 28, but contrary to certain members at the club (not Paul or the players), I do have experience in the game, playing as well as coaching and management.

"I hope one day to put my experience to the test and at some point I hope to get back involved and maybe take a managerial position in the future.

"I am young, therefore not many clubs may think that someone my age will be able to do the job, but I believe I can.

"I have always believed in my own ability, and thanks to Paul, I have no doubt in my mind that I would be a successful manager should the right club and position become available

"Football is about opinions and everyone should be respected for their thoughts and ideas.

"Hopefully over the last couple of years people have started to respect me a little, which will enable me to succeed in the future.

"I am very enthusiastic in all that I do, including football and I have what some players and managers lack sometimes and that is belief.

"Belief that I will succeed and belief in my ideas and thoughts towards the game.  With belief I can be and will be a success in the future."

For the time being, Dover based Luchford will have a rest from the game, but will still be supporting Fisk and the players after a couple or weeks or so once the dust has settled.

"The players on the whole have been excellent towards me and I would like to thank the skipper Ian Hayes for his support, also through the tricky times.

"A thank you also goes to the chairman Paul Markland for his support to me and the directors - although I think some of them still believe I am just the helper at the club!

"Finally, once again a big thank you to Paul Fisk.  His passion for the game is second to none.

"I have enjoyed working with him immensely.  He has gone through some really bad times but has kept going and fighting to the end.

"He will be a success and perhaps people should start to realise what he does at the club.

"Hythe used to be the whipping boys and now they are respected and that is down to him.

"I have nothing short of admiration for him and hope one day, I can replicate some of the things that he has done."

Hythe Town v Moneyfields
FA Vase Second Qualifying Round
Saturday 1st October 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Reachfields Stadium, Fort Road, Hythe