Friday 08th July 2005

Hythe management team relish challenges

The assistant manager of Kentish Observer League side Hythe Town, is relishing the challenges he faces, writes Stephen McCartney.

Justin Luchford understands money talks - even in the Kent League.

They have lost Mark Pollard and Roy Godden to rivals Deal Town and Michael Yianni has signed for Ryman League newcomers Ramsgate.

"Mark and Roy have left the club by mutual consent and have decided to carry on their careers at Deal Town, the 28-year-old revealed in an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk

"The main reason behind the move has been money.

"We have always tried to do the best with what we have got with limited resources and will continue to do so.

"However, when a club comes in and offers the kind of money that Deal Town did, then you reluctantly have to let players go.

"Both myself and (manager) Paul (Fisk) thank Mark and Roy for their contribution to the club over the past couple of seasons and wish them both well for the forthcoming campaign."

But the Reachfields Stadium outfit are always looking to improve on their previous campaign.

"We go into the season with our eyes wide open as usual," Dover resident Luchford admitted.

"We have our own targets of course, but we set out in similar fashion this year and that's to beat our points total of the previous season.

"We did not do that last season but we did replicate the 6th spot in the table, which was pleasing.

"We will obviously aim higher but appreciate the amount of good sides in the league."

But Luchford and manager Paul Fisk work hard to bring success to the club.

Luchford added: "We work hard to give the players every opportunity to do well for the club and themselves, and if they back us like we back them. 

"I don't see why we can't have a good season and finish slightly higher than last season."

Luchford first came across Fisk when he was playing for Folkestone's reserves when Andy King and Fisk became second string managers, appointed by Neil Cugley.

"Our relationship has grown over the years and one thing has become apparent and that is we are both winners," Luchford said.

"We work together as we are like chalk and cheese.

"What one of us lacks the other excels in.

"As I am still very young when it comes to coaching and being on the management staff, I have learnt and continue to learn a lot from Paul.

"I enjoy working with Paul immensely - we do not always see eye to eye on everything, which I believe is healthy but we both agree that two heads are better than one.

"Paul's football knowledge is excellent.  He knows how to get the best out of his players and that is one thing that he has taught me over the years.

"We speak daily and are always looking for ways to improve the side going forward and the club.

"Paul is an excellent manager and as I have said, a winner, which is important at any level."

The management team have not stopped since the end of last season and are always in contact with a number of players, some of which they will announce shortly.

"It would be unfair to name names at this stage but let's just say that we are always open to players who think they may be able to add value to our squad," said Luchford.

"We are always on the look out to strengthen our squad."

But Luchford has no hard feelings for Ramsgate bound, Michael Yianni.

"We wish Michael all the best at the higher level and hopes he succeeds."

Luchford, however, admits its sometimes difficult to gain the respect of players, who are also 28.

He said:  "Being relatively young, the hardest bit is getting respect from the players as most as either my age or have known me for many years.

"This is my hardest job every season, but I think I am getting there.

"On the whole I think players do respect me and are willing to back both myself and Paul with what we believe in."

This is the first article I have personally written since the terrorist attacks in London yesterday morning, Thursday 7th July 2005.  Therefore, I would like to dedicate this to all the innocent people that lost their lives in our capital city.

Stephen McCartney