Sunday 17th April 2005

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

It was a mistake letting me go

RAMSGATE secured the Go Travel Kent League title on Saturday with a 2-0 success at bottom-of-the-table Lordswood and manager Jim Ward has proved to his former employers Maidstone United they've made a big mistake letting him go at the end of last season, writes Stephen McCartney.

Goals from Shane Suter and former Dover Athletic striker Shaun Welford earned the Rams their tenth away win of the season and made sure they clinched the championship with one game to spare.

They will be presented with the championship trophy in front of their own fans at Southwood Stadium next Saturday when they end their league campaign against Ward's former club Maidstone United.

Speaking in France earlier today, a delighted Ward said: "It's a great day for the club.  I've won it a couple of times myself.  I feel pleased for my staff, players and committee because the next thing is promotion,"

Or is it? Ward revealed: "We've had no correspondence from the FA.  We have to wait for all the leagues to finish and see what happens."

But Ward believes his club will be given the green light for promotion as the club carry out the necessary improvements before the deadline of Saturday 30th April - the date of their Kent League Cup Final against runners-up Herne Bay at the Westbourne Stadium, Cheriton Road, Folkestone.

"The money being spent is colossal.  The chairman has really stuck his hand in his pocket to pay for it all.  The ground's looking superb," he said.

Ramsgate prefer to play in the Ryman League first division next season, and if they do, they will entertain a side who were playing Conference football only four years ago.

"How could Ramsgate be in the same league as Dover, as a few years ago they were in the Conference?" added Ward.

"We've got to get promotion first but we don't know anything about the play-off's."

Although teams in the Ryman, Southern, Nationwide North and South know who they will play in their play-off's why haven't the FA revealed details about the play-off structure for their feeder leagues?

"Believe me, we should know," said Ward.  "The FA will know more when the days go on, but I guess 30th April is the next big day, we've got a cup final that day as well."

Reflecting on their win at Lordswood, Ward added: "It was a nervous game.  We've already beaten them twice this season, 2-0 and  7-1.

"It's a hard thing when your favourites.  The lads came through the end with quality goals from Shane Suter and Shaun Welford.

"Except for five minutes in the first half, Lordswood didn't offer much but they had five players booked - they didn't turn up and lay down."

Ward will relish the chance to hold aloft the championship trophy right in front of his former employer, Maidstone United chairman Paul Bowden-Brown.

"I don't need to rub the dirt in anybody's face or tickle their bellies.

"That is entirely down to Maidstone making the decision 12 months ago letting me go and it's up to him (Bowden-Brown) how he feels about the day.

"Over the last six years I've won it (Kent League championship) three times, came runners up twice.  It doesn't take a lot of working out does it?

"He made his bed and he can lay in it, it's up to him.

"I am really pleased for Danny (Ward) and Mark Harrop.  They've certainly put more than their two bobs worth into it."

Maidstone's loss is Ramgate's gain.

Ramsgate v Maidstone United
Go Travel Kent League Premier Division
Saturday 23rd April 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Southwood Stadium, Prices Avenue, Ramsgate