Sunday 17th July 2005

Rams relishing Ryman campaign

Warren Schulz, an influential member of Ramsgate's Kent League double winning squad, has admitted everyone at Southwood Stadium is very excited with what lies ahead for them, writes Stephen McCartney.

The 26-year-old midfielder, who lives in Thanet, said in an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk "All of us are very excited.

"There's a lot more games in the Ryman League and we need a much bigger squad than we had last season.

"All of us are all looking forward to it.

"We were all delighted winning the Kent League and it was a really good achievement.  We all stuck together and I thought we deserved it."

Schulz, whose brother Ollie plays in defence, is expecting a tough campaign in the Ryman League first division.

He added: "It's going to be a lot harder, that's why we have brought in the players to our squad - it is going to be a big test for us."

Rams manager Jim Ward has a tried and trusted management team.  His brother, Danny assists him and coach Mark Harrop has put the players through their paces.

Ward has completed five close season signings to add experience to the squad of talented local youngsters.

David Cory, who scored the first goal in Saturday's 2-0 win over Erith & Belvedere at Southwood Stadium, and Dean Hill have both signed from Southern Leaguers Sittingbourne.

Michael Yianni has come from Hythe Town, Richard Sinden (Herne Bay), Steffan Ball (Dulwich Hamlet) and Mark Munday, 34, signed for the club at the end of last week from Folkestone Invicta.

"He's the sort of player we need in our team," Schulz said of Munday.

"He's got the experience, he's been there and done it and will be a big help for our team."

Schulz feels they will do well in their debut campaign - and they are looking at Cray Wanderers as an inspiration.

Ian Jenkins' side came out of the Kent League this time last year and finished in sixth place, losing in a play-off semi-final at Horsham but were in the promotion pack for most of the season before hitting a bad patch of form at the end of the campaign.

"I think we'll hold our own in there, definitely," Schulz added.  "Hopefully we can follow what Cray did, reaching the play-off's, I can't see why not."

And his manager, Jim Ward, is counting down the days to their opening league game on Saturday 20th August at Burgess Hill Town.

"It's just around the corner, well it's something to look forward to, that's the first thing," he said.

"We've got Burgess Hill Town, who are no doubt one of the favourites to be up there.

"They are a big club with a new manager.

"I'm going down to see them on the 9th August.  I know its a pre-season friendly but it gives me a chance to see what's what.

"But we are going there with our eyes wide open.

"We've got our good points and we've got our limitations but we've got what we've got.

"We are a good club.  The team spirit is absolutely fantastic."

Ramsgate chairman Richard Lawson and his team have made huge strides in recent months to get their ground up to Ryman League standard.

And having visited Southwood Stadium for their Kent League win over Greenwich Borough in April, the ground has changed since then.

New turnstiles have been erected, more fencing installed and the training pitch side of the ground has been fenced off, so fans will have to settle to watch the game around the other three sides of the stadium.

But most of all, there is an air of excitement and expectancy.

And Ward has revealed once again to www.kentishfootball.co.uk they want to follow Cray Wanderers into the play-off mix.

"We've set bonuses in line for the players, top six at Christmas and top six at the end of the season and doubled if we get promoted," he revealed.

"There's no negative talk, we've signed some good players and we are really looking forward to it, that's more than anything else.

"We go in with our eyes wide open, we know what we need to do and it won't be through the lack of effort or organisation, we've got all of that.

"Mark (Harrop), Danny and myself will get them fit and organised.  There won't be another club with more spirit than we've got."

Ramsgate is a good place to be at the moment, with new sponsors wanting to be apart of the club during these "exciting times".

"I know we've got to provide something on the pitch for the fans and hopefully we can, and give exciting days.

"Don't let anyone take us likely!"