Thursday 23rd June 2005

Sevenoaks' new additions breed confidence

KENT LEAGUE side Sevenoaks Town are working hard in the close season as they work towards improvement both on and off the pitch, writes Stephen McCartney.

And in an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk the club's general manager, Graham Logsdon reveals the Greatness Park outfit have made several changes as they bid to improve on the eleventh place they have achieved in their first two seasons back in the league.

"Again I look upon it as a further step in terms of consolidating within the Kent League itself," said Logsdon.

"We've had some changes this year, some enforced," he added.

"The first team manager, Gary Davies, has retained his job, with two new assistants."

The club have appointed a new reserve team manager.

Gary Hunt has joined the club from Nationwide South club Welling United, as the Park View Road club have pulled their reserve side out of the Kent League after only one season.

"There will be reserve team players from last season," said Logsdon.

"It's a blank sheet at the beginning of the season.  Those that show well will obviously be up for selection."

Sevenoaks will have two new youth sides at under 16 and under 18 level, playing in the MUSH Kent Youth League.

Their under 18's side will consist of seventeen-year-old players as they undergo a two year programme with the club.

"We are still exploring the possibilities of ladies football," revealed Logsdon.

"Obviously that's something that is in the pipeline - it's a big step for us.

"It may not come to tuition this season but it's something we are taking seriously.

"There's funding available and I've had a few responses as we have advertised locally, but we need to spread the net a little wider.

"If there is a response (via this website) from ladies that want to play football, I would like to talk to them, and a manager."

The club have taken aboard a new groundsman and are currently refurbishing their clubhouse.

"There's work to be done on the ground and we're in the middle of a major refurbishment of the clubhouse, including installing SKY TV.

"We are also exploring the possibility of an open day, which will hopefully have a five-a-side tournament down at Greatness Park in August - if there's enough interest."

The tournament will coincide with the opening of the refurbished clubhouse.

So how does the Sevenoaks stalwart see the forthcoming season.

"We are looking to improve, we've had two seasons where we've finished in the same position and the expectation now is to improve our league position," he said.

"We are not going to win it as it's the same old story where those with the finances will be vying for the top positions, but I think we will improve our league position - that is the expectation.

"The reserve team have historically done well.

"With the new regime this year, it's an open book, with a lot of new faces anyway, but the expectation is always there."

Four of last season's under 18 squad, were drafted into Gary Davies' first team squad and did well.

But Logsdon admits the club are moving in the right direction - albeit slowly.

"There's always a certain amount of trepidation," he admitted.

"Hopes are always high but realistically it's down to the players that are selected, to produce the results.

"You have to be optimistic in football because if you don't, you pack up and go fishing.

"Financially our books are clean but in financial terms, monies available to players we are not in the top six, but I am not privy to other club's finances, but we always start with a clean slate.

"We need companies to advertise with us, we have a couple of new ones this year, and it's fair to say, will help our cause considerably.

"We continue to experience outlays, such as refurbishing the clubhouse and equipment to maintain the club at the correct level.

"I think it's a club that are moving in the right direction.

"On the personal level I would like to see it move a lot quicker with money available.

"I would like more money to get more quality players.

"Our youth policy worked well last year but I don't want the mercenaries that come for the money when its here and when it's not will go.

"We are a good club - albeit slowly, we are progressive.

"We are aware the pitch needs improvement, that's why we've got a new groundsman to maintain the pitch but we think we conduct ourselves in the right fashion.

"We don't pile good money after bad.  The purse strings are held by the chairman, and quite rightly so.

"We have to operate within the constraints we have.

"We've recently had to take over the whole of Greatness Park in running the football side.

"We now have a substantial lease on the clubhouse and pitch number two.

"We have to move the club forward both on and off the field - once the work off the pitch has been completed, I am sure any spare monies will be used for players."

The club will make their debut in the FA Cup this season but Logsdon is fully aware a winning team breads financial awards.

"The club itself has made tremendous strides in the past five years," he said.

"Our gates were down last year, which reflects that we weren't winning enough games.

"If you win games, the gates will improve, but that happens at all levels.

"Winning sides always produce high gates"