Friday 10th December 2004

The Kent Website
Supporting Kentish Football

Wakeling demands commitment

A LOT has changed since his first spell at Hayes Lane but new Bromley manager George Wakeling is still adopting his traditional values after replacing Stuart McIntyre at the helm at the Ryman League Division One club, writes Stephen McCartney.

Wakeling, 61-years-old this year, initially joined Bromley in the summer of 1990 from Leyton-Wingate and succeeded in restoring the club's (Isthmian) Premier Division status at the first attempt.

He kept the club in the top flight year after year, on a shoe-string budget, before leaving the club for pastures new to join Ashford Town in 1999.

He then brought the Southern League Eastern Division title to Hastings United before teaming up with close friend Billy Smith at Carshalton Athletic, as assistant manager, bringing Nationwide Conference South football to Colston Avenue for this season.

In an exclusive interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk Wakeling admitted it was hard to leave Colston Avenue but jumped at the chance to return to his beloved club.

Speaking about Carshalton boss Billy Smith, Wakeling said: "We are great pals and it was working really well over there.

"We were pleased with what we were doing in the Conference South.

"We both felt we would stay in it this year, working on a low budget over there.

"It was hard to leave him but on the other hand, Billy is happy.

"It's my decision, whatever decision I wanted to make, I knew Billy would go along with it."

When asked why he has returned to Bromley, Wakeling added: "Basically, I was asked too.  I've been asked in the past and my heart's there so I've come back."

Wakeling has given the players at Hayes Lane an ultimatum - to put in the performances, loyalty and commitment - or find another club.

He said of his new bunch of players: "I haven't had too many opportunities to see them play.  I've watched them a couple of times this year.

"It's a hard time to come in but my aim is to get the best out of the lads that are here and if they don't come up to my expectations then I have to replace them."

Wakeling revealed he didn't say much to the players at training last night, but added :"I told them what I am about.  

"I laid down one or two ground rules and look forward to meeting them on Saturday."

Goalkeeping coach Derek Parnham is expected to keep his role but long-suffering fans will be pleased to hear that a former Bromley hero, and manager,  is back at the club as assistant manager, replacing Grant Watts.

"Del seems to be a Bromley boy and I am happy with him"

Wakeling revealed the identity of his new assistant manager - for the remainder of the season, at least.

"Frank Coles - because I know he will give me 100% in his honesty and loyalty and total commitment, which I always had from him when he played for me.  I need a person like him to work with."

Wakeling, however, hasn't promised promotion at the end of this season, but he has promised to fulfill the club's ambitions within two years.

He said: "I am putting this situation into two sections.

"I am looking at the bigger picture than this season.

"I see chairman Jerry Dolke, with the plans he has lined up for the club, which are really exciting.

"I do believe if promotion doesn't happen this year, I am going to make something happen very quickly, if it's possible."

And Wakeling gave a blunt message to the club's players.

He said: "I want to bring back what I had when I was here before.

"I demand the commitment from the players, that's what I've always done in nearly thirty years as a manager and that's what I expect now and to be honest if It doesn't happen, I will make sure promotion happens the following year because I've had more time and more scope.

Wakeling's first game back in charge is at Horsham tomorrow, and he is expecting a tough game.

"In some respects, to be totally honest, they are one of the best sides in the division," he said.

"It's a question of picking people's brains and people picking a side and I'm going to get the best out of them.

"We can go there Saturday and hopefully, if we get something out of it, it will be a bonus.

"At the end of the day, I'm just going to take it one game at a time and hopefully we will get better as we go along.

"I don't know if we can make the play-off's but I am looking further ahead than that.

"People that know me, will know, it will happen one way or another.

"It will happen (promotion), whether it will happen this year, I can't honestly answer that.

"The team have been underachieving - they have picked up four points recently - but I've been told the performances weren't very good.

"However, I'm not interested in the past - but Saturday onwards.

"I am really looking forward to it!"

Horsham v Bromley
Ryman League Division One
Saturday 10 December 2004
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Queen Street, Horsham, West Sussex