Thursday 21st April 2005

Bromley have plenty in reserve

DESPITE this being his first season as a manager following a career with Bromley, Leyton Pennant and Cray Wanderers, Andy Silk, the reserve team manager at Bromley is on course to land his first piece of silverware, writes Stephen McCartney.

Bromley make the trip to Chatham Town's Maidstone Road ground on Saturday and meet local and divisional rivals Beckenham Town in the Go Travel Kent League Reserve Division Cup Final.

Bromley re-introduced their reserve team at the start of this season and entered the second division.

Topping the table for most of the campaign, Whitstable Town have since overtaken them but Bromley are still on course for promotion into the first division.

The Oystermen, however, have a nine point lead at the top  - Bromley were deducted three points earlier in the season - but they are still two points clear of Beckenham Town and with a game in hand.

Silk, an unused substitute in Bromley's Ryman League draw against Metropolitan Police at Hayes Lane on Tuesday night, admitted he is enjoying life as a manager.

"Yes, we've done well," the utility player said.  "I said to you at the start of the season that it's all a learning curve, not only for the boys but for me as well.

"It isn't all about getting points and winning titles - that's a bonus - it's getting the likes of John Hind, Tom Stradwick and Bernard Labadie into the first team.

"Anything else is a bonus including the cup final.  It's a nice thing for the club but I've said to the boys to win a cup gives them a bit of glory."

Playing their home matches at Cray Wanderers' ground at Oxford Road, Sidcup, postman Silk praised his backroom staff for their assistance.

"Obviously when I'm playing Gary Hewitt and John Robinson are doing a lot off the pitch.  We've had a few ups and down's but you're going to."

Being successful at reserve team level may land him a job at first team level, but Silk is taking everything with a pinch of salt.

"I am still learning the trade and I am really enjoying it," he said.  Future? Who knows, who knows? You don't know what could happen.  Anything could change quickly and you don't know what's around the corner but at the moment I am really enjoying it."

After being handed the job of reserve team manager by Stuart McIntyre in the close season, Silk is now working under Billy Smith and George Wakeling - the manager that gave him his chance to shine for Bromley after progressing through the club's Suburban League side into the first team after joining from local side St Andrews.

Silk's greatest moment was turning Graham Roberts inside out and finding the top corner of the net in Bromley's brave 4-3 defeat at Yeovil Town when the Somerset side were playing Ryman Premier League football.

Silk, however, admits he is taking all the good points from the managers he's played under throughout his career - and putting his own bubbly personality into management.

"Every manager is an individual.  Every single person puts their own personality on the way they play.  I couldn't say one was better  than the other.

"I spoke to a few people before I took the job.  As a manager you literally take the good bits out of everyone, not just the first team manager here at the moment but the managers through when I was under George here years ago but the managers at Leyton Pennant to Cray - everyone.

"You take the best bits and hopefully put your little bit of authority and personality on it as well."

And Silk's youngsters aren't just going to Chatham just to make up the numbers.

"It isn't worth turning up if you don't think you are going to win," he said.  "As you say it's for the boys, if they want it on the day.  We are one of the best teams in the league - there's no reason why we can't win it.  We go there full of confidence and give it our best shot."

Silk is confident some of his reserve team squad can be knocking on the door of first team boss George Wakeling in the not to distant future.

"Obviously the young ones like John Hind, Giovanni Marino, are one's for the future.  But there's so much potential there.  I keep telling them, whether it's this year, the following year, or whenever, there's plenty of potential there, it's up to us and the players to fulfill it."

Beckenham Town v Bromley
Go Travel Kent League Reserve Division Cup Final
Saturday 23rd April 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Chatham Town FC, Maidstone Road, Chatham