It’s going to be harder now because every team now wants to beat Bromley Football Club, says Neil Smith

Friday 13th September 2019

BROMLEY manager Neil Smith says Eastleigh will want to become the first side to beat them tomorrow.

The Lillywhites travel down to Hampshire sitting unbeaten in third-place in the Vanarama National League table with 22 points from 10 games and only one point adrift of leaders Woking.

Bromley sent Chesterfield crashing to the foot of the table after beating them 2-1 at Hayes Lane last weekend and Smith is delighted with the way his side are displaying a never-say-die attitude during their games.

“I’m chuffed to bits with these boys,” Smith said on the clubs podcast, which was broadcast on its website

“The desire, the attitude, the will to win and play for each other and I’ll keep demanding it!

“We’ve not cracked anything. We don’t think we’ve made it. We don’t think that is it.

“It’s going to be harder now because every team now wants to beat Bromley Football Club.

“I relish it, it means we’re successful. I’d rather that than everyone wants to beat you because you’re bottom of the league. I’d rather everyone wants to come for you because of where you are in the top end of that division.

“What pressure have I got? We’re sitting third, it’s the best pressure in the world, rather than being down the bottom like we were this time last year.

“But it’s harder because now you’re everybody’s target. Being unbeaten is amazing, absolutely amazing, amazing to go through the whole of August with the amount of games that we’ve played, not being defeated but we know now every team wants to be the first one to beat us and I don’t doubt that from Eastleigh on Saturday.

“But we’ll make it bloody hard for them to beat us.  I think we have got a DNA that says we won’t give up.  To come back in the 94th minute at Dagenham & Redbridge to draw 1-1.  To go a goal down, within 10 seconds we’ve gone a goal up against Chesterfield, I think you’re seeing a belief in those boys.”

Michael Cheek sustained a black eye after scoring the winning goal against Chesterfield last weekend and Smith revealed that the former Ebbsfleet United striker is back in training.

“Cheek is ok,” Smith said of his five-goal striker.

“There’s no break, no fracture, the swelling’s gone down and we’ll assess him but that just showed the bravery of the boy to actually score the goal how he did.

“I think there’s competition for places, everybody wants to play and you’re doing well and that’s the nature of the beat.

“We’re not getting carried away, we’ve got a long, long way to go. We’re coming up to being a quarter through the season and if we can sustain where we are, it’s amazing, but we know it’s going to be very, very tough.”

Bromley have targeted  2,000 fans for the visit of Notts County to Hayes Lane in the Vanarama National League on Saturday 21 September 2019 (15:00).

But it was never like this back in the day.

Bromley travelled to Yeading and drew 3-3 on that horrific date of Tuesday 11 September 2001 and were third-from-bottom in the Ryman League Division One (Isthmian League South East Division in today’s money).

It was to be Bromley’s second point from their opening seven games and below them in the table were Barking & East Ham United and Windsor & Eton.

That game at The Warren came just hours after the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in America and will be best remembered for three red-cards during a very hostile game, as players’ on both sides came to terms with what they witnessed on their television screens.

But that was life at Bromley back then, struggling against relegation, struggling to pay the bills and low supporter numbers – but life at Hayes Lane is different nowadays.

Bromley hosting Notts County has a FA Cup First Round feel to it but under Smith’s excellent management of his home-town club, this is now a League fixture.

Notts County finished in nineteenth-place in the second-tier of English football at the end of season 2001-02 and their rivals that season were AFC Bournemouth and Brighton & Hove Albion – both now in the Premier League – and Chesterfield and Wrexham, who now play in the same division as Bromley.

“You’ve got National League there and it doesn’t say FA Cup First Round,” said Smith.

“It’s amazing but we want the numbers to turn out. That was amazing against Chesterfield, 2,000 of our own supporters. We want that sustained now. We want that every week getting behind us. It really gives the boys a lift to come out to that noise and atmosphere before a game.”

Chairman Robin Stanton-Gleaves, who took over from Jerry Dolke on the eve of this season, wants the Bromley footballing public to get behind their own against Notts County.

“We have made it an initiative in the club and we’ll come up with a target 2,000 but the target here is to have week in week out for a home game 2,000 as a gate and that’s one of our objectives within the club,” he said.

“Success on the field always breeds people coming so if we can also provide the facility where they can watch the game, enjoy the game, have a drink and something to eat when needed, that all helps but our first target is 2,000 spectators game in game out that’s the current target we’ve set ourselves.”

Stanton-Gleaves revealed that he paid for the new South Stand out of his own pocket and that the two floors at the back of the structure brings in 28-29% more revenue into the club as it’s let out commercially.

“We’re not finished, there’s another stand to go and I have a meeting with my planning man and a builder and we’re looking at the next project which will be exposed in due course,” said Stanton-Gleaves.

“I’m 51-years-old and I’m a little bit ancient in my view point. I actually think you should stand and watch football so don’t worry, I don’t think it’s until the Championship that we have to worry about an all-seater stadium so the next development, I hope planning allow, will certainly be to improve the stadium but it will be a modern style of terracing.”

Visit Bromley’s website:

Eastleigh  v  Bromley
Vanarama National League
Saturday 14 September 2019
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Stoneham Lane, Eastleigh, Hampshire SO50 9HT