As a manager you always want to win the league, says Crowborough Athletic boss Sean Muggeridge

Sunday 15th January 2017

CROWBOROUGH ATHLETIC manager Sean Muggeridge says he would rather win the League title than lead his side out at Wembley Stadium for The Buildbase FA Vase Final.

The Crows thrashed their East Sussex rivals Eastbourne Town 6-0 eight days ago and have been rewarded with a home tie against Coleshill Town in last 16 of The Buildbase FA Vase on 28 January 2017.

Coleshill Town are currently in fourth-place in the Midland Football League table with a league playing record of 15 wins, three draws and seven defeats and are 15 points adrift of leaders Alvechurch.

Crowborough Athletic extended their club record unbeaten run to 30 games on Wednesday night when they defeated Bridon Ropes 2-1 in the Macron Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup.

The First Division side took the lead through Adam Saunders, but Crowborough left it very, very late to seal the victory, courtesy of two headed goals from Jason Barton and Ross Treleaven, but Muggeridge did make seven changes for the game.

Crowborough’s award is a home tie against Sevenoaks Town in the Quarter-Finals, while Sheppey United have been drawn at home to Holmesdale or K Sports; Sutton Athletic have been drawn at home to Whitstable Town and Cray Valley have been drawn at home to Ashford United.

Crowborough extended their unbeaten run to 31 when they thrashed Erith Town 7-1 at Oakwood yesterday to remain at the top of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 51 points from 21 games. 

Ashford United follow on 49 points from 21 games then it’s Sevenoaks Town on 49 points from 21 games; Sheppey United on 48 points from 23 games; AFC Croydon Athletic on 45 points from 23 games; Hollands & Blair on 45 points from 22 games and Whitstable Town have climbed up to seventh-place on 42 points from 23 games.

“Every team wants to beat us and players’ play 10 out of 10 to try to beat us and there’s no easy games in this league,” said Muggeridge.

Crowborough Athletic also reached the Fifth Round of The FA Vase during the 2007-08 season and Muggeridge says everyone was buzzing after thrashing Eastbourne Town in the last round and looking forward to their next challenge.

“It’s not so much winning games in The Vase, it’s the draw on Monday and it’s the buzz it gives the whole club,” he said.

“That’s why we won that Eastbourne game because of  the spirit and togetherness and we’ll go as far as we can in it. The further we go, the better it will be for the other competitions because it’s just given us a buzz and the whole town a buzz.”

When asked whether Crowborough Athletic can reach the Wembley Final, Muggeridge, who lives in Tunbridge Wells, admits: “It’s going to be tough because of the northern sides.  I read the report of the Morpeth and South Shields game and South Shields have got (Julio) Arca, who was playing for Sunderland, that’s the sort of quality you’ve got to come up against.

“I think you need a little bit of luck, which is obvious. It’s an awkward one because with a little bit of luck we can get there but I’m confident we can get there but saying that it’s going to be tough.”

Crowborough Athletic are also fighting for two Sussex County cups too and when asked whether he would rather win the League title to return to the Isthmian League or lead his side out at Wembley Stadium for The Buildbase FA Vase Final, the Crows boss replied: “League, 100%, yes, league definitely. As a manager you always want to win the league. I will stand by that.  League, Vase, Sussex Cup, the League Cup and the RUR Cup, we’re in the Semi-Finals.

“It’s nice to win the League Cup but you want to prioritise. In the Sussex Cup we might have Brighton because they’ve got Pagham, that’s another prestigious game and the Final is at Brighton and obviously The FA Vase is at Wembley, so if you can get to a Final and play at a lovely stadium some of the players have never played before but the League Cup wasn’t a priority.

“I’m not being disrespectful to the League or anything like that. We played Eltham Palace where we won in extra-time. It was for the fringe players but it hasn’t turned like that now. We haven’t really got fringe players because we’ve got quality all through the squad. We are taking it seriously but the league is the main thing.”

Crowborough Athletic travel to second-from-bottom side Beckenham Town on Wednesday night and the Eden Park Avenue clash kicks off at 7:45pm.

“I’ve said it before, we’re going to get beaten at some point. We were quite close at Bridon Ropes but I just say, why do we need to get beaten? We don’t look like it at the moment.”

Visit Crowborough Athletic’s website:

Beckenham Town  v  Crowborough Athletic
Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Wednesday 18th January 2017
Kick Off 7:45pm
At Eden Park Avenue, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3JL