Cugley reflects on the highs and lows of last season

Wednesday 17th May 2006

Last season was undoubtedly a successful season on and off the field for Folkestone Invicta with the Club consolidating their status as a competent Ryman Premier League side and making real progress with club finances, writes Andy Bown and Tom Marchant -

Manager Neil Cugley reflected on his highlights of the season recalling: “Obviously getting to Chester was great for the club when you think that when I came here we were a mid table team in the Kent League and then this season we were running out against a professional side, so it was a proud moment for me.

“Also at the start of the season we had a very small squad and we picked up enough points and that was the determination of the team which was really nice to see”.

Casting minds back to the day in Chester, in the first round of the FA Cup, Cugley said: “I was optimistic anyway and you believe that it might be your day and you can get a result. When we went 1-0 up I honestly thought we’d at least bring them back. It was a great experience to manage at a place like that and funny enough I get more nervous against lesser sides – they’re not as enjoyable as you have everything to lose!”

Cugley also talked about what he thought were the not so enjoyable aspects to the season.

“When you lose games and go on bad runs it’s not nice and when we run the squad right down people were getting a bit worried after Jimmy Dryden went – it was a big decision to let him go.

“Around that time we went to Margate and got a draw and we were basically down to the bare bones so that was the lowest part of the season”.

Dryden went to local rivals Dover Athletic in a deal that saw pacy striker Walid Matata come to Cheriton Road and establish himself as a firm favourite with the Invicta faithful.

However, Cugley’s dealings in the transfer market didn’t stop there as he went on to restructure both his playing and non-playing staff, arguably giving him the strongest backroom set up he has had at the Buzzlines Stadium.

“I was really grateful to the board for backing me to bring in Mark Saunders, Mark Patterson and Richard Langley and to get the club going again,” he said.

Invicta experienced a tough start to last season losing 4-1 away at AFC Wimbledon who incidentally went on to reach the Ryman Premier play offs losing out at the first attempt to Fisher Athletic who sealed promotion with a 3-0 victory over Hampton and Richmond.

The Invicta boss added: “We didn’t have a very good start to the season and we had some very tough games first up – I think we had all the top teams in the first five or six games so it was always going to be hard to get going.

“I hope the fixture list is a little kinder to us at the start of next season so we can get into mid table or above straight away.”