A professional approach is the key to us doing well next year, says Erith & Belvedere boss Matt Longhurst

Saturday 16th May 2015

ERITH & BELVEDERE manager Matt Longhurst has reflected on an excellent first season in charge of the club.

Longhurst left Corinthian last summer to take charge at Park View Road to rebuild the club following the club’s disastrous one and only season in the Ryman League Division One North.

The Deres finished last season in third-place in the Southern Counties East Football League table and lost in the quarter-finals of The FA Vase to eventual winners North Shields.

“It’s been an excellent season with lots of positives,” Longhurst told the club’s website.

“We have broken numerous club records and the players’ and my staff can take the credit for what’s been an exciting rewarding and successful season at Park View Road.

“We came in with no players’, staff, equipment, tracksuits, training venue and training kit.  There was a hollow club that needed rebuilding and I'm proud of our achievement this season and I can't thank the board and chairman for being supportive throughout as they have really worked hard to make sure all our needs have been met.

“We have built a squad that has challenged for honours in our first season, reached the last eight of The FA Vase and finished a creditable third in the league.
“Presentation night (tonight) will be a great night to celebrate the boys’ achievements this season and thank my staff and the club for all the efforts this year.”

Longhurst said he is already putting plans in place for next season.

He said: “I'm already planning for next year there's no real rest for the management team.  Pre-season training and games are booked and arranged and I'm confident that we’ll hit the ground running again this year through our organised preparation and the continued improvement of the squad.

“Our recruitment this season will be much easier, identifying from March onwards what we lacked and what we need to improve and I'm pleased so far with our squad shaping up nicely.

“We have 80% of the squad signed again for next season already and three or four new faces already in with three or four more to come and we’ll continue with talks to the remainder of the squad that have been subject to approach by other clubs already this summer.

“Retaining the vast majority of last season’s squad is vital to our success. We have a core of loyal players and players’ that know what we offer here is difficult at our level in terms of professionalism to beat and a stadium and pitch that many admire.

“We can't compete budget wise with many clubs but having the right players motivated by football and a professional approach is the key in my opinion to us doing well next year.

“The players know my philosophy and I’ll stick to it at all times and I'm convinced we’ll have another successful enjoyable year and players will learn and become better along the way.

“We have a few target players I'm hoping to tie up in the next week or so and then we’re ready to go and I can't wait to get started again.”

Meanwhile, Longhurst, who is friends with Dagenham & Redbridge manager Wayne Burnett, has arranged a friendly with the Daggers at Park View Road on Tuesday 21 July.

Visit Erith & Belvedere’s website: www.erithbelvederefc.co.uk