We would love to be up there challenging for the title and promotion. I think a club like this should be at a higher level of football, says Erith & Belvedere joint assistant manager Andy Constable

Wednesday 10th August 2022

ERITH & BELVEDERE joint assistant-manager Andy Constable says he was feeling frustrated after his side crashed out of The FA Cup at the first hurdle last night.


Tony Beckingham’s men suffered a 3-2 home defeat to an impressive Raynes Park Vale in the Extra Preliminary Round, after coming away from Grand Drive with a 1-1 draw against ten-men at the weekend.

Erith & Belvedere kicked-off their Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division campaign by beating bottom-two finishers Lordswood courtesy of Rory Ward’s strike on the opening day.

The Deres have increased their playing budget this season, you can only have to look at their line-up last night that the club are going for it this season.

Quadruple winners Sheppey United (102 points) and Chatham Town (100) were miles in front of everybody else last season and kick-off their Isthmian League South East Division campaigns this weekend, while Erith & Belvedere had to settle for a top six finish.

“Budget wise, it is what it is,” said Constable.

“People can make assumptions of what money it might be but I’m never going to give that away but obviously we don’t have some of the quality of player that we’ve got without having a budget of some sort.

“It’s fair we’re going to be asked questions about that with the players’ that we’ve got here.

“We would love to be up there challenging for the title and promotion.  I think a club like this should be at a higher level of football and if we can go the full season and get better as we grow as a squad together then there’s no reason why we can’t go and challenge.

“The bottom line is though that does take time sometimes.  Teams need to gel. We might not get it right with the personnel straight off the bat and that could change throughout the season but certainly we’ll be giving it our best shot to go out and win every game of football that we play.”

Constable has enjoyed a glittering non-league career and the 43-year-old striker notched his 400th career goal while playing for Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division rivals Holmesdale towards the end of last season.

When asked whether he will be a part of the playing squad this season, for a club that he scored 64 goals in 88 starting appearances between 2011-13, helping Micky Collins seal the Kent League double, Constable replied: “I am just assistant manager.  I have signed a form and I did make the bench for the Lordswood game but it purely is for emergency only.

“Management is frustrating, it is tough. I feel like I want to be involved in the game.  I’m working with Tony Beckingham who is a very experienced manager so I feel like we’ve got a good set-up behind the scenes.

“The transition’s tough especially when you’ve played as long as I have.  I was lucky to play as long as I did. It’s never going to be easy to let go of that but who knows? Maybe I’ll get a run out in the Hospitals Charity Cup or something like that.”

Now that Sheppey United and Chatham Town have been promoted, a number of clubs have put their hat in the ring to be challenging for promotion – and Constable insists Erith & Belvedere will be one of them.

“I think once sides like that are out of the picture with what they’ve done, with a record number of points, they were just on a different level, it’s insane!

“We know there’s an opportunity there but there’s also a lot of other teams who will feel the same.

“You’ve got Phoenix who have come down and Whitstable, they’ll want to bounce straight back up. Glebe finished third last season and they’re going to want to have a go again.  You’ve got teams like Deal Town who are a very good side.  You’ve got Kennington, who I feel a lot of people underestimate but they have a very close nit squad and they know how to play their pitch (artificial pitch at Ashford United’s Homelands). It’s a very tough place to go and get results.

“There’s a lot of sides who are going to be challenging for that promotion spot.

“The FA made it difficult for everyone by only giving us one automatic promotion spot.  There’s a potential play-off against a Step Four side but it's very tough to finish in the top two places. It would be lovely to see some kind of play-off, similar to what they do in Div One.  I think it would help keep the league more competitive throughout a season because it gives teams lower down the table to still try to achieve something.

“I think it’s going to be a very enjoyable season. I think it’s going to go down to the wire.  People do say it’s six or seven teams that can have a go.  You know as well as I do league titles typically go down to one or two sides, maybe three at a push.  Let’s just hope we can be a part of that.”

The Deres travel to K Sports on Saturday for their second league outing and Constable revealed last night that he will be at Cobdown tonight to scout George and Ian Batten’s side, former team mates when the trio were playing for Sheppey United.

The Paperboys’ came away from Isthmian League South East Division side Whitehawk with a goal-less draw at the weekend in The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round.