Erith & Belvedere appoint Michael Cooper as acting chairman: My main concern is that John McFadden gets well as soon as possible and that I steer the club in the right direction
MICHAEL COOPER says he is considering stepping down from his joint-assistant managerial role following his appointment as acting chairman at Erith & Belvedere.
The Deres sealed a successful season in Owen Jones’ first season in charge of team affairs at Park View Road.
They beat their league rivals Bridon Ropes 4-1 after extra time to win the London Senior Trophy for the first time on 24 April.
Erith & Belvedere then claimed the Hospitals Charity Senior Cup by beating Sutton Athletic 5-3 at Park View Road on 13 May.
And on the morning of Cray Valley’s heartbreaking 3-1 extra-time defeat to Chertsey Town in The Buildbase FA Vase Final at Wembley Stadium, Erith & Belvedere received the news that they were promoted with Southern Counties East Football League First Division champions Welling Town after finishing runners-up a point behind of Louis Dean’s side.
John McFadden was appointed chairman after replacing Dave Clancy in July 1992.
Mr McFadden was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Wednesday 3 April 2019 after complaining of breathing difficulties and was transferred to Kings College Hospital to undergo an operation.
“John is still in Kings recovering and we hope to see him back at the club very soon,” said Cooper.
“I have worked with John here at Park View Road for a few years and thoroughly enjoyed my time, firstly as a Deres fan and then John asked me to go on the board.
“I declined at first because I had just finished a spell at Greenwich Borough Football Club and didn't really want to get back too involved too quickly.
“John asked me a couple more times as did Martin Tarrant, who was a director at the time.
“Eventually I agreed and I joined the board and I’m really pleased I did!”
Moving forward to last season, Mr Cooper added: “Last season we lost our secretary Alan Heath to Meridian VP and somehow I got lumbered with the secretary job!
“I was also asked by manager Owen Jones to help him as joint-assistant manager, alongside Brian Vanderhook.
“With John still in Hospital the club needs to keep moving forward so we (the board) have decided to appoint an acting chairman. I was voted in to be that man.
“My main concern is that John gets well as soon as possible and that I steer the club in the right direction. I just hope I can do John proud.”
Reflecting on their successful season last time out, Mr Cooper said: “Last season for me as a director was probably one of the best season's we have had for a very long time.
“The achievement by Owen and the players was truly spectacular. If you consider Owen was new to us in June or July and every player was new to us from July.
“Not one player from the previous season stayed and for us to win two knockout tournaments and promotion finishing one point behind a very good very strong Welling Town side was Brilliant. I'm very proud.”
The club are now preparing for life back in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division after a two year absence.
However, Jones has lost the services of midfielder Ramell Lake, who has agreed to sign for Welling Town, the side that beat them to the title by just a point.
“Next season we know is going to be a real test we are not having any silly thoughts of winning the league,” said Mr Cooper.
“But we have to be ambitious as well as realistic and if we can have a nice cup run and consolidate ourselves in this division for the first season or two.
“Maybe we can encourage a bit more support and then have a serious go at the title.”
Mr Cooper now begins the search for a replacement secretary and a member to join Jones in the dug-out as he focuses on his acting chairman role.
“For me personally next season I'm going to have to find someone to be secretary - and maybe even temporarily step down as assistant manager which will be hard as I've got used to the changing room banter and working directly with the players,” he said.
“But if it's for the good of the club I will do what is necessary. We have already started working on the playing side for next season Owen and Brian have spoken to one or two players things are looking ok we have a couple of Step Five players and a Step Four player interested in coming in.
“We have spoken to last season's players we have agreed with some to stay which we are very pleased with we knew one or two would be going and we thank them for their work and wish them all the best for the future.
“On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone for their support last season.”
To apply for the current vacancies, please email Mr Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit Erith & Belvedere’s website: http://erithandbelvederefc.clubbuzz.co.uk