We need to accept the reality and use this as an opportunity to rebuild and try to come back stronger next season, says relegated Erith & Belvedere boss Luke Coleman

Wednesday 24th May 2017

ERITH & BELVEDERE manager Luke Coleman says he has been given the task of bouncing back next season.

The club finished at the foot of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table last season with 26 points from their 38 league games, suffering relegation along with Fisher.

John Wilfort quit the club and Jamie Leggett took charge of Erith & Belvedere’s 2-1 home win over Corinthian on 4 March, before Coleman took over as manager with Leggett staying on for the rest of the season.

But nine defeats in their last 10 games sent Erith & Belvedere through the trap door.

Coleman has met chairman John McFadden this week and has been tasked of winning promotion at the first attempt.

“Clearly it was disappointing for everybody concerned to be relegated last season,” said Coleman, who is in his first managerial job.

“I came in quite late in the day and it was simply about keeping the club in the League.  Unfortunately, we were unable to do this, but I think rather than ponder over the negatives, we need to accept the reality and use this as an opportunity to rebuild and try to come back stronger next season.”

The Deres play at Park View Road, a stadium that is a National League graded venue – and the pressure is on Erith & Belvedere to win promotion at the first attempt from Step Six.

“My concern is that people are likely to think that because Erith & Belvedere have good facilities and are quite a big club for the League that there is an entitlement to come straight back,” added Coleman.

“However, I will be stressing to all of my players for next season that unless we start right from the first session of pre-season, it is going to be a difficult season.

“Myself and the club have sat down after the dust settled.  We were naturally disappointed but I agreed with John McFadden that myself and my newly assembled management team would continue next year.

“The club and I have agreed some things, which I think are important to the foundations of having a successful season next year.

“The discussions I have had with the club have been largely positive and appears that we all have the same intensions.

“Nobody wanted to be relegated so it is paramount that we do all we can to come straight back up.

“As I have said, the club want to be at the best level possible and I think that we are all pulling in the same direction.

“I am young and ambitious so it will be my aim to come back up and I am trying to assemble a competitive squad that is capable of doing this.

“In regards to my plans for preparing us, I have agreed to bring in a number of new players, which I think is imperative to strengthen us next season.

“I think the League will be competitive next season and there will be a few sides who anticipate they can do well.

“However, that is the type of challenge that players should relish and I believe that the players I have brought in have the ability and character to embrace that.

“We have a number of pre-season friendlies, which we have worked hard to arrange.  I think this will be a good opportunity for us to get things right, ready for 5 August, when the important games start.

“At the stage I came in last year it was difficult to change too much.  I do think that the League position did not reflect a lot of the players’ ability last year.

“I thought that there was a clear lack of confidence.  However, next season is a clean slate and I would like us to be confident in the way we do things but professional.

“There will be some that are likely to stay with me from last season but some that will be moving on.  That’s the fluid nature of football.”

Glebe won the Southern Counties East Football League First Division by 12 points in Adam Woodward’s only season in charge at the Chislehurst based club, before quitting to take charge of Erith Town.

“I thought that the way Glebe won the League last year is a good example of how we need to be next season,” said Coleman.

“Whenever I saw them they were professional and approached every game with the same mentality.

“I thought that started with the club itself and then the management team and filtered onto their players.  I expect us to follow suit and that will start when we commence pre-season at the start of July.

“I do not want to say too much on what new players we have agreed to sign at this stage or confirm my management team but both will be confirmed in the coming weeks, I am sure.”

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