Erith Town joint-manager Joe Ford: No one expected old Erith Town to be where they are in the league at the moment

Friday 09th October 2015

ERITH TOWN joint-manager Joe Ford says he is keeping his players’ feet firmly on the ground.

The Dockers are in second-place in the Southern Counties East Football League table on 22 points from 10 games, one point adrift of leaders Hollands & Blair, but with a game in hand.

Erith Town would have claimed top spot had they come away from Beckenham Town with a victory on Wednesday night.

A crowd of 110 were at Eden Park Avenue and were treated to a game of high quality with each side’s most impressive player on the night scoring.

Hassan Jalloh gave Beckenham Town the lead against the run of play in the first half with his 12th goal of the season, before Erith Town winger Ola Rabiu capped off an impressive performance with the second quality strike of the night.

“We didn’t go top on Wednesday night but we didn’t lose and that’s what we said at half-time,” said Ford.

“Beckenham Town will take points off a lot of teams this year. They’ve got good movement up front and they’ve got lots of quality in and around their side.  It’s evident, they’ve already done it against Greenwich Borough, who are obviously the favourites for the league this year.

“We’re very much getting the boys feet firmly on the ground. We’re not looking at league tables. I know it’s a cliché, you’ll probably hear it from every manager, but listen, we’re in a good position at the moment.

“I don’t want to be like a broken record, but after last year, it’s a fantastic achievement what we’ve done so far.”

The Dockers were battling against finishing at the foot of the table last season and had to settle for a second-from-bottom placing with 34 points from their 38 games, a point above Rochester United, who avoided the drop.

When asked what is the secret behind the club’s change in fortunes, Ford replied: “I said at the start of pre-season we’ve got a bunch of boys in who are enjoying their football again.  Lots of them have played at a higher level and they seem to be binding in what we’re doing.

“We’ve got a set way of playing, we like to play football and we just ask the boys to give us 100% in every game and that’s what they’re doing, apart from Bridon Ropes on Saturday and Corinthian at the start of the season.

“As long as they keep on doing it, we’ve got no complaints. We enjoy it. We get our heads screwed on, when we don’t have to and we have a good laugh.

“It’s a joy to work with the old man (Martin Ford) and do this with him. No special secrets, just hard work.”

Erith Town welcome Greenwich Borough tomorrow and their local rivals go into the game in fourth-place in the table with 18 points from 10 games.

“It’s a massive game. It’s one that we can go out and enjoy it,” said Ford.

“I know I keep saying that word, but at the end of the day no one expected old Erith Town to be where they are in the league at the moment.

“As much as we’re not getting roped into it, it’s a top-of-the-league clash on Saturday against the league favourites and rightly so.

“I’ve watched them play a number of times this season and they’ve been very impressive but they’ve come down to (Beckenham Town) to do their homework on us as well and I think that’s a nice sign of respect.  I expect Jenko (Ian Jenkins) and Blado (Paul Blade) to do that because they’re professional people.

“I said that to the boys in the dressing room, me and Martin both said it – they’ve come down to watch us so they’re obviously a little wary of us and rightly so because we’ve got a good side.”

When asked whether Erith Town can go on and win the league title at the end of the season, Ford said: “It’s early days yet! My answer off the top of the cuff would be probably not, but at the same time if we keep playing like the way we are, we’ve got a great bunch of boys wrapped around us at the moment and we’ll just take one game at a time and keep trying to play our football.

“I’ve got no doubt there will be teams from higher divisions that come in – the vultures are already swarming. We’ve already had a number of seven-day approaches come in for a few of our players and that’s a testament to them and if we can push players on to a good level we’re happy with that because this is really much a group venture.

“It’s not about individuals but the possibilities are endless if you’ve got a good squad wrapped around you and that’s what we’ve got at the moment.”

Ford knows it’s difficult to keep non-contracted players at the club with such approaches.

“It’s difficult. We’ve got a budget, everyone knows we’ve got a playing budget, but it’s not massive at all, contrary to what people think.

“If someone gets offered more money to play at a higher standard of football, how can you stand in their way?

“I won’t name names but we’ve had players offered money to play at a higher standard of football and they’ve stayed and that’s a nice testament to the club and the management side and the rest of the lads in there because players are coming in and are enjoying it with us and that’s the main thing.”

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Erith Town  v  Greenwich Borough
Southern Counties East Football League
Saturday 10th October 2015
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Badgers Sports Ground, Middle Park Avenue, Eltham, London SE9 5HT