Erith Town's incoming chairman reveals name change

Tuesday 23rd March 2010
INCOMING Erith Town chairman Roy MacNeil says he wants manager Steve O’Boyle to clinch promotion from the Kent League at the end of next season, writes Stephen McCartney.

The 55-year-old was the founder and chairman of Dartford Town Football Club - a successful local side that were formed in 1999 and are based at Central Park, Cranford Road, Dartford.

And Mr MacNeil, who was speaking for the first time to last night following the side’s 1-1 draw at Fisher, wants to turn the club into a Ryman League side.

Taking over from long-standing chairman Albert Putman in a couple of months time, he said: “I’ve got a bit of experience, expertise in the business side, expertise in marketing, players structure, coaching, things like that.

“My business background is in development.  I’m an UEFA B coach myself.  We run teams at a local level.  I run Dartford Town Football Club at the moment, junior to senior level.  I’ve been there since 2000 when we started the club,  We’re looking forward really.  I was invited to come to Erith and have a look and offered the position.”

Dartford-based MacNeil unveiled the plans for the club.

“We may be changing the name to Erith & Dartford Town Football Club,” he said.

“We haven’t approached (the Football Association) yet.  It’s in the pipeline as such, but that’s what we hope to do.

“It may be an amalgamation with our players coming in to form a larger squad.”

But the incoming chairman insists the club’s current manager's job is safe.

“Steve O’Boyle’s job is quite safe”, he said. “It’s an ironic question to ask the chairman who’s not taken over yet.  I like Steve’s approach, I like his attitude, very enthusiastic, very energetic, as are the whole committee at Erith and they want to go forward into the Ryman League next season if possible and that’s what we’ll be aiming to do.

“It‘s a wonderful committee, who work very hard, some very good players.  We need to improve in areas and Steve O‘Boyle will be given the tools to do that.”

Erith Town - based at the Erith Sports Arena at Avenue Road - applied for promotion into the Ryman League this season, but the athletics stadium does not have any covered stands and would therefore fail ground grading criteria for the next level up.

But Mr MacNeil revealed: “There’s plans to have 250-300 seats covered, which is underway now and will hopefully be in place for next season and perimeter fencing to make it a three-sided ground rather than just the one side, which Albert Putman is putting in place at the moment, so it’s looking good for next season.

“I’m not sure of the exact amount, it’s in the region of between £35,000 and £40,000 for the stand, the cover.”

He added: “I would say we’re looking to push forward from this season and challenge next season for (promotion into) the Ryman League.”

O’Boyle, meanwhile, admitted last night that this season has been one of disappointment and is now settling for a top-five finish.

They were pegged back by a last-gasp Luke Coleman at Champion Hill last night, after taking a first half lead through Adam Marsh’s looping over-head kick effort.

“Maybe the luck isn't with us but you make your own luck in football and the league table doesn’t lie and we haven’t been good enough this year,” admitted O’Boyle, when speaking to last night.

“I  would like to finish in the top five really,” he added.

The Dockers missed out on a top-six position following last night’s draw and now look forward to a trip to Deal Town on Saturday - before welcoming second-placed Herne Bay at home next Monday night.

“It will be really difficult away to Deal,” warned O’Boyle.  “Obviously they’re the only team that’s beaten us at home this year in the league and cups, very direct, a very physical side so it’s going to be another one of those games where we have to roll our sleeves up and go down there and be prepared to fight for our lives.”

Looking further ahead to a visit from Simon Halsey’s Herne Bay, a side that likes to get the ball down and play the way it should be played, the Dockers boss said: “Everyone’s talking about Herne Bay as a footballing side.  I haven’t actually seen them this season.  I do know Simon Halsey quite well from our Thamesmead days. I know the fact that he likes to get the ball down and play.

“Simon’s a very good coach and to be fair he’s come into management and he’s took it well.”

The Dockers’ reserve side travel to Metropolitan Police’s Imber Court Ground in West Molesey on Saturday as they bid to beat Vandanel Kent County League outfit Cray Valley to bring the London Intermediate Cup home.

And O’Boyle paid tribute to second string manager Paul Tuley for his efforts in the background, especially as reserve players like Salih Hafiz, Vincenzo Wade and Harry Montgomery were in the first team squad last night.

“They’re doing well, a lot of players have come through and played in the first team this year. Chris Tuley has done his job and he’s done well.

“It will be nice if they can go and win Saturday and bring a bit of silverware back to the club.”

Visit Erith Town’s website:

Deal Town  v  Erith Town
Bulmers Cider Kent League
Saturday 27th March 2010
Kick Off 3:00pm
At Charles Sports Ground, St Leonards Road, Deal, Kent