Overall, I'm happy that we've stayed up. We've had a good run in the Kent Senior Cup so I'd probably put it down to a success to be fair, says Hythe Town player-manager James Rogers

Thursday 28th April 2022

HYTHE TOWN player-manager James Rogers says his first five months in charge at Reachfields Stadium has been challenging.

The 37-year-old defensive midfielder took the reins on 23 November after Steven Watt stepped down due to a budget cut.

The Cannons maintained their Isthmian League South East Division status after finishing their 38-match campaign on 39 points, six and nine points clear of Phoenix Sports and Whitstable Town respectively, who have been relegated to the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division.

A crowd of 1,019 watched Folkestone Invicta reach their sixth Kent Senior Cup Final after first-half goals from strikers Ade Yusuff and David Smith sealed a 2-0 win at Reachfields Stadium last night.

Rogers reflected on his 31 games in charge of the club, where he has won six, drawn 10 and lost 15.

“It’s been tough, we’ve had a lot of challenges at this club when we took over. We’ve had a budget cut and we’ve had injuries to key players and it’s been really tough,” said Rogers.

“We’ve managed to get some players in and we’ve managed to create a group that’s tight-nit and a good changing room and that’s a long way and this got us some points this season.

“As you can see last night we can play as well when we believe in ourselves and I think we probably need to believe in ourselves a little bit more but we competed with Folkestone, who are a very good team.

“Overall, I’m happy that we’ve stayed up. We’ve had a good cup run in the Kent Senior Cup so I’d probably put it down as a success to be fair.

“I would’ve wanted a few more points in the league but we were learning on the job as well so we’ll take it.  Overall, I’m happy.”

Rogers said he has learnt about the challenges that come from football management – and it’s even harder when you’re wearing the number four shirt out on the pitch.

Rogers said: “Did I know what I was taking on when I agreed to it? Probably not!

“I’ve learnt a lot about myself.  I’ve learnt that I’m a control freak but it’s tough being a player manager because you’re out there. You’re in the think of the action and it’s heated and you need to try to keep your head and at times it’s been tough.

“I’ve got team mates out there and every ball they’re kicking and every header and every tackle and I’m in there with them and the pressure comes back to you so it’s been tough.

“I’ve had Tom Wynter with me who suffered a bad injury in our first game, he’s been great on the touchline and Will Graham has been with us and he’s a very good coach.

“We’ve had good support and the board have been great.  They speak to us and they’ve been good as gold.

“There’s been no pressure from them at all. They just said to me ‘keep us up’ and we’ve done that so we’ve been set a target and we’ve achieved it so I think they’re happy.”

Rogers will be returning to Reachfields Stadium this evening for a meet-a-manager event and Rogers wants to also sit down with the board to confirm his playing budget for next season.

When asked whether he will be staying at the club next season, Rogers replied:  “There’s a supporters’ meeting which I’ll be going to and we’ll take it from there.  I can’t really answer that at the moment because I don’t know.  I’d like to think so. I’d like to think we can all come to an agreement. It’s all about budgets.

“I like this football club, I’ve been here three years now, it’s a good football club, it’s run by good people so in an ideal world yes, I’d like to stay as manager and we’ll push on next year.  Until the budget talks have been spoken about and what’s going to happen next year, I can’t really answer that at the moment.”