I expect us to be challenging for the title in three years' time, says Deres boss Longhurst

Wednesday 31st December 2014
ERITH & BELVEDERE boss Matt Longhurst says it will take him three years to guide the club back into the Ryman League.

The Deres suffered a poor season last year when they finished rooted to the foot of the Ryman League Division One North table with six wins and four draws from 46 league games.

Chris Cosgrove parted company with the Park View Road club and Longhurst left Corinthian to take over.

Longhurst guided the Deres to the top of the Southern Counties East Football League table but they slipped down to second after losing their third league game of the season at Phoenix Sports last weekend.

Unbeaten Phoenix Sports leapfrogged over Erith & Belvedere to the summit after Yacine Gnahore drilled home the only goal of the game just before half-time in front of 286 fans at Phoenix.

“Phoenix are top of the league and rightly so,” said Longhurst.

“They’re the best team, they’re top of the league, they’re the team to beat and at the moment all the teams in the league are all trying to vow for that top position.

“Perhaps that will help us now. The fact that everyone’s going to go to Phoenix and play against them and they’re top of the league, maybe there’s a different incentive for teams now.

“But In three years’ time I expect us to be challenging for the title here.

“Micky Collins took three years (to win the title for Erith & Belvedere), Simon Halsey took three years (for Herne Bay to win it). 

“I don’t think it can happen overnight. If it did, we’re not saying we don’t want it to happen overnight.

“If it did it will be miraculous but my biggest thing is if anyone wins the league this year other than Greenwich Borough while Greenwich Borough are in this league, whoever wins the league, if it’s not them, I believe it’s probably the biggest achievement in Kent League history to win the league with the budget they’ve got.”

Phoenix Sports are top of the tree with 45 points from 17 games, while Erith & Belvedere are in second with 44 points from 19.

Pre-season Favourites Greenwich Borough lie in tenth-place with 28 points from 15 league outings, but having lost three more games than Phoenix Sports, Steve O’Boyle’s side have taken the favourites’ mantle away from Ian Jenkins’ men.

Seventh-placed Canterbury City visit Park View Road on Saturday, 3pm.

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