I felt it was the right time to call it a day, says frustrated Keith Levett
Assistant manager Levett, 45, who lives near Tunbridge Wells, parted company with the club last Tuesday after discussing next season’s plans with manager Kevin Watson.
The club finished slap bang in the middle (12th place) in the Ryman League Division One North last season, collecting 20 wins, 8 draws and 18 defeats from their 46 league games.
Watson’s side also enjoyed a run to the fourth and final qualifying round of The FA Cup when they went down to a 2-0 home defeat to St Albans City on 26th October 2013, which was the 150th anniversary of The Football Association.
“I think after three years of working there – and it’s been a really enjoyable experience overall – you come to a point where you’re working with players and you feel that you’ve contributed as much as you can really,” said Levett.
“It’s a difficult one to know when it’s the right time to call something a day but after talking to Kevin and going through possibly what we could do next year, it felt the right time to call it a day really.
“I got a bit frustrated last year because you’re sort of not making decisions as much as you like sometimes. That’s no reflection on Kevin because he’s the manager so I understand my role but it’s a question of feeling that you’d do things the way you’d like to do them.
“We had such a good FA Cup run. We didn’t really have a good league campaign up until the last twenty games until it took off.
“But we both agreed that wasn’t much to do with us, the management team, but the players. They seemed to understand what we asked them to do.
“I felt we didn’t train. There wasn’t really much opportunity to work with the players and that is a problem with a lot of non-league. You don’t get an opportunity to work with players.
“They (the players) get fed up with the same (team-talks) and if I’m honest it’s one of them here you haven’t got much to say because you’ve said the same thing to the same set of players so many times and they can predict what you’re going to say next and that’s how it felt towards the end really.”
Levett is like a number of people involved in non-league football that are involved in Academy football as part of their full-time career.
“I’m acting with the Football Coaching Academy and we’re setting up programmes with Margate and Crystal Palace and we’re looking to build college and school links and football clubs.
“It’s quite rewarding working with 16-19 year olds. It’s a way of getting them back into education through football really.
“That’s what I’m doing on the work front. It gives me a bit more time to do that and spend more time with the family while I’m not full-time at the weekend I can do some other stuff. I’ve got two children so it gives me an opportunity to spend time with the family.
“You miss it but you can put some of your life somewhere else, which is a positive.”
Levett says his future is at one of these clubs.
He said: “I’d like to work with a professional club or a good standard semi-professional club because I find that if you’re working at the low levels of non-league the problem you’ve got is spending time with players.
“You tend to get frustrated. It’s easy to become frustrated because you don’t have enough contact time with the players and that’s what I found difficult as a coach – you don’t do a lot of work with them.
“If I go back in, helping maybe a manager if he needed help with scouting or whatever, something like that.”
Levett was in charge of Kent League side Sevenoaks Town between June 2010- May 2011.
He said: “I don’t really see myself working in the Kent League (now the Southern Counties East Football League) because you’re really chasing your tail all the time when you’re trying to find players.
“I’d rather work at a higher level and that’s no disrespect to Chatham or the Kent League, it’s just the way I feel at the moment.
“That’s the great thing about working with 16-19 year olds because we’re working nearly full-time with them so you’re getting much more job satisfaction because you’re working in a job that you want to do.
“If you feel you’re not making progress you’ve got an opportunity to affect the players and that’s the difficulty in non-league. You’re just looking to recruit players to do a job rather than affectively working with them.
“Having said that you can do some stuff with them.
“That’s where I am. A little bit frustrated but overall I enjoyed my experience with Chatham Town. I wish them, the club, they’re very nice people, the best.”
Levett added: “If I worked now it would be to support somebody at a higher level and looking to then possibly do some recruitment for a good standard, player identification and looking at games. The good thing not being at the front line so to speak is to go and watch some games and learn because football is a learning process.
“You can go out and look at the way the teams set-up, set-pieces, formations etc.
“I enjoy the game. I love the game. Most people do it in non-league football not for the money but because they love the game – that’s ultimately the right way and that’s how it should be.”
Meanwhile, Chatham Town have confirmed that Greg Benbow, Jack Bradshaw, Liam Hickey, Corey Holder, Lewis Knight, Jamie Lawrence, Brad Potter, Matt Solly and Ade Yuseff have all put pen to paper to stay.
Visit Chatham Town’s website: www.chathamtownfc.info