I've had enough of games being called off, says Tonbridge Angels boss Tommy Warrilow

Monday 27th January 2014
TONBRIDGE ANGELS manager Tommy Warrilow says he feels frustrated with the number of postponements the club has suffered from this season – and calls for the Conference to vote to bring in the use of 3G pitches.

The Angels have played only 20 league games this season, collecting six wins and four draws, and as a result lie in the bottom four in the Skrill South league table.

They are level on points with third-from-bottom Whitehawk, who won the Ryman Premier League title last season.

“I think that’s four games we’ve lost (to the weather) now,” said Warrilow.

“The league have to look into calling games off.  They should be able to call them off on Friday night. To have to wait until half-past-ten on Saturday morning, when people are leaving to meet at meeting points it’s just ridiculous and common sense seems to go out of the window! 

“I can’t believe we can’t call the game off (on Friday) when you see the forecast etc. Hopefully they can look at that. It won’t be the first time or the last time that I’m scrambling to try to get the lads areas to train.  I hope that gets looked at for the future.”

Warrilow is concerned that players he has brought in on loan have not fulfilled game time with the Kent club.

He said: “Dominic Green went back to Ebbsfleet and we’re hoping to keep hold of Gavin McCallum but I’m not sure. I speaking to Paul Doswell, he’s been away, so we’ll have a chat with Sutton about that.

“At the end of the day, he’s not our player, so it’s disappointing because he’s had a few games but another four games would have benefited everyone. It would have benefited us and going back to Sutton a lot match sharper than what he’ll probably go back.

“I’ll be speaking to them, hoping to keep him, even if it’s on a game-to-game basis. We’ll see what they say.”

Tonbridge Angels are scheduled to face their Kent rivals Ebbsfleet United on Tuesday night.

The Fleet went down to a 3-1 defeat away at second-placed Eastleigh at the weekend and are in third-place in the table with 40 points from 24 games.

Tonbridge Angels are unbeaten in their last five games played at Longmead Stadium – stretching back to their 3-1 win over Whitehawk back on the 26th October.

“They’re all big now,” said Warrilow.

“We’ve got double E’s coming up, Ebbsfleet and Eastleigh (15 February), in between Hayes & Yeading (1 February) and I think the Farnborough game (away) might be pushed into next Tuesday as well.

“The one thing we’re going to have are games coming thick and fast. The good thing about that is if you win them, great. If you lose them you’ve got a short period of time to lick your wounds and if you win them you’ve got a short period of time to not get carried away with it.

“It’s going to be a big month for us this next month.”

Warrilow is looking forward to facing one of his former clubs.

He said: “All the club’s that I used to play for, it’s nice to go back, not go back, they’re coming to us.

“But it’s nice to see them in the position they’re in. They’ve had some tough times over there. I get on well with Brownie and Gritty (Steve Brown and Steve Gritt) the management set-up there and I know a lot of people there. It makes you feel old, some of the newer fans won’t remember us because it’s around 20 years since we went there and won the championship there.

“We had good times, they’re good people and it’s nice to see them getting themselves where they are and looking to push on and grow and get back to where they should be.”

When asked what it will take for Tonbridge Angels to be pushing for a play-off place in Conference South – the answer is simple!

Warrilow said: “It’s financial! Like I said I’m not going to moan about it. I’ve always said from day one, good luck to get into that situation.  It will be nice to have the sort of money these clubs have but we haven’t so we have to just go with what we’ve got and not get all bitter and twisted about it and just try and do the best you can with it.

“I’m a realistic. I’ve got an honest board down there that are trying their best to make the club progress.  At the moment we’re finding it tough. We’re not going to lie. That’s why we’re trying this new community scheme to create the interest up and that’s all you can do.  You have to keep cracking on.

“We’re throwing out as many lines out there as possible and hopefully someone will get on the end of one and give us some backing that we desperately need to really sustain our status at this level and obviously the bigger picture is to push on.”

When asked how many points Tonbridge Angels must collect to ensure Conference South football is played at Longmead Stadium for a fourth season, Warrilow admitted: “God knows? I’m not a table man. I’m always looking at the points. We’ve got five games in hand on some teams. Me being positive or the mad man that I am if we win all five we’re two points off the teams in and around the play-offs.

“Until we’re all on a level field with the games played, I’m not taking much notice on the league until we’re level.

“I know where we are,” added Warrilow.  “We’ve got two of the promotion favorites coming up in our next four or five games in Ebbsfleet and Eastleigh so it’s going to be a difficult month.

“I’m a realist and I’m not going to get too low.  I’m the world’s worst critic and I hate losing but it’s going to be a roller-coaster ride the next month or so and I want the boys to pick up performances that we had prior to the Bath game (which finished in a 1-1 draw in our last home game). 

“Bath was disappointing but I’m not going to be too hard on the lads because we haven’t been on any real grass surface for quite a while, just games.

“We haven’t had a chance to get anywhere to train except Goals of Dartford, which is fine short-term rather than long-term.

The debate over the use of 3G pitches has once again arisen, with a Football Conference EGM (Emergency General Meeting) being scheduled for Wednesday.

The adoption of 3G pitches is due to be raised, and member clubs will vote whether or not the artificial surfaces should be allowed in the Football Conference.

Currently, rules state that 3G is not a permitted playing surface in the Football Conference and above, although Ryman Premier League side Maidstone United are hoping to push through a rule-change which would allow them to be promoted if they are in such a position at the end of the season.

Warrilow said: “I’ve said from day one, I’ve never been one of them that would just say no for the sake of it.

“I think you have to look at what’s happened in the last month regarding all the cancellations. I don’t think it’s a big hindrance.  In our situation where we’re we’ve not got rich backers etc, it’s a source of revenue and income. That’s only going to strengthen clubs.

“At the moment postponements are killing us as a club. Believe it or not we’re unbeaten in our last five games, which is nice to know, but when you have to go back until the end of October, no club can survive like that.

“When you have home games coming thick and fast it’s alright having them but it’s hard out there – we’re asking people to pay £12 or whatever to get in and we’re asking people to pay that two or three times a week and people haven’t got that anymore so attendances aren’t going to be the same.  It’s hard out there and we appreciate that.

“I’ve said from day one, they’ve had a World Cup qualifier on it and they’ve had Champions League games played on it, so I don’t really see what all the fuss is all about.

“To be honest it’s an individual choice. I’m not saying I’m right but I’ve got no problems.

“We’ve played on it (at Maidstone United) and we really enjoyed playing on it and that’s my experience of it – I can’t talk for anyone else.

“You only need to look at how Maidstone have grown with it. It’s there to see in black and white and it will be interesting to see what the outcome is of it.”

When asked if he would be happy to play on a 3G pitch at Longmead Stadium if someone came knocking on the club’s door with bundles of cash to lay one, Warrilow replied: “I’d take it yes – because of the experience I’ve had of the postponements at Tonbridge this season.

“The season is halfway through and the season hasn’t seemed to get going. We’ve lost a hell of a lot of games.

“You can train on it. There’s always going to be pros and cons but I just think in the world we’re living in at the moment where money is hard to find you have to look into every avenue of income you can get.

“And 3G is a complete no brainer regarding a stream of income. A lot of teams train on 3G. We train on our pitch, we’ve got nowhere else to train. Some teams train on 3G and play on grass at the weekend so you can get used to it, but that’s my opinion. 

“I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but I’ve had enough of games being called off and chasing around on Saturday and Thursday night looking for somewhere to train.

“I think you’ll find me sitting on the positive side of it and saying I’ve got no qualms about it at all.”

Visit Tonbridge Angels’ website:  www.tonbridgeangelsonline.co.uk

Tonbridge Angels  v  Ebbsfleet United
Skrill South
Tuesday 28th January 2014
Kick Off 7:45pm
At Longmead Stadium, Darenth Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN10 3JF