McMahon wants to add to Thamesmead Town's success - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Saturday 20th May 2006

Thamesmead Town are splashing out £10,000 on ground improvements at their Bayliss Avenue ground to help their push towards Ryman League football, writes Stephen McCartney.

The club finished their Kentish Observer League campaign in third place behind Maidstone United and Beckenham Town but they finished two points clear of much-fancied side Erith & Belvedere. 

Newly-appointed first team boss, Keith McMahon, is relishing his fifth season at the club - after replacing Paul Blade at the helm. 

“Since I’ve been here we’ve been runners-up twice, third once and won the Kent Senior Trophy twice and Kent League Cup once,” said the 33-year old. 

McMahon, who lives in Bexley and works for an office equipment company, played for Furness, Corinthian, Fisher Athletic and Welling United before a cruciate knee ligament injury curtailed his playing career at the age of just twenty. 

But he does have managerial experience at VCD Athletic, where he lead their under eighteen and reserve sides, and has taken charge of a youth side at Thamesmead Town for the past three years as well as assisting the first team.

”We’ve met with the players on Thursday and we’ve signed everyone on from last year,” he revealed in an EXCLUSIVE interview with today.

“Obviously I’m looking for a couple of new additions. We are one of the favourites and we’ve got good players coming from the youths and reserves so we should be well up there next year.” 

McMahon, however, admitted he’s always wanted to be a first team manager and is relishing his chance at the Bayliss Avenue club.

He said: “When I was at VCD and here I’ve had no secrets, it’s a job I’ve always wanted.  I’ve learnt a lot from Paul (Blade) and Terry Hill and I think I’m ready for it now.

McMahon revealed the club withdrew their Ryman League application last season as “we didn’t think we had the money to go up”, but the club are currently working on their ground to make sure they’ll be given the green light for promotion if the team go two better next season.

Ground improvements include new turnstiles, a PA System, and a solid fence behind the goal at the clubhouse end of the ground to stop people watching the action with a pint in their hand from their modern clubhouse.

Improvements to the dressing rooms include new showers and although the club has one of the best playing surfaces in Kent, the club are currently working on their pitch as they prepare for the new season.

“The chairman here gives me the full backing and he knows what I’m about,” said McMahon.  “Paul (Blade) has done a good job and there’s no timescale on promotion.

Sadly, Thamesmead are one of the worse supported clubs in the county, but McMahon hopes challenging for the title will entice fans through the turnstiles next season.

“We are trying to get a bigger support base,” he said. “Thamesmead have been successful because the chairman doesn’t sack managers.  He does give you slack to concentrate on your football but we’ve always exceeded expectations and are fully established in the Kent League."

“The only disappointment was a poor run in the FA Cup and FA Vase and we want to improve on that next year.”

McMahon explained why his players will be reporting back for pre-season training on 24th June.

The club have arranged four lucrative pre-season matches at Bayliss Avenue in July, when Dartford (15th), Arsenal (16th), Maidstone United (18th) and Cray Wanderers (25th) visit.

”We always come back a week earlier to get our fitness early,” McMahon said.  “We didn’t want a huge break and it will be a get together with the new lads and work hard and get off to a good start.”

McMahon expects his side, VCD Athletic, Erith & Belvedere, Herne Bay and Whitstable Town will be challenging for the title next season.