My remit is to build the club, says Erith & Belvedere boss Matt Longhurst

Sunday 06th July 2014
ERITH & BELVEDERE manager Matt Longhurst says he wants to mirror the youth structure that he had at his former club Corinthian at Park View Road.

Longhurst, 33, took charge of the club for the very first time last Friday evening, seeing his side throw away a 2-0 lead through two goals from Chris Hubbard, to lose 3-2 to Chatham Town.

The match was played indoors on a 3G pitch at the London Soccer Dome, which is situated close to the Millennium Dome in Greenwich.

Erith & Belvedere suffered a miserable first season in the Ryman League last season, winning six league games and finishing bottom of the Division One North table.

Longhurst has taken over and says he wants to be competing in the Southern Counties East Football League when the new season kicks off on 9 August.

“My remit is to build the club,” he said.

“We’re going to try and build the whole football club with a youth section, so we’re going to have Ryman Under 18s and under 21s this year.  It’s going to take time to build that. 

“We probably had a blueprint of a youth structure at Corinthians, which is still in place and is fantastic and we’re going to try to mirror that a little bit in terms of the youth structure, build the club and be competitive in the league.

“Some teams in our division – whether people like it or not – the truth of the matter is they’re paying decent money to some decent players.

“It’s going to be very competitive this year.  We expect to be competing with those teams but it’s got to be a long-term project. 

“My ambition is to manage as high as I can and the likelihood of being the Man United manager is not very likely but the likelihood of maybe getting into a Conference club or into League Two is more likely and they’re going to be looking for people who can build football clubs and produce players so hopefully we can produce players of our own through the youth structure.

“Realistically the goals are this year are to stabilise the club, improve in terms of the whole structure of the club and at the same time, I’m not going to stand here and say we want to win the league in our first season, because that will probably be a little bit far fetched, but we certainly want to be competitive.”

One club that are likely to be pushing for the league title are Tunbridge Wells, who finished in fourth-place last season, 15 points behind promoted champions Whyteleafe.

Martin Larkin has unveiled the signings of striker Brendon Cass, right-back Aaron Lacy and central midfielder Nick Barnes.

Ashford United have confirmed that they have retained 14 players that finished runners-up last season.

Tom Scorer, Gary Clarke, Adam Cuthbert, Luke Cuthbert, Gary Mickleborough, Ira Jackson Jr, Joe Mant, Jordan Harris, Ian Wallace, Liam Whiting, Pat Kingwell, James Dryden, Jordan Hill and Michael Smissen have all re-signed for the club.

Manager Paul Chambers, who has also signed league forms, has confirmed the signings of Andy Irvine, Keelan Mooney, Phillip Leonard, Lloyd Blackman and Tony Allen.

“There are still more signings to come, with negotiations and trials still ongoing,” added a club statement.

Deal Town have appointed Dave Johncock as their new reserve team manager and he will be assisted by Paul Egan and Darren Heales.

Meanwhile, striker Tunde Aderonmu has decided to leave Cray Valley and has signed for their landlords Erith Town.