Ennio Gonnella wants to raise the bar at Sporting Club Thamesmead

Friday 30th September 2022

SPORTING CLUB THAMESMEAD joint-manager Ennio Gonnella says he isn't ruling out grabbing a place in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division play-offs at the end of the season.

The Thamesmead-based outfit lie in 12th place in the table with seven points from their eight games, seven points adrift of fifth-placed side Larkfield & New Hythe.

The Arce were held to a goal-less draw by Forest Hill Park last Monday night with Gonnella and Aaron Jeffrey’s side missing several good chances to score.

Sporting Club Thamesmead welcome second-placed surprise package Faversham Strike Force to Bayliss Avenue tomorrow (15:00).

“Another tough game.  They’re always going to be tough for teams that are looking upwards as apposed to downwards,” said Gonnella, the former manager of the now defunct Kent Football United.

“We expect a tougher game.  The way confidence is in the team and the way we’re creating, I think no one’s seen the true Thamesmead yet.  We’ll only get better and better as the weeks go on, so hopefully we’ll give a good account of ourselves and get three points.”

Club joint-chairman Sam Taylor announced on Monday night that the club are now running the bar at Bayliss Avenue for the first time.

“The club are now solely in charge of the bar and catering facilities here at Bayliss Avenue,” said Mr Taylor.

“This hasn’t come about easily, and Lee Hill and I have attended numerous meetings over the months to ensure this key part of our matchday experience is open and ready for supporters to use.

“Please bear with us though as it’ll take a little bit longer for us to be fully operational but it is a big step forward for the club so please support it as much as you can.”

With the club now making match day revenue, Gonnella was asked whether the club will have a playing budget moving forwards.

“No, no, no. I don’t think they should as two chairmen I think they should just concentrate on recouping some money back,” said Gonnella.

“We all know what went on with the ground last year, they weren’t able to provide hospitality services, the bar wasn’t theirs, so they’re slowly getting back so I think they need to recoup and re-stable.

“I’ve left a team this year that’s folded because of different reasons but finances being one of them, so I don’t want to see these boys struggle.

“We’ve got a good enough side without paying any budget at the moment but if we were getting to a stage where January and February and we’re almost there for a play-off place and they can pay for the odd player, then great, but until then, as a club they can sustain and be more solid as a club.”

Gonnella isn’t ruling out a push towards the play-off lottery, which was won by Sutton Athletic last season, who joined fellow unpaid team Stansfeld (the league champions) in the Premier Division for the first time.

“I don’t think anyone should (rule it out).  I think everyone is capable of beating each other at the moment.  The two favourites that I saw, Larkfield and Snodland, Lydd is the surprise up top so I can’t see a runaway team like we have seen in the past over the years.  I think every one will beat every one at some stage."