This is a big job turning the club's fortunes and reputation around, says Matt Longhurst
The Deres suffered a poor season in the Ryman League Division One North when under former boss Chris Cosgrove the club finished at the foot of the table with 6 wins and 4 draws from their 46 league games.
The club won the Kent League double under Micky Collins in May 2013 but will return to that level (now called the Southern Counties East Football League) with former Corinthian manager Longhurst in charge.
Longhurst guided Corinthian to fifth-place last season and were League Cup runners-up for the third successive season after losing 2-0 to Beckenham Town at Bromley’s Hayes Lane on Bank Holiday Monday, 5 May 2014.
However, Longhurst reisnged within hours, only to be appointed as the Deres new manager a couple of days later.
“Since taking charge it’s been all systems go and certainly all hands to the pump,” admitted Longhurst.
“So far after meeting with all the current staff from top to bottom we’ve secured the goalkeeper coach Darren Mace and physio Emily Morgan, which I’m really pleased about.
“I am really pleased about these two people completing the first team management team.”
Longhurst has come from a club that promote young players from within and that’s exactly what he has planned at Park View Road.
He said: “I am pleased to announce the under 21 management team of James Gibbons and Jonny Murray, two young coaches that have worked with me in the past and are looking to go down the route of coaching and managing as well as playing.
“I believe in giving an opportunity and these two lads are hungry and have contacts at all levels of the game in the age bracket we’re looking at and will work closely with me and the first team management.
“The youth structure is now in place with 11 youth teams playing under the Erith & Belvedere banner next season. There will be a coaching syllabus in place for all age groups and they will be made very much part of the club.”
When asked about first-team personnel, Longhurst said: “With virtually the whole of last season’s squad gone, we’ve acted quickly in identifying players we wanted to bring in and have held two training sessions behind closed doors where we’ve outlined to the players what we’re looking to achieve this season and how we are going to create a positive environment where players can progress, learn and be part of a football club that’s moving forward.
“I am under no illusion that this is a big job turning the club’s fortunes and reputation around but believe we’re moving in the right direction.
“We’ve made 15 signings to date of which we will reveal more information later in pre-season with another two or three looking to put pen to paper in the next day or so. All I’m willing to say at present is we’ve got three or four of the double winning side signed.
“Three or four Corinthian players from last year have signed as well as well as some very pleasing additions from the Kent League and above with one or two signature signings that I’m very pleased with.
“We have a trial tonight of which we have 82 players attending so we’ll see if we can find a diamond in the rough.
“Rest assured we’ll be competitive in the league this year but it’s going to be a re-building year for us with lots of changes on and off the pitch.
“Lots of people speculate about this club and that club during pre-season. I’m just concentrating on what we’re doing. I can only affect what happens at Erith & Belvedere so that’s my main focus.
“Like I’ve said, it’s a big job but one I’m enjoying and very much looking forward to. The club have been very supportive so far and a pleasure to work with.”
Visit Erith & Belvedere’s website: www.erithbelvederefc.co.uk