We know it’s in our hands, we know what’s coming with all of these games being called off so there’s no surprise and we’ve got to deal with it and manage it, says Tunbridge Wells boss Richard Styles

Sunday 15th March 2020

TUNBRIDGE WELLS manager Richard Styles says his budget has not been cut despite not playing a home game for over two months.

The Wells last played at Culverden Stadium on 7 January, beating Canterbury City 5-2 in the Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup.

The club have suffered with waterlogged pitches and yesterday’s home game against Erith & Belvedere was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“Very sorry to report that two Deres players have been sent home from work today (Friday) and instructed to self-isolated, so in view of the current health situation and being cautious with regard to their team-mates and opposition, the game against Tunbridge Wells has been postponed,” said a club statement from the Park View Road outfit.

The Premier League, English Football League and Isthmian League are currently under suspension, but the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division, First Division and Kent County League went ahead as planned.

Canterbury City’s home game against Lordswood was also postponed due to the outbreak, which as of yesterday has killed 21 people out of over 60 million in the UK.

Styles was interviewed following his side’s 3-2 win at Glebe last Thursday night, a day before League’s were suspended all over the country, so the subject of Convid-19 was not brought up.

When asked whether his budget has been cut following postponed fixtures at Culverden Stadium, Styles replied: “No, no, which is a credit to the club, an absolute credit to the club and the boys know that!

“Half of this league, if they were in this position, would’ve cut the budget by now and that’s an absolute credit to the chairman and the club, the committee, everyone involved in the club that the club is able to run day-to-day as it is without playing at home for two months, it really is.

“I’m sure we want to repay them so much and get our boys back playing at home, winning games at home in front of our fans because it’s such a good relationship between the fans and the players and the management squad.

“We just want to go home and go and play. We miss our pitch, we miss our changing rooms, we miss our bar, we miss it all but at the same time the boys have been remarkable.”

Following yesterday’s round of games, Tunbridge Wells remain in fifth-place in the Sea Pioneer Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division.

Beckenham Town remain at the summit with 60 points from their 27 games; Corinthian are back in second-place with 58 points from their 26 games; Chatham Town are third with 56 points from 28 games; Sheppey United are fourth with 55 points from 27 games and Tunbridge Wells are still in with a shout with 46 points from 23 games.

When asked about the potential fixture congestion, with the season’s finish date currently remaining on the 25 April unless told otherwise,  Styles insists his side will be able to cope.

“Story of my life doing things the hard way, it’s been like that since day one and it always will be,” said Styles.

“We know it’s in our hands, we know what’s coming with all of these games being called off so there’s no surprise and we’ve got to deal with it and manage it.

“I’m happy with the squad size and fitness levels.  There’s a couple of knocks but other than that I’ve got some great young players who I’ve brought into the squad just to bump up the numbers who have signed first-team forms, which are a credit, so we’ll attack it head on and give it our all.

“We’ve got management staff and medical staff with me that can manage the situation and manage the players.  We massage, cool down the players, we do everything we can in the situation.”

When asked about his side’s promotion chances in what is Styles first season in charge of the club following his move from league rivals Lordswood, he replied: “The position we’re in every game is important.  Until it’s mathematically impossible then it’s a possibility.

“The top five are five very good teams and we’re involved in that. The table doesn’t lie, we are where we are because we deserve to be. 

“No one spoke about us being there, no one considered that we would be after recent fortunes but we are where we are based on the level of the boys’ performances over the course of the season and where we finish up will be where we deserve to be.”

Tunbridge Wells are scheduled to be at home to Canterbury City on Tuesday night (19:45), which is dependent on this country getting a grip and carrying on with normal life.

Rusthall attracted their largest crowd of the season yesterday when 296 people came through the turnstiles at Jockey Farm Stadium to watch their 2-2 draw against Forest Hill Park in the First Division, which proves that people still want to enjoy watching their football on a Saturday afternoon and not be stuck at home in isolation.

Rustics manager Jimmy Anderson thanked the many Tunbridge Wells and Crowborough Athletic fans for watching the game.