We're not looking for anything else other than promotion, says Margate boss Terry Brown
The club open their home pre-season campaign with a visit from League Two side AFC Wimbledon tomorrow.
Brown, 61, took charge of the Dons on 15 May 2007 and guided the club from the Ryman Premier League to League Two.
In May 2011, Brown led AFC Wimbledon to the Football League for the first time in the club’s history, beating Luton Town 4-3 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in the Conference Premier play-off final.
Brown was sacked by the club on 19 September 2012, before taking over at Hartsdown Park on 12 December 2013, guiding the Kent coastal club to eleventh-place in the Ryman Premier League.
When asked whether he treated last season as preparation for this campaign, Brown replied: “No. Not really because I knew the players that we’ve already targeted to get to the club we couldn’t get hold of them at Christmas.
“It was a difficult period at the club last year where most of the players we had knew they wouldn’t be retained so that leads to an awkward dressing room so last year was a bit uncomfortable but that’s the price that you’ve got to pay.
“We’ve brought ten new faces in this summer.”
Chairman Bob Laslett has certainly made his intensions known with full backing for Brown to deliver a promotion winning team with a number of ground improvements, which include the erection of an uncovered 318 seater stand; new floodlights, car parking facilities, and a deal with a local bus company to bring fans in from the town and train station.
Brown said: “It’s a fantastic place to be. There aren’t many clubs that has the potential that this club has now owing to Bob Laslett taking over.
“It offers you the opportunity to climb the club up from scratch really.”
Laslett coughed up so the squad could stay for a week away in Dublin, which saw the Kent side go down to a 3-0 defeat to Irish Premier League side UCD Athletic on Monday 30 June.
“It was massively important to the bonding of the squad and getting some proper training into them because we are part-time and for a week you’ve got a chance to be full-time and be professional and do things right,” said Brown.
“We got in five full sessions before the game. The game was too early for us to be honest but a fantastic week away that will benefit from in the future.”
“Couldn’t be a better start because Wimbledon have been fantastic and they’re bringing the first team down,” said Brown.
“It’s their first game so Stuart (Cash) and I get a chance to meet with some friendly faces and it’s a fantastic test for our squad because Wimbledon have massively strengthened this year with Adebayo Akinfenwa and Matt Tubbs up front.
“They’re making a real effort for promotion this year so it’s definitely going to be a real opportunity to test the back four in particular.”
When asked what Margate’s fans can expect at Hartsdown Park tomorrow, Brown replied: “We’re going to be playing expansive football so some of it may appear to be a little kamikaze in pre-season and I no doubt we’ll ship the odd goal.
“We’re looking to play football on the ground with passing, attacking football. We’ll leave a few gaps at the gap.
“We’re looking to use pre-season as an opportunity to reflect on how we become better.
“It’s a bit stiffer than we normally do, but we wanted to give the boys a real test over pre-season.
“Normally you’re looking to win. I’m not necessarily looking to win all of these games and go into it positive. I’m looking for us to get a real hard test than we’ll get when the season comes.”
“If we can do well in this, we’ll do well when the season comes.”
Brown laid a marker down as to his aspirations for the season ahead.
He said: “It’s promotion! It has to be promotion! We’re not looking for anything else other than promotion so I expect us to be first or second and that’s what the boys are targeting, that’s what we’re aiming for.”
Visit Margate’s website: www.margate-fc.co.uk
Margate v AFC Wimbledon
Saturday 12th July 2014
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Hartsdown Park, Hartsdown Road, Margate, Kent CT9 5QZ