Saturday 26th November 2005
By Shaun Keddle
A humiliating, embarrassing and disgraceful performance which lead to a deserved thumping.
For the first time in my managerial career, I actually though that pounding the marble floors in the warmth of Bluewater would with some bird on tow stopping at Café Starb****cks for a cappuccino and then catching a romantic comedy at the flicks, would be a better option than the s**t that I witnessed on Saturday.
Even before kick off I knew we were going to lose, preparation was awful – only the bare eleven at kick off and forced last minute changes meant an unsettled side. Admittedly, and in hindsight, my tactics were not the best (hands up), but when you have a bare eleven it is a very difficult job to do. Injuries also did not help with Dave Harrigan, Danny Clark, Aaron Carpenter and Liam Williams all suffering during the match to add to the already injured Matty Wright, Adam Benningfield, Neil Curd and the now retired Rob Goldup and Michael Clark. Throw in the factor of Jamie Williams who now goes travelling, then it’s nothing short of chaos. Hardly a surprise that we have had a shocking start to the season.
I am not going into great details about the worst day in my first team managerial life, but there were so many individual errors bought on by poor attitude towards this fixture. Even before kick off we were complaining about the weather, the hut, the pitch etc… basically talking negatively and talking us out of the game even before a ball was kicked. On the pitch we were quiet – I expect my captain and older players to sort this out. The talking should stem from a collective group of Danny Clark, Steve Pester, Neil Connelly, Aaron Carpenter, Jim St John, Liam Williams and Matt Wilson. It’s up to the older players to set an example for the others to follow. The only players that had ‘ok’ performances were Gary Harrigan, Richard Davis and Jamie Williams: Gary Harrigan did not technically have the best game, but at least he was getting involved, hitting tackles in sensible places and showed a bit of passion to show that he cared and wanted to win. Richard Davis was up against a very clever and awkward centre forward who was getting paid at Sevenoaks Town last year and held his own in a good tussle and received some good comments from Chipstead at the end of the game. Jamie Williams had a good second half, always running, hounding and driving at the opposition trying to create some sort of life and deservedly got the MOM award. So basically, three 18 year olds were the only ones who showed any positive attitude. The rest of the team was just not at the races.
We have exactly the same fixture to play when we start to defend our trophy in January and if we play like we did, then we might as well wrap it up in paper and send it to Chipstead for Xmas. We cannot afford to play like that again - ever.
I was looking at the photo of when we won the Sevenoaks Cup and only 6 out of the 15 players that day actually started on Saturday and the cup final was barely 6 months ago. I won’t take it personally, I am honest with you guys – but what do you think I am doing wrong?
What I WANT on Saturday is a positive response. I do not mind losing like we did twice against Westerham when we went in with the right attitude, put the effort in and was unlucky with the output, or the first 70 minutes of the Phoenix match. What I do hate is losing without trying or caring. We played like the result doesn’t matter. We all really need to sort out our attitude boys.
It will be division two football for the rest of our lives until we do.