Following two weeks of careful consideration a decision has been made on the appointment of a new management team at the club to start work immediately with planning for whenever the 2020/21 season may commence.
Since the vacancy has become available we have been inundated with applications from far and wide with interest in the role which is very humbling and we thank each individual for their interest. Some very capable people were interested in speaking with us, and it remains a proud achievement that people with so much experience and having worked at various higher levels of the game would want to talk to Welling Town.
However, we have had a considerable amount of time without any football activity to consider the longer term objectives of the club and that plays almost as big a part in any decision as that of just on field activities. As with previous statements, making Welling Town a successful club on and off the field, sustainable, and a place people want to come to as opposed to us having to chase, remain key objectives.
Therefore, the decision has been made to appoint a three man management team ahead of the new season comprising of Kevin Oakes, Tristan Cropley and Peter Gill. In time a fourth addition may be added. We believe this is best for us to be able to continue to be competitive on the field in the SCEFL Premier Division, but just as importantly, to move the club from being a smaller supported new-ish club playing in a hired facility, in to our own home with a clear pathway for the area’s best young talent progressing through our new academy link up with Charlton Athletic Community Trust, as well as new sides being formed at Under 18 and other age-groups. This will, in time, be best for the continued growth of the club.
We also aim to follow the same method with developing our own coaches from within, aiding current playing staff and young prospects to do their coaching badges and progress their own off-field opportunities, and gain our next series of players, coaches and managers from within, with people affiliated to the club for longer periods of time.
On the point of finding a home, we are in talks with the Council and the local MP about a site we have located to hopefully move in to in the future, and expand to become a real community facility and football hub for both adult and junior football. Remaining as competitive as possible and being in the upper half of the league throughout this time is a very realistic aim, but by getting a home and developing things away from the first team, in time we’ll be far stronger, and with the potential addition of play-off places in Step 5 within 2-3 seasons, will allow another opportunity when the time is right, to try to move upwards again.
As part of all of this we have spoken to a number of players from last season regarding future plans and whilst signing formally is not yet possible until at least 1st July, the exciting future has been enough for many of them to already reach provisional agreements to remain at the club for next season giving us and them as much stability as these current times allow.
We have also had discussions with a number of former players about their return to the club, each of whom were equally eager to return somewhere they consider home, and a club which they care about after previous trophy wins and good experiences, and want to continue their own successful footballing careers, as well as keep aiming to get the club to the next level, off field as much as on.
In addition we have a number of former professional academy scholars who will be joining the playing squad to work with Peter and the rest of the management group who have recently been plying their trade within the Isthmian League. The aim being to put them back on the footballing map at the higher levels they strive for and they are more than capable of playing at, as we look to create a reputation as one of the best clubs at this level for developing young talent and helping it realise its potential.
Of the individuals returning and incoming …
Tristan Cropley will be well known to those involved with Welling Town past and present and has filled many roles at the club in recent years and will be back and has said … “It’s good to be back at Welling Town, I spoke to Kevin and we both had the same opinion on the direction of the first team. We want to play an attractive style of play with players with the right character. Players with an affinity to the club or talented players who want to be part of a club that wants to develop them and share in their success. It feels like coming home and I can’t wait to get started”.
Peter Gill has extensive experience at a relatively young age working in academy football at professional football clubs having been with Leyton Orient, Barnet and now Cambridge United as their Head of Academy Coaching. His time at Orient and Barnet have allowed him to collect a vast quantity of contacts amongst the best professional and semi-professional football clubs in the local area, having also spent four months as a first team coach for Step 2 National South side Hemel Hempstead Town. Those working and training under his guidance will undoubtedly improve their footballing ability and both he as an individual and us as a club, look forward to seeing as many people leave our club to go upwards, rather than sidewards. Peter added … “I’m delighted to be joining and playing a part in the journey that is Welling Town. After meeting with Kevin and discussing his visions for the club I believe I can help in achieving that by putting in place a strategy for the long term growth of the football club. We’ve got some exciting plans that I look forward to being a part of. This is very much a long term project based on growing the football club and laying the foundations for its long term success.”
As a group, we’re excited about the future and hope football is back as soon as its sensible to do so in order we can put our plans in to action.