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Home arrow Kent Invicta & Kent County News arrow My personal ambitions are to make it all the way, says 20-year-old boss Sam Macneil
Thursday, 18 December 2014
My personal ambitions are to make it all the way, says 20-year-old boss Sam Macneil PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
SAM MACNEIL says it has been an eventful first season in senior football for Erith & Dartford Town.

The 20-year-old from Darenth has seen Michael Morgan, Darren Anslow, Gary Abbott and Steve O’Boyle come and go as managers before his father Roy appointed him as manager number five on New Years’ Day and Sam takes charge of his eighth game at the weekend when Erith & Dartford Town welcome basement side Orpington to Oakwood on Saturday.

The youngest manager in senior non-league football in Kent reflected on the season so far.

He said: “It has been an eventful first season in senior football.  Listen, no club can say they never had teething problems and I think this is no exception.

“Given time to settle and build, I am certain it will be a success but it will take time and people filling the roles required for a club to work at this level of football.”

But Macneil insists he has been given the manager’s job on merit.

He said: “I am a full time coach and run my own business (Kent Football United), which is currently a youth club for mini-soccer and youth teams but will be expanding big next season.”

And when asked what it’s like being the youngest football manager here in Kent, Macneil replied, “It is fantastic and a challenge.  I am enjoying every second of the experience so far. 

“The difficult factor has been building a new team from scratch and if I am honest, something we haven’t yet sorted.

“The average age of the side is eighteen and a half and a lack of experience and in a few areas general lack of quality is causing an issue.

“Given time I am sure that some of these boys will play at a good level of football but with the experience of the teams in this league we are getting caught out.”

Macneil, however, says he is using managing a Kent Invicta League club as a stepping stone for bigger and betting things – but has sought advice of former boss Abbott, who is now a coach at Ryman Premier League club Cray Wanderers, where he finished his glittering and successful playing career.

“My personal ambitions are to make it all the way,” he said.  “I am ambitious and I’m using this as great experience whilst working my way through my FA and UEFA badges.

“Over time I am currently forging some good contacts and expanding my player list which will help me.  This is a great opportunity for me and I am determined to be a success in the future.”

Macneil added: “I chat with Abbo a bit still.  We always got on well when he was at the club and I enjoyed being his number two as he gave me lots of responsibility in the dressing room with team talks, tactics, set pieces etc and always thought we could work well as a partnership again in the future.

“I run my own club (Kent Football United), which was established in 2010 and I’m currently developing with mini-soccer and youth teams this season.

“It is expanding nicely, soon to achieve FA Charter Standard and working towards Intermediate Status.  I am proud of my club so far and will continue to work hard on it for it to be a success.

“We have a long term development plan in place creating opportunities for more players, coaches, facilities etc to be achieved for the club.

“We are also running a youth coaches scheme for 16-22 year olds, giving them experience and the knowledge in how to get qualified and giving them coaching opportunities with our mini-soccer teams.

“I am the manager of Erith & Dartford Town until the end of the season and then will decide what will happen.  As I’ve always said it has been difficult but I will see out the season.

“Ambition and the drive to push on are what I am about so I will do what I feel is the best for my development as a coach and manager.”

There has been speculation in Kent circles that Erith & Dartford Town are to change their name next season, but Macneil said: “I am not the person to ask about the club’s name as I deal with nothing off the field.  People need to realise that, but I can assure you that nothing has been spoken about the club changing its name.”

Erith & Dartford Town, who have picked up only two points out of their last 18 available, go into their last remaining eight games sitting in ninth-place in the Kent Invicta League table, with 31 points from 22 games.

Orpington, who have picked up five points from their last six games, arrive at Oakwood sitting at the foot of the table, with nine points from 20 games and they are five points adrift of Crockenhill.

“It has been difficult to prepare in the cold snap,” said Macneil.  “The boys have been doing their own bits during the week as we have been unable to train.

“We will be meeting earlier for our game this weekend to do an extended warm-up to give us the best chance of putting in a much needed improved performance.

“I am expecting a tough game.  No game at this level is easy and we are the bottom side on form so if anything we are the underdogs now.

“We’ve shown glimpses of excellent football but make too many unforced errors at the moment, which is halting our progress and giving us mountains to climb as we give away easy goals too much.

“However, I have always coached passing sides so will never change the philosophy I believe in.

“I will be seeing out this season, just looking at as many new players as possible and then when pre-season starts keep those I am happy to use as a catalyst to add to thereafter.

“Orpington will pose a physical threat with lots of pace.  I am looking forward to seeing (our former striker) Richard Whyte again.  I always had a lot of time for Whitey and I will be telling my players he will be coming back to Oakwood wanting to mark it with a goal and so needs to be closely monitored throughout the game.”

Macneil has been impressed with the standard of the new Step Six League this season and the title race looks destined to go down to the wire with Bly Spartans, Bridon Ropes, Phoenix Sports and Hollands & Blair all with a fighting chance.

He said: “The standard has been good and that is seen through how well Hollands & Blair have done in their (Kent Senior Trophy) run beating Beckenham Town from the Kent League.

“The teams at the top play a good level of football and are tough customers, especially in a very physical approach to their games.

“I wish all the teams in the title race the best until the end but if you asked me my favourite I would say you can’t look past Bly Spartans, who have experience, aggression, pace, are tough to break down and a striker in Stuart Zanone that wins them games.  We should know he got all four against us!”

Visit Erith & Dartford Town’s website: www.pitchero.com/clubs/erithdartfordtownfc

Erith & Dartford Town  v  Orpington
Kent Invicta League
Saturday 18th February 2012
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Oakwood, Old Road, Crayford, Kent DA1 4DN

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