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Manager's September report

Hayden Bird

Kingstonian manager Hayden Bird with his thoughts on a difficult start to the season.

Yesterday was a difficult day, as was last Saturday at Cray Wanderers. With that in mind, I thought it was appropriate to write my monthly report prior to Wednesday’s League game with Wingate.

To lose our opening two League fixtures is disappointing. To lose by such scorelines has shocked us all.

Despite both Cray and Worthing illustrating why they finished the season in the top two, Kingstonian have not performed to the level we demand and expect of ourselves.

Despite being punished by clinical and ruthless finishing, (it’s no reflection on Rob when I say every attempt on goal has ended in the back of our net!) there is no doubt we have conceded very soft goals.

Our performances have not been close to being good enough. I accept that, we all accept that in the Dressing Room. Therefore, everyone has decided to make the sacrifices necessary to put the additional days and hours into training. Putting it simply, we need to work and work hard to improve.

Needless to say, results affect the confidence of the team. Players who were magnificent for Kingstonian last season, are making uncharacteristic mistakes and performing below the standards they set for themselves. Add to that, every error is being punished and let’s be fair, some atrocious refereeing hasn’t helped! Without playing the victim, everything that can go against us, has gone against us!

When you lose and then criticise the match officials, it can be perceived as diverting the blame. Let’s be clear, I am taking full responsibility, as are the staff and the players.

Let’s be fair though, the video evidence of Tuesday’s two penalty decisions, proved beyond doubt the referee made critical mistakes. In addition to that, we clearly should have been awarded a penalty at 0-0 yesterday with Gus’ sending off being a result of gamesmanship from the Worthing player.

Although I want to stress I’m not diverting the blame, these errors have undoubtedly effected the final score. In defending the boys, do we lose on Tuesday with a competent referee? I don’t think so. Do we lose 0-4 with Gus on the pitch? Do we win if we are awarded the clear penalty? Who knows? I think it’s fair to suggest it’s a very different outcome though. What’s my point? Although we haven’t been good enough or been close to the standards we set ourselves, poor decisions haven’t helped.

In being honest with everyone, I want to offer a very clear message; I’m absolutely certain this team will have an excellent season for Kingstonian!

I’m the same Manager giving the same messages as last season. The back room staff are the same coaches who did so well. Most importantly, the core of the team who enjoyed great results for the Club are the same set of players.

Football is about facing challenges and as a team, that’s exactly what we are going to do. It’s far too early to say it’s a poor start to the new campaign. When we have played ten League games, we will have a far better indication of where we are.

Looking back to last season, we had 3pts after five games. The team went on to enjoy Kingstonian’s best season in years. If we win on Wednesday, we will have the same amount of points having played two games less and looking forward to facing Enfield and Merstham. As disappointing as the start is, let’s add perspective. There is nothing fundamentally wrong that cannot be corrected in the coming weeks.

I’m sure everyone will be pleased to hear the injuries are improving. Ollie Cook is now ready to play having worked very hard to recover from his set-back at Aveley. Both Kadell Daniel and Simon Cooper should be fit in midweek.  Corie Andrews has suffered no reaction from the injury which prevented him starting the game yesterday. He will be fully fit to face Wingate.  

In preparing for Wednesday’s game, we will look to change a few things. As single minded and as stubborn as I am, the definition of madness is doing the same thing when it’s clearly not working! For obvious reasons, I can’t say too much but rest assured, myself and the squad will be working hard in training to dramatically improve in all areas of the pitch.

In closing, on behalf of myself and the players, I want to tell you how much we have appreciated your unwavering support in these early matches. We share your frustrations and your disappointment. Lesser supporters would be barracking the players at both Cray and Worthing. However, your loyal support and continued vocal backing shows how good our supporters are. Believe me, your backing makes us even more determined to fight to improve.

Wednesday night is a big game. We will need you more than ever. Since my first day here, we have fought in every game together. That togetherness has resulted in some magical memories. The players need you more than ever on Wednesday and I know you won’t let us down.

From a personal point of view, the last time I lost my first two league game was two years ago. Merstham lost 0-3 at home to Tonbridge Angels and then 2-4 against Bognor Regis Town. Merstham went on to reach the Play-Off Final.

From Kingstonian’s perspective, who remembers the start to Season 2009/10?

The first four results were Lost 1-3, Lost 3-5, Lost 1-6, Lost 0-5. On the first Saturday in May, Dowse’s team walked out of the tunnel at Boreham Wood in the Play-Off Final.

Evidence that it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish!

Thanks again for your tremendous support. See you on Wednesday night.

Come on you K’s!

Hayden Bird

Published Sunday 27th September 2020