Monday Morning Manager Musings
Hayden Bird and friends discuss the recent past and the near future.
After a difficult few weeks, Kingstonian secured two 1-0 victories in the space of five days to finally bring the winning feeling back to Tolworth.
Following victories over our landlords and Bognor Regis Town, in midweek Hayden Bird's men strive to achieve a hat-trick of wins, as the team entertain Bowers and Pitsea. In a dressing room invigorated by three points, the buoyant mood was enhanced at 5.45pm. The draw had been made and news filtered through that Kingstonian were at home to Chertsey Town in the semi-final of the Surrey Senior Cup. It's been a good week which hopefully has seen the team turn the proverbial corner.
The following morning, the official website caught up with manager Hayden Bird and a few of the players to discuss recent results and ask what the K's faithful can expect for the rest of the season.
We started with Kenny Beaney, our most experienced player who few would doubt is a front runner for the Player of the Year: "Winning on Tuesday was massive for us!" claimed the creative midfield player. "Although the results have not been good, the performances have deserved more. We have stuck together, never stopped believing in ourselves and worked hard to change our fortunes. No-one has panicked. The Gaffer has been really calm with the team and made it clear that he believes in all of us. That's been really important and helped the players focus on improving."
The Club Captain, Simon Cooper, agreed with Kenny. "It's been crazy as there has not been too much wrong. It's been difficult to put your finger on it and pinpoint the problem. What's for certain is so many things have gone against us. Who plays five away games in six matches?" asked the skipper, "it's unheard of!"
"Rob's injury was a big blow, Elliott broke his nose, there have been key suspensions, Nyren getting injured in training and, let's be honest, more than a few dodgy refereeing decision!" smiled Simon whimsically.
"I think we have played well in most of the games, despite the pitches being very difficult to play our natural game," interrupted Fabio Saraiva, emphasising the point. "We've dominated matches and been punished for every single mistake. Equally, players such as Alex, Alfie and Walter have needed the time to settle and understand how we play. We all know how good all three players are and in the last few games you can see they are settling into the team now. Beating Casuals was a turning point."
Needless to say, the manager was as pleased as the players and looking forward to the challenges ahead. "Saturday's result was for the fans. We knew there would be bumps in the road at one point or another. As a club, we have discussed this. It's the nature of football when you are building. Despite that, these periods are not easy and can test people. I've got to say, the support of the Kingstonian fans has been absolutely first class and really, really appreciated," stressed the Boss.
"We held a Fans Forum on Friday night. We spoke openly to one another which hopefully provided the real picture of what has happened in recent weeks. The supporters deserved explanations and I was pleased to discuss everything with them. More than any other club I have managed, Kingstonian is defined by the fans. They are the heartbeat of the club, particularly while we are in our current nomadic position."
"Since the day I arrived, these supporters have been absolutely brilliant to me and no-one wants to repay their inspirational support more than myself and the players!"
In looking ahead, Hayden was eager to remind everyone of the importance of the cup competitions. "I've said from the outset that I want to win the Surrey Senior Cup. The only way to create a genuine winning mentality is to win trophies. If we want to be considered as one of the biggest clubs in Surrey with Woking and Dorking, Kingstonian need to win silverware. Silverware leads to silverware and silverware leads to promotion."
"If Kingstonian can win the Surrey Senior Cup and enjoy a strong end to the league season, it will be a big step forward to achieving our ultimate goals."
On Wednesday night, the team entertains Bowers and Pitsea in our third consecutive game at Tolworth, followed by a trip to Cray Wanderers on Saturday. "You know the stars are aligning when our next two opponents are playing each other on a Sunday, which means I can attend the game," smiled Hayden, "both will be dangerous opponents but both are games we approach with renewed confidence. If we can win these matches, the team will be set-up for an excellent end to the season."
"Equally, Chertsey will be a tough semi-final and is certainly not a game to be taken lightly. Kevin and Steve started the season impressively at Chertsey and Ian has continued their good work. They are a club going places and could easily be in our division next season. We will prepare meticulously for this game."
"If we are fortunate enough to win, I'd love to face Dorking Wanderers in the Cup Final. I've no doubt the Final would be played in front of a capacity crowd and would be a fitting way to end our full first season together!"
Kingstonian are at home to Bowers and Pitsea on Wednesday night. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.