This is the news Eastbourne Borough fans have all been waiting for; the club this week unveiled their new boss and, it would seem, this is just what he’s been waiting for too.
Tommy Widdrington has signed a two and a half year contract at Borough after turning down recent offers from other clubs.
Speaking exclusively to the Herald, Widdrington said, “I’ve rebuffed a couple of job offers over the past couple of months because they just weren’t the ones for me. I’ve waited for a job like this so it was an easy decision to come here in the end.”
Widdrington, who lives in Southend, was manager of Hemel Hempstead Town up until his Boro’ appointment and is already sending out a message that he means business at the club.
“The players here earn a wage so we’re going to squeeze as much as we can out of everyone. They’re not here for nothing. It’s all about commitment and being focussed on the job in hand.
“We all have one chance to make a good first impression. They’ll make an impression on us and we’ll see which players fit and which ones don’t.”
Eastbourne Borough have been on a slump of late having won just one of their last 14 league matches, and currently sit at 18th in the Blue Square South.
“The team have got into the habit of not winning games and habits are hard to break, good or bad.”
The Geordie, however, is confident that he and assistant manager Alan Kimble can return that winning mentality to Priory Lane over time.
“It’s not going to happen overnight, Rome wasn’t built in a day. But the foundations are here, the bricks are here and we can build on that. We just need to stop the slide and start the push.”
Widdrington is familiar to the non-league scene after a five year stint at Salisbury City between 2005 and 2010, the latter two years of which were spent at the helm of the National Conference outfit.
“Salisbury and Eastbourne have almost mirrored each other’s progress over recent years. You can see from my record there that I know what I’m doing at this level.
“I know a lot about a lot of the players here. With the talent we got, the club is under-performing. We’re just looking to stabilise the club this season and then go on an upward cycle.”
Former Wimbledon player Alan Kimble has been appointed as Widdrington’s right-hand man after they shared the same working relationship at Hemel Hempstead. Having played alongside the likes of Vinnie Jones and John Fashanu at Wimbledon, Kimble wants to rekindle some of the same ‘Crazy Gang spirit’ at Eastbourne Borough.
“You need characters in the dressing room. We have to try and make this a happier place and see which players are up for the fight.
“First and foremost though, we have to make the team organised and hard to beat.
“Fitness is very important, you can’t beat being fit.”
The duo’s first match in charge will be away to Sutton United, with their Priory Lane debut coming the Tuesday after when Borough face Dartford.
“Football’s our life, we want to be successful,” Kimble added. “We want to make it work for us, for the club and for the Chairman, who’s worked so hard to get us here.”
Widdrington is already ringing the changes on the pitch, starting with the dug-outs. With one bench closer to the linesman than the other, Widdrington will be swapping the home and away dug-outs to ensure he gets nearer to the official.
While it may not be quite the first change Borough fans had in mind, they’ll all be hoping it won’t be long before they see a shift in fortunes and results on the pitch to accompany the change of face off of it.