Team need to fall back in love with football

Laundon and Colwell have been working 'tirelessly' to bring the likes of 40-goal striker Liam Baitup to The Saffrons
Laundon and Colwell have been working 'tirelessly' to bring the likes of 40-goal striker Liam Baitup to The Saffrons

The challenge facing Ady Colwell and Kevin Laundon when they took over the reins at the Saffrons was monumental.

The previous management duo of Garry WIlson and Danny Bloor had left to take charge at Lewes and a high percentage of back-room staff and players duly followed them to the Dripping Pan, leaving Eastbourne Town bereft of men both on and off the field.

However, while starting from scratch is never easy, it gave new bosses Colwell and Laundon - the former club manager and the latter team manager - the chance to stamp their mark on the club immediately and assemble a squad they can call their own - a task they have done and done well.

And while some may be hoping the new management duo will carry on from where the previous pair left off, team manager Kevin Laundon insists there’s something more simple that takes priority.

He said, “Our main aim is to enjoy it. I’ve got so many young players who need to fall back in love with football.

“If you love it and enjoy it, the results will come. If you don’t, then they won’t.That’s why I took the job, to enjoy it. It has been tough but there’s a great atmosphere around the club.

“Obviously, we want a top-half finish as well. When we came in to the job, we weren’t just looking at the short term, we’re more interested in the long term.

“While we won’t drop out of the division, it may be that we need to take a slight step back in order to move forward.

“We’ll see how we go and if something’s not working, we’ll change it with a view to building on it the following year and the year after and so on.“

Town have enjoyed a relatively successful pre-season, registering draws in friendlies with Lewes and, more recently, Westfield and triumphing over Crowborough Athletic and Hailsham Town. Their sole defeat came at the hands of rivals Eastbourne Borough.

While pre-season games are important for any side in regaining fitness and cohesion ahead of a new season, Laundon believes it’s been even more beneficial for his side but still thinks they may be a few steps behind some other clubs.

He said, “It’s always going to be difficult coming in to a clean slate and where we were a bit late getting started because of the new appointment, we are slightly behind in our preparation. Some teams have been together four or five years but for us, it may take a couple more games to find out what areas we are strong in and which areas we may be slightly weaker in.

“We had some pre-season training sessions where 60 to 70 people turned up, which is really encouraging but there’s bound to be one or two we’ve overlooked. However, the signs are really promising.

“Where we don’t have a fixed starting 11, everyone will be out to impress and there will be changes, twists and turns along the way. The lads are all fit and ready and raring to go, though.

“It has been a challenge but we are all smiling and hopefully we’ll still be smiling come quarter to five on Saturday, If not, we’ll just go back to the drawing board and try to fix it.”