Yesterday we caught up with 1st manager Dwinder Tamna and we discuss all things for the 2019-2020 season and to speak about what happened with that disaster of a season last year.
1) What are you looking to improve with the squad this season?
Squad improvement includes a togetherness, positivity, energy, enjoyment factor, discipline, ball retention, pace, end product, focus, goals, desire, leaders all over the pitch... a squad that will compete and never give up, running through brick walls for each other!
2) Have you got your eye on any summer recruits?
There are many and with the new management team in place there have been a few interested parties that are coming to pre-season... final signings will be revealed soon.
3) Tell us about your new management team?
This season sees a new management team in place, a complete revamp and a professional infrastructure.
Dwinder Tamna –Manager, Nick Cella - Assist Man.
Lewin Craig - 1st Coach, Stephen McRaye - 1st Coach
Dean Cooke - GK Coach, Anthony Ellis - GK Coach
Harrison Barnes - Junior Coach/ Matchday Co-ordinator
Andrew Ibitoye – Head Physio, Tim Moffatt - Club Captain
4) What’s your ambitions for the season?
Mine and clubs ambitions and target this season without doubt is promotion - securing a top 3 position. We are working hard to build a squad and a team to compete and meet those targets.
A good healthy run in the FA Vase and other cups runs would be a nice bonus to which we will push and will also give us opportunity to give plenty of games to our squad... I am also looking forward to our 1st entry into the London Senior Trophy.
5) The club had a poor season last time out what do you put this down to?
Last season was the worst ever on record, but with that come’s a change and silver lining, a mind-set change is one! Main reasons I see for the demise was the lack of quality, turnover of too many players, management disarray, too many fundamental mistakes which were ever to present. This will be corrected without doubt this season. Sometimes you have to get taught a lesson to learn from it and this will definitely be learnt from.
6) Is there any future for getting an u18s squad back up and running?
The clubs future will always rely on what is coming through its ranks so an U18's would be the next logical step maybe mixed in with U23's.. but this season is too late unfortunately I think. We would be interested in getting something going for next season.
7) What do you think will be key for a more successful season this season?
The key for success is everyone in the setup of the club pulling in the same direction, on field consistency, direction, desire, end product, no mistake’s, basically everything and anything that will provide a solid platform for all to excel on and from to achieve our goals.
8) Looking back at last season was you nervous about the club facing relegation?
Last season was a pressured time, but I saw the danger signs way back in October 2018. With hard work going on behind the scenes with the FA and the league it was all in the balance. Let’s say it was an uncomfortable time until I found out we had been reprieved, which was a huge relief.
9) Who would you say is meridians biggest rivals?
First and foremost people automatically assume teams as biggest rivals... for me it’s different! The biggest rival in a season is our belief, our desire, our confidence. Being where we were last season, it was not other teams it was ourselves, although we played some great football at times we were our own downfall too. So this season we will definitely learn from our mistakes and move forward with all the right elements.
10) How do we get the community more involved within the club?
Community involvement is key, social media in today’s age also gives good exposure. The website, the program the content this will hopefully show people we are trying. The club has recruited several people who are good in their field and were in talks with others to boost the clubs profile to a bigger audience.
11) We heard assistant manager Greg has left the club can you tell us more on this?
Unfortunately Greg Affonso decided to leave this season. The pressure was immense on Greg for a variety of reasons I presume. Greg left for family reasons to spend more time with family and plus the opportunity I think to work with Southend United. I thank Greg for all his hard work over the past two seasons and wish him the very best.
12) Do you think the club can have a good run in the FA Vase this season?
The FA Vase is a fantastic competition, this a cup competition which can really raise your profile. I thought what the likes of Cray Valley, Canterbury done this season was fantastic for the SCEFL. Two seasons ago the club made its own history being the only SCEFL club left in the competition and had its best run ever reaching the 2nd round being beaten by Horley Town. With the right mentality, squad and focus individuals and teams can achieve anything and I believe this... just at look at Cray Valley who reached Wembley this season.
13) So with pre-season up next what are your main focuses during this time?
The main focus is to assess the right players. Do they have the commitment needed to play at this level, can we create a good team spirit and environment. The fixtures we have during pre- season will bring some really good challenges so I’m looking forward to that.
Training sessions we will focus on doing the work with the ball, ensuring players are fit and ready for competitive 2019/2020 season.
14) You’ve got the boys in extra early what’s your thing behind this?
Pre-season is early, reason being is the club will never go through what we did last season. It will be a total new build of the squad, everyone on a clean slate, with a new build it takes longer, with retained players you know what they can do so you have that advantage.. I want my management to assess everything, discuss ideas, discuss players only then to make sure we have the right balance and mix.
15) The club has open trials on Wednesday the 5th June what’s the up take been like on this?
With open trials approaching on the 5th June, there has been a decent interest. There are many players from good levels and of good experience willing to show up and make a difference. It is safe to say I and the management are excited and relish the challenge to select the right squad. YOU WILL SEE A NEW LOOK MVP….!