We sat down at the end of last week to talk with Binfield manager Roger Herridge about cup final disappointment, what it’s like to see players move on and his plans for the 2017/18 Uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division campaign.
How are you doing after the end of last season? Is the excitement back?
Doing well, so many things happening off the pitch with the development so an exciting time for the club.
On the pitch we are are enjoying being back to training with some new and some familiar faces.
A testing time for a manager as you look to put a competitive squad together in competition with rival clubs some with greater resource.
You’ve proven yourself ‘adept’ at picking up gems for your sides. How do you go about doing that?
I have never been afraid to give a young player a chance or someone looking to step up a level, if there good enough and have the right attitude that works for me.. I watch a lot of games, I speak to a lot of friends I have in football, it’s all about networking.
The hardest part with the younger players is managing expectations, they have generally come from youth football where they are used to playing every week. They them come into senior football and expect the same which isn’t always possible unless they are really special of course, Josh Howell for example.
Even them you have to protect them a little as they get used to the physical element at the new level.
Last season was certainly one of ups and downs but you finished in a healthy 8th and saw several youngster come good for you, particularly Luke Hayden. Are they in the hat for the new season?
Yes a season of ups and downs but an 8th place finish not a disaster, some very good sides finished lower in the table than we did.
We came through a particularly sticky patch during September, bouncing back with great wins against Flackwell Heath and Thame. Fortunate to make some good signings in our hour of need too such as Browny [Jeff Brown], Smithy [Gary Smith] and Brad Pagliaroli.
Yes Luke will be a big part of this seasons squad too, there’s more like him coming through too so look out for them.
Binfield have not finished outside the top eight since they joined the Hellenic Premier in 2009, what do you put that down to and is it an added pressure?
That’s not a bad record is it! It probably tells you everything you need to know about the club which is that’s its better run than any club at this level and probably better than most at the level above too.
It’s a great place to play, its had some fantastic managers too with Steve McClurg, Richard Whitty and obviously Mark Tallentire. Hard acts to follow and the task made even harder by the resurgence of our local rivals.
Pressure? Yes probably but that’s good for motivation. We have lost a number of fantastic players to other clubs which is disappointing but I am always confident that I can put a competing squad together.
Has the disappointment of the end of last season’s cup finals changed your outlook at all? Or is it just a case of going again?
Always a disappointed to lose a cup final but we are at least consistently getting to these occasions where many don’t.
Unfortunately we came up against a very very good Bracknell Town in both, I was pleased with how we competed in both games however they just had that little bit more experience and quality to which ultimately won them both cups.
How do you deal with players moving on? There have been a few departures it seems but how do you move on from that?
It breaks my heart! We have had a bit of that over the last few seasons but I think that’s just the way it is these days, much different from my playing days.
Hopefully when players leave we part on good terms, sometimes they go because they are unhappy as not playing enough (you can’t keep everyone happy all the time) other times they move on because they feel another club has a better chance of success in terms of winning the league.
These clubs tend to have greater resources too so we just have to take that on the chin and get on with it. The door is always open for any player to return, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side after all.
It’s important to focus on the players that do want to be at your club and we will always have plenty of those.
What are your main challenges and targets going in to this season? Is the FA Cup for example a priority?
No a high position in the league is our priority, we target a top 6 finish plus winning a cup so that’s the aim.
We hope to progress through a round or two of both FA competitions as there good financial reward.
And finally, where are you looking to strengthen ahead of the new season – any players we should look out for?
I have a bit of work to do to be where I want to be come August 1st, we have been dealt a few blows in the last week with the loss of both Ferdi and Harrison Bayley plus a couple of others that have decided they can’t commit this season.
We have the makings of a good squad though but a good goalkeeper is a priority plus a goal scorer. We need goals to come from more areas of the pitch too that’s for sure.
Don’t like mentioning too many names as before you know it the seven day approaches will come in but look out for Luke Hayden who I expect big things from this season plus the Lee brothers Harry and Ed.
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