Michael Herbert talks about the future and what’s next for the Division 1 East winner




It’s been over two weeks since one of the busiest days in FiB history when Mark Tallentire left Bracknell Town and later that evening, Michael Herbert stepped aside at Woodley United.

We spoke to the latter a week ago about what the future held for the man who had led the Kestrels to their highest ever competitive level in his first and only full season in charge.

It’s been just over a week now since you stepped down at Woodley – there have been a few other managers as well since then, how have things been going?

Things have been going well, good to take a little break from it. We received lots of supportive messages from the players and people within football for what we achieved at Woodley, which was nice.

What’s the plan going forward? Are you looking for another role?

We are looking for another role. Important that we find the right fit and we won’t jump at the first offer just for the sake of it. I will be helping Danny Langford out at Newbury in the meantime. Danny’s given be a great opportunity to get back into football right away and I am looking forward to it.

Related: Meet the new Woodley United boss

That’s good to hear. When did you decide you might want a fresh challenge? Taking Woodley up was obviously a huge achievement.

It was on our mind in pre season. The club told us that they wouldn’t be able to deliver us the budget we were promised. We decided to stay for the sake of the players but after a meeting with the board in the last 3 weeks, they had ideas of going down another route and concentrating on developing the youth teams. It all came to an amicable resolution. We are very proud of what we achieved in the 18 months.

I am happy to help out Newbury in the meantime but we are still looking for a challenge in the Premier division. We see ourselves as a Hellenic League management team and we are sure with a club that matches our ambition we can exceed the success we had at Woodley. We would rather that came sooner rather than later but understand we may need to be patient.

Was Woodley your first managerial job? What do you take from it and what one one piece of advice have you/or would you give to your successor?

No I’ve been coaching now for the last 7 years, previously managing Mortimer, Tilehurst Albion and at the university of west of England where I enjoyed two back to back promotions.

I have learnt a great deal from my time at Woodley. Team spirit is vital and so is having a united squad. Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard. We showed that last season.

My advice to James would be to try and find a 25 goal a season striker who will play for free. That’s what the team needs, unfortunately there is not many of those about. And to be honest.
Honesty is key to being a good manager.

Woodley United manager James Anderson.
Woodley United manager James Anderson.

There’s an obvious vacancy at the moment in the Hellenic Premier, has that crossed your mind?

Highmoor is a good club with so much potential. Marcus has done a great job there for the last 3 seasons. They are a club going in the right direction, as you can see with the improvements they have made to Rivermoor. I’m sure they have a contingency plan with Marcus stepping down. We are available and looking to get back to managing and believe we can bring success to a club if they share in our ambition. Highmoor would certainly fall into that category.

Highmoor Ibis manager Marcus Richardson. Photo: Colin Byers.
Highmoor Ibis manager Marcus Richardson. Photo: Colin Byers.

You’re a manager that does his homework, we know that but was there anything that surprised you about the step up from D1E to the Prem? What’s the biggest difference between the two divisions?

Fitness and intensity. Teams don’t look to try and play, there play percentages and work off your mistakes. Quality in front of goal is also a big difference. You have some top strikers playing in the Hellenic Premier.

One last question would just be ‘what was the most memorable moment as Woodley boss?’

The cup final was a great way to end the season. The whole day was fantastic from our pre match preparation, facilities at Bracknell Town, the result and the night out after. Best group of players I have ever had the pleasure to manage. It was a great way to finish a really successful season.

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