Lindsey excited for Chatham return
Lindsey excited for Chatham return

The Southern Counties Eastern Football League’s new season will begin on Saturday 5th September and Chatham Town boss Scott Lindsey is just one boss who can’t wait…

Speaking to KSN, the Chats boss admitted, “We’ve had a lot of time off – a lot of time at home – it’s been nice for me to get out onto the training ground, makes you feel a little more normal as you have to organise and deliver training sessions – it’s been good to get back into it!”

“You never really switch off as a manager – I know that you usually get that bit of time off in the close season, but I don’t think that you usually switch off as you’re always planning pretty much straight away for the following season as you’re looking at players, you’re looking at availability of players who you can sign – obviously talking closely with your Chairman about budgets and what the club wants to do and where the club wants to go.”

“And so, in the actual Lockdown period, I’ve done probably more work than if things had been normal. It’s given me and others time to prepare and make signings, speak to players which we did allowing us to assemble a squad ready to go when we get the confirmation that we’ve all been waiting for!”

The suspension and subsequent nullifying of last season deprived SCEFL watchers of arguably the greatest finale to a League season, with the top of the table incredibly tight.

“At the end of the day we were disappointed that the season was abruptly finished,” Lindsey told us, “because we still had a chance of promotion, so it was a disappointment for us as we still had eight games left with Beckenham still to play and we felt confident that we could go on and win all the remaining games, which could have possibly been enough to get us promoted.”

“There was nothing that we could do about it – we’re not going to make a song and dance about it, we’ll just prepare ourselves the best we can come hopefully September.”

“The beauty with my Chairman is that we always knew what the budget for the new season would be, so I’m lucky that I’ve got a really organised man at the top of the club who’s really organised and has a number of businesses and does really well.”

“We knew roughly what the budget was going to be anyway, so rather than sit at home and do nothing, we’ve made signings and started organising a squad that we feel is going to be very competitive for this level of football.”

The Chats boss has been busy strengthening his squad with possibly two of the shrewdest signings of this lockdown pre-season thus far gaining the signatures of both Andy Pugh and Ryan Hayes, Lindsey admitted, “They will probably be seen as two big signings and rightly so as they’re two really good players who I’m delighted to get both of them into the building.”

“They’re good players with experience of playing at higher levels all their respective careers, and I’m really delighted to have them both on board – they’re both very good professionals which you can see in the way that they train and the way that they hold themselves around the building.”

One player not returning to Maidstone Road is skipper and leading striker Paul Vines – his now ex manager paid him this tribute; “Vinesy was outstanding for me; as a person I have massive respect for Vinesy, as a player he did very well for me and was a big servant to the football club and will be remembered at Chatham Town forever I would think.”

“It was a difficult one for me that I felt we had to do for the club to move forward. It’s a side of management that I’m not very good at – releasing players – I don’t like it, but it’s something that I have to do as a manager however much I don’t like it!”

“It’s really clear to see that the club are making real strides forward in every aspect off the pitch. I can’t speak for other clubs as I don’t really know what their situations are, all I can do is speak for ourselves and we’re really organised and we’re happy with the business that we’ve done.”

“Off the field, the community work the club has done has been really, really impressive – it’s been outstanding really for a small club for all the work that they’ve put in during the Lockdown period. A very impressive football club – for an outsider looking in they’d certainly think that it’s a football club moving forward, doing all the right things in terms of the community; in terms of the improvements at the stadium itself – it’s a fantastic place and you can only go there on a Tuesday or a Thursday night and see the amount of people there interested in the club, whether their child is being coached – it is a hive of activity with social distancing of course being observed…”

“At the end of the day we’re all doing this because as we want to play football and win games in competitive football – we haven’t been doing that’ we’ve just been ticking over which does get kind of boring after a while, but as coaches and managers we’ve got to make it as interesting as we can for every player that is going to turn up, and so far I hope that we have!”