Airportmen are set to take off
Stansted Football Club may have finished bottom of last season s Essex Senior League, but the club is certainly on its way up. The club struggled last year, but manager Terry Spillane who took over at the end of February, has steadied the ship and is help
Stansted Football Club may have finished bottom of last season's Essex Senior League, but the club is certainly on its way up.
The club struggled last year, but manager Terry Spillane who took over at the end of February, has steadied the ship and is helping to take the club forward.
Pre-season training has attracted around 50 players, while off the pitch, Hargrave Park has been improved considerably.
"We started pre-season training a few weeks ago and I'm shocked at how well it's gone," said Spillane. "We have retained all of last season's squad with 30 new boys training as well and I'm really pleased with how things are going.
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"I wanted to keep last year's lads here as I was pleased with how they did at the end of the season. They showed some good signs and I want to give them a fair crack of the whip.
"Over the next week or so we will try and whittle things down as we can't have a squad of 50 players. The standard I have seen though is going to make it very hard to pick."
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Spillane will get his first chance to see the new players in action when the Airportmen visit Broxbourne Borough on July 14 in a trial game. They will then have friendly matches against Bishop's Stortford Swifts, Takeley, Brentwood, London Colney and Ilford, before the league season kicks-off on August 11.
"We have a good relationship with Broxbourne and they are in a similar situation with a lot of new players coming in, so it's a good chance for us both to look at players and see how they do in a game situation," he said.
"We have had so many players turn up we need a lot of friendly games as we don't want to let anybody slip through our fingers."
Stansted's first big test of the season is on August 18/19 when they host Hullbridge Sports in the FA Cup extra preliminary round.
"It won't be easy as I know their coach is desperate to turn things around, but you can't ask for more than a home draw.
"To play in the FA Cup is fantastic and it would be great if we could beat Hullbridge and then who knows. I'm really looking forward to it. It's a special competition and I hope we will get a few people down supporting us."
Off the pitch, Hargrave Park has been a busy place during the summer.
"Everybody at the club, all the backroom staff, have been working really hard," said the manager.
"The pitch is looking good, the changing rooms have been improved, as has the club house and the stand. Everything behind the scenes is going well and it is definitely a club on the up and a club to be around at the moment."
Buoyed by what he has seen in training, the manager expects Stansted to enjoy a good season and comfortably improve on last year when the club won just once in the league.
"Finishing in the top half of the table will be a big improvement and anything more than that will be a bonus," he said.
"I have said to Terry (Shoebridge) that with the youngsters we have we should be in the top four in the next two or three years and if we aren't, I'm not doing my job correctly."
STANSTED reserves will be managed by Gary Carter next season and he will be assisted by Tony White.
Carter has played professionally for Fulham and Tottenham, while White has non-league experience with Cockfosters, Haringay and Stevenage.
"They are good people to have about the place and I'm looking forward to having a good relationship with them," said Spillane.
THE airportmen are looking for a physio for match days and one night during the week to fill their brand new physio room. Anybody interested should ring Spillane on 07944 074 994.