PUSH­ING FOR THE SUM­MIT

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT -

Meakin came close to pro­mo­tion with the Sarnies – ri­vals in Evo-Stik South­ern League Di­vi­sion One Cen­tral – last sea­son and had a year left on his con­tract but turned his back on all that in favour of a third spell in charge at Hol­loways Park.

New Rams' chair­man Chris Coyle's plans for newly-re­named Town seem to have been enough to per­suade the for­mer North­wood boss to tread the back to Buck­ing­hamshire.

Meakin ad­mit­ted feel­ing guilty about the U-turn but says he would rather have it that way than be left with a sense of "if only" had he turned down the op­por­tu­nity.

“Things were all good at Egham and, to be hon­est, this op­por­tu­nity was bad tim­ing as I wanted to see out the last year of my con­tract at least,” he said.

“I had no thoughts to leave but felt if I did not take the op­por­tu­nity I could be look­ing over the fence think­ing about what might have been.

“I feel I've let peo­ple down at Egham as they were good to me but, at the same time, I can't worry about hurt­ing peo­ple's feel­ings at the ex­pense of pro­gress­ing my­self.

“It is a gam­ble but it is one I've cho­sen to take. Hope­fully, in 12 months' time, the proof of the pud­ding will be in the eat­ing rather than peo­ple be­ing able to say I should have stayed where I was.”

Coyle has wasted no time lay­ing down a marker, ditch­ing the club's as­so­ci­a­tions with the FAB Academy – a key source of play­ers over the last few sea­sons, many of whom had pro­gressed to pro­fes­sional clubs.

It seems Coyle feels that was at the cost of the club's iden­tity, so Meakin is back to adopt a more tra­di­tional non-league model – build­ing a team to chal­lenge for pro­mo­tion.

“The idea of FAB might have worked but it was just its own en­tity re­ally,” said Meakin.

“All the play­ers who left for pro clubs just went and the club got noth­ing for them.

“The new chair­man clearly wasn't hav­ing that and now it is all about Bea­cons­field.”

While there is new money in the pot, a rare sight at Bea­cons­field, Meakin won't be see­ing much of it to be­gin with at least.

The em­pha­sis will be on a ground up­grade, mak­ing the club more so­cial me­dia savvy and es­tab­lish­ing an U21 side for some con­ti­nu­ity.

“There is money, but no more than I had at Egham,” added Meakin – “we've not got a mil­lion dol­lars.

“It will be about in­fras­truc­ture first rather than pay­ing play­ers more than they are worth.”

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