New boss for Town

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - SPORT - by Brian Cum­ming

MAN­AGER John Cum­ber­batch has be­come the first vic­tim of the new drive by Ash­ford Town Foot­ball Club to stop be­ing the Ry­man League’s peren­nial un­der­achiev­ers.

The Town have ap­pointed for­mer Maid­stone and Dover boss Clive Walker to kick start their am­bi­tion to be among the sides press­ing at the other end of the Di­vi­sion 1 ta­ble next sea­son.

The new board un­der chair­man Mark Jen­ner have de­clared their in­ten­tion of re­ju­ve­nat­ing the Town club start­ing with im­prove­ments at Home­lands Sta­dium dur­ing the sum­mer.

And they are also ea­ger to get the right team in place to turn the club’s for­tunes around on the pitch as well.

Cum­ber­batch, like­able, ded­i­cated and hard work­ing, had the mis­for­tune to have to take over the club when they were again strug­gling to avoid rel­e­ga­tion af­ter for­mer owner Tim Thoro­good de­cided to step down late in the sea­son as co-man­ager.

He did a pretty good job in re­vi­tal­is­ing the team de­spite hav­ing few re­sources and in the end the play­ers he brought in saw Town to safety.

But Cum­ber­batch, like Sven at a higher level, was as­so­ci­ated with a strug­gling team and the new board have de­cided to go for the ex­pe­ri­ence of Walker who has twice taken Dover to the brink of pro­mo­tion be­fore be­ing dis­missed af­ter miss­ing out again this sea­son.

Walker, a highly rated man­ager with more than 45 years in the game, has en­joyed suc­cess at all lev­els as a player and team boss.

World Cup

He played at the high­est level with his home club Le­ices­ter in the 1960s in a squad that in­cluded World Cup hero Gor­don Banks.

Af­ter play­ing at Northamp­ton he fin­ished his play­ing ca­reer in non-league with Chelms­ford and Gravesend.

He went on to man­ager Northamp­ton for two spells and Maid­stone United.

He had two spells as boss at Dover af­ter join­ing the club in 1997.

Af­ter be­ing sacked af­ter his first sea­son he re­turned to Crab­ble as man­ager in Jan­uary 2005 hav­ing had a spell in-be­tween in charge at Chatham.

In ap­point­ing Walker chair­man Mark Jen­ner said: “The Board be­lieves they have cho­sen the right man to mount a real chal­lenge for pro­mo­tion next sea­son backed up by sub­stan­tial in­vest­ment in ground im­prove­ments and re­fur­bish­ment at the Home­lands and a re­al­is­tic play­ing bud­get.

“A num­ber of new play­ers will be join­ing the club for the start of the new sea­son to strengthen the squad that fin­ished the last cam­paign with a very strong run of form.”

Jen­ner said that he was sorry to lose John Cum­ber­batch who had been very loyal to the club and had tried his best to achieve suc­cess in what had been dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances but that the board had felt that a change was nec­es­sary if pro­mo­tion was to be achieved in the short term.

ONE suc­cess for Town this sea­son was win­ning the first ever Pro­gramme of the Sea­son award in­tro­duced by the Ry­man League this sea­son.

The award is spon­sored by Red­eye Sports Man­age­ment in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Pro­fes­sional Foot­ballers As­so­ci­a­tion, and Ash­ford won the Di­vi­sion 1 South sec­tion from Kingsto­nian and Maid­stone.

The pro­gramme is compliled by sec­re­tary Elaine Ors­bourne and wins the club some gym equip­ment.

FOR­MER Ash­ford boss Neil Cu­g­ley has been given a new one-year con­tract to keep him at Folkestone In­victa un­til the end of the 2007-08 sea­son.

Cu­g­ley took over as In­victa man­ager dur­ing the sum­mer of 1997 and last sea­son was his 10th in charge, keep­ing the Folkestone club in the Ry­man Pre­mier League on the last day of the sea­son with a 1-1 draw away to Car­shal­ton Ath­letic.

He had com­pleted 500 games in charge of the club in the re­verse fix­ture at home to Car­shal­ton last De­cem­ber.

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New Ash­ford Town boss Clive Walker

John Cum­ber­batch is leav­ing the Town side

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