New boss for Town
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.
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.
New Ashford Town boss Clive Walker
John Cumberbatch is leaving the Town side