Crunch time for Cugley
THE MID-TO-LATE 2008 Folkestone Invicta era will come to close on Saturday, when the first team convene together for the last time to take on Corinthian-Casuals at the Buzzlines Stadium.
Manager Neil Cugley has admitted that after the final whistle, the squad will have a few beers and shake hands, before many of them walk out of the ground for the final time.
Cugley will remain, however, to pick up the pieces before the club’s trip to Cray on Tuesday.
How many of the team that start on Saturday will then run out at Hayes Lane on Tuesday is anyones guess.
“I’m delighted that the players have decided to all play on Saturday,” Cugley said. “Since the news about the club’s problems came out we haven’t had a chance to get together. Saturday will give us that chance, so we can properly bring the curtain down on this short era of the
“Its pleasing that I’ll be able to put out a strong side, and hopefully we’ll be able to put on a good show and win the game.
“After that, most of the players will be off to other clubs. You can’t blame them for that. They’ve got to earn some money and that’s not possible here at the moment.”
In preparation for the large hole set to be left in terms of playing personnel, Cugley ran his eye over a cast of first team hopefuls during a 2-1 friendly win against Herne Bay on Tuesday evening.
Many of the faces on show could find themselves in the starting line-up on Tuesday, as Folkestone try to stop what could be an inevitable slide from promotion hopefuls to Ryman League Division 1 South also-rans.
“From Sunday onwards things are going to be different,” Cugley said. “We’ll be trying to set the foundations for a new start. I’ll be talking to some of the local players, including some of the reserves who played well on Tuesday.”
As far as the manager’s own situation is concerned, although he has been left shocked by the events of the past week, he is willing to battle on.
“I was very shocked and disappointed when I received the news about the club’s problems on Thursday morning,” Cugley said. “It came completely out of the blue. The board agreed a budget for me at the start of the season that would allow us to compete for a play-off place.
“Although that situation has changed and it doesn’t look good at the moment, I will be staying for the foreseeable future as I think of myself as a loyal person, and in my 12 years at the club, Folkestone have been loyal to me.”
Sadly it is the second time that Folkestone could lose their senior club to financial problems.
The rise of Invicta through the ranks of the lower divisions to take up the mantle left by Folkestone Town was outstanding and supporters will be hoping the club can surmount this setback.
Invicta face meltdown - report on on page 1