By Tim Blake
Slimbridge AFC has confirmed that their interim management team of Tom Speers, Tom Deakin and Adam Coyle have now been appointed on a permanent basis.
Speers and Deakin were part of Lee Driver-Dickerson’s management setup, and following his resignation to move to Evesham United, they were appointed as manager and assistant on an interim basis in November last year. They quickly moved to install Adam Coyle, making an upwards move from looking after the Swans’ Reserve side.
With a run of only a single defeat in the last seven games, and on the back of an unbeaten five-game run, Slimbridge has installed themselves firmly in mid-table, and can begin to start planning for a new season in the Southern League, the Club’s eighth at that level.
Slimbridge Co-Chairman Barry Gay was effusive in his praise for his new manager and coaches: “When Speersy and Deaks moved up after Drive left, our initial ask was that they put got the team into a position where we were not battling down the bottom of the table in a relegation fight, and they have certainly delivered on that for us. Coyley joining the team has also been a great boost to the organisation of the first team.
“They had a tough apprenticeship as they worked to put their own stamp on the side, but all their hard work is beginning to pay off, and they are already planning for next season and the ways they wish to progress the side, and indeed the whole organisation.
“So it was important for us to give them the certainty that they needed to really start working on the areas where they want to move the team and the club forward. I couldn’t be happier that it has worked out for them.”
Speers said following the announcement: “I’m buzzing! Ever since I’ve been back in England, this is probably the only job, bar the Liverpool one, that I’ve wanted. We’ve put in some good hard work over the past few months, so I feel like it’s deserved, it’s a real good start, but it is only a start. Me, Tom and Ads really want to take this club to the next level, the next chapter, and moving us up. We’ve been in this league for eight years now, so now we need to push and we need to move on.
“I’ve just told the chairman he’s going to have a heart attack when he sees my shopping list! The way the football world is you’ve got to put a bit more in to get more out of it – we probably haven’t been able to have that financial gusto, that push with someone investing properly to get us to the next level, so that’s what we’re going to try to look to do.
“We need to work harder to create revenue, create sponsorship, and really start putting ourselves more on the map, so that’s what we intend to do.”
Assistant manager Tom Deakin explained how the team would approach the challenges on the pitch as the season nears its end: “This is something that, once we were together as a three, we were working to make sure. we got – that we actually got ourselves into the job and looked to build forward. I feel like we’ve got a good plan in place, and I can’t wait to keep going – it’s not getting started, it’s keeping it going.
“We’ve got our targets for this season, and the lads know that. We’ve made it clear, what we want and what we expect. So, in that aspect, nothing has changed, we should keep pushing, we want our best ever finish at this level in a completed season. That’s what we’ve got to push for, and that’s our foundation for next season. So where we finish this time is where we start next time. That’s the aim going forward, that we set a target now, to set a target again to improve.”
Adam Coyle, who has moved through the Swans coaching staff from the Under 18s through the Reserves into the first team said: “That felt like a natural progression for me, personally. It started off quite difficult, with the run of fixtures that we had, but we’ve had a brilliant February and the lads have been superb, so I’m really excited. I think we can probably say we are safe, so we’ve really now got half an eye on next season – we will pay the respect this season deserves, we want to finish as high as we can, we want to get as many points as we can, We don’t want to see the season fizzle out, and we want to finish the season well to take us into next year.”
Slimbridge Under 18s lost their GFA County Cup Semi-Final at Thornhill Park on Tuesday, going down 4-2 to two late goals in a very entertaining encounter.
Slimbridge travel to Bideford on Saturday (3.00 pm) for a League encounter, while the Reserves host Malvern Town Development the same day at Thornhill Park (3.00pm). The Under 18’s are back in action next Tuesday (22nd, 7.30pm) when they entertain Hereford Pegasus Under 18’s at Thornhill Park.