In the run up to Saturday’s game at Plainmoor, Dom Roman spoke to Bromley FC man James Tanner about his team, their season so far, the returning Brett Williams and more….
Hi James – before we talk about Saturday’s game at Plainmoor, can you tell us what your role is at Bromley and how you got involved with the club?
I became involved with the football club after being introduced by my good friend Matt Hall back in 2014 and that was originally writing match reports for the website and odd articles in the Match Day Programme. Since then I’ve gone on to take up the role as Programme Editor, a sporadic member of our away day commentary team and on most match days you can usually find me tweeting the live updates for the Bromley FC account!
How has the Bromley season gone so far – has it met the club’s and fans expectations?
No doubt about it, this has been a very successful season for the club. We find ourselves in and around the play-off places and into the last 16 of the Buildbase FA Trophy, a competition we really want to go far in this season.
As custom with Bromley though, it still has been a rollercoaster of a ride. Incredible wins such as our 6-1 home victory over Leyton Orient have been matched with our 5-1 loss away to Dagenham & Redbridge earlier on in the season. The FA Cup 2nd Round continues to elude us, having seen off Kent rivals Dover Athletic to reach the First Round Proper, we were confidently put to the sword by Rochdale, losing 4-0 at Spotland.
This season is certainly looking to meet expectations with the club’s target of bettering last season’s 10th place finish being more than achievable.
How has Brett Williams done for you since arriving from Plainmoor?
Brett’s been a part of the newly moulded squad since the start of Pre-Season last year and continues to be an integral part of our team. I think he would be the first to admit that maybe he could have scored a few more goals this season, but with the likes of Louis Dennis and Josh Rees very rarely having off days this season it would be wrong to expect him to have amounted numbers similar to theirs. Brett has found himself outside of the starting eleven in previous weeks but he remains a very useful figure to have at Bromley Football Club.
Brett was often accused of lacking effort whilst at Plainmoor and divided opinion amongst our supporters – what’s his attitude been like at Bromley?
I can certainly see how he could divide opinion, and I know there is some debate amongst Bromley fans. He does have a style to his play that could evoke a sort of laid back attitude. But when he has had a decent run in the team at Bromley the effort has been there at times and he’s popped up with some good displays. As mentioned he has been mainly making substitute appearances recently and he has come on with a positive attitude when brought on. I think it would be wrong for me to pass a complete judgement on him having only watched him for just over half a season.
Which players should we look out for on Saturday, apart from Brett?!
The two just mentioned would be the first to keep an eye on. Louis Dennis has quickly become a cult hero at Hayes Lane, he’s been moved to a more central role this season but that hasn’t taken anything away from his game. He continues to be a menace and has been firing goals off his left foot and right, from all sorts of distances! Josh Rees has been superb in the attacking midfield role so far; we will do very well to hold onto his services past this season. A further mention must go to Luke Wanadio, the winger has made the step up from the National League South and certainly hasn’t looked out of place at this level, his goals and assists have been frequent through 2017 and into 2018.
Have you got the right man in charge and what sort of tactics should we expect from Bromley?
We certainly do! Neil Smith knows Bromley inside and out, and the progression made over his two years as Manager has been fantastic. It was only really this season that he was able to create his own squad and implement the style of play that he has been looking to do since taking full-time charge. Smith, along with Mark Hammond and the rest of the coaching staff have really brought the community aspect of the club right through to the first team and it’s a fantastic time to not just be involved at the club, but also be a fan of the club.
In terms of tactics, you can expect a solid defence, backed up by a confident young goalkeeper in David Gregory. That then allows our attacking players like Dennis, Rees and Wanadio to attack in numbers and with pace. Our home 3G surface has promoted a quick passing game but that doesn’t completely define our style. You can expect to see some a mixture of passing play, but a more direct style of football will be used when needed.
Can you make the play-offs and would you be able to step up to League football?
This is certainly an area that has been on the minds of many Bromley supporters at the minute. Play-Offs in my view would certainly be achievable. Whether the club is ready for the step up is something to debate, especially with the issue surrounding 3G pitches in the Football League. In my view, I think another year at this level would do us no harm at all. We have the construction of a new all seater stand, a similar design to your Family Stand, which is due to start this year and that will provide much-needed infrastructure that would allow us to make that step-up to the Football League. Bear in mind, there is still some way to go in this season and I for one will not get too ahead of myself just yet!
What has been the secret of Bromley’s success in recent years?
It’s hard to place our rise to the National League on one reason alone, however the stability and support from our Chairman Jerry Dolke along with the current investors and staff associated with the club have firmly placed Bromley as a National League side.
Our promotion out of the then Conference South League was down to a group of players that were perfect for that level. We then took quite a few teams by surprise in our first season in this league but we had to endure a spell over the past two seasons dealing with a squad that probably wasn’t completely up to National League quality.
Over the summer Neil Smith has been able to rectify that and put together one of the best squads this club has ever seen. So I would say the stability off the pitch matched with some real quality on the pitch is the formula for our recent success.
I’d imagine you are expecting to come down and beat us this weekend! Any predictions?
Very few of the Bromley contingent that travel around the country to watch the Ravens turn up to grounds with that level of confidence, and I apply myself to that group! Nothing’s certain in this league and the two clubs have played out some incredible fixtures over the past three years. You guys got the better of us last year in what was a truly dire performance from us.
On paper the fixture matches up the joint top scorers in the league against the lowest scorers in the league. I know for a fact I’ll be seeing a number of tweets coming through our twitter account from people with bets on us to put a few past you. So I can only see it going one way, a 0-0 draw!
What’s your views on TUFC and our current plight, if any?
Ever since my first visit to Plainmoor back in 2014, I’ve actually really enjoyed the trips down and it will be a real shame to lose you from the National League should you face the relegation at the end of the season. I can’t really comment on the wider scale issues surrounding the club, as I’m not clued up on them as much as I’d like. As a club you have pulled off some great escapes in previous seasons, unfortunately we seem to have one of the key reasons behind those escapes in our squad!
I can only hope you find a way to get out of the situation you are in, and in some cases a drop down gives a chance for a club to rebuild and work its way back up to where it belongs.