“Smudger demands hard work and team work, and so far that’s exactly what he is getting out of this group”
We continue our opposition interview series, this time it’s James Tanner who chats about his team Bromley FC before Saturday’s match with the Gulls:
TT – Hi James good to speak to again! Before we discuss the team, tell us a bit about yourself and your connection to Bromley FC?
JT – Hi Dom, good to be playing Torquay once again! I am the Kit Manager as well as a Media Assistant at Bromley Football Club, taking up a full-time role at Hayes Lane for this season – something I am really enjoying and relishing.
How did pre-season go for the club and have you made any notable signings for 19-20?
Pre-season could be described in one word. Solid. We didn’t score many but as a defensive unit we were compact and that translated into our first game of the season away at Chorley.
Notable signings include Michael Cheek and Chris Bush, both from Ebbsfleet. Billy Bingham from Gillingham was another of the big signings as he partners up in midfield with his good friend Frankie Raymond. Joe Kizzi joined from Billericay, adding goals and pace to the side from right-back.
Goalkeeper Mark Cousins was another coup, the 20 clean sheets he totalled at Barnet last season was an incredible achievement and certainly caught the eye of our management team. Reeco Hackett-Farichild was with us on loan from Charlton last season but has since made the move permanent adding to our formidable options on the wing. Adrian Clifton made the switch from Maidenhead to Hayes Lane adding power to our strike-force.
Another striker joining us was Korrey Henry from Braintree Town who had a very positive end to his season, which made the move to Bromley come about. And a late deal for us completed the night before the season opener was midfielder Michael Klass joining on a loan deal from Southend United, he’s looked sharp in his two substitute appearances so far.
What are your expectations for the season ahead, can Bromley challenge for promotion?
The early business has helped form belief and confidence in the team this year. Last season was possibly hampered by an FA Trophy hangover, there’s none of that this year. This squad is capable of anything and it has been a real pleasure to be a part of the preparations and be able to witness the hard work in action.
How have your first two games gone?
Chorley away on the opening day was a tough battle. Neither side truly tested either of the goalkeepers, but we looked very astute in defence. Whilst the boys were disappointed not to get the win, the over-ruling emotions were positive as it was a point earned and a clean sheet away from home. The win against Ebbsfleet United on Tuesday has brought with it a huge surge of energy around the place. It’s always nice beating your rivals and the goals were really well worked. Of course, it was a shame to concede a late goal, a goal that flatters Ebbsfleet as they really didn’t deserve anything out of the game. But to get a win on the board gives everyone confidence going into Saturday’s match against you.
Which players should we be looking out for and why?
It’s very hard to pick out a few names, this squad is exactly that – a squad. There’s quality all around the dressing room from goalkeeper Mark Cousins through to striker Michael Cheek (who car share to training in fact). I suppose it’s hard to not give a mention to Billy Bingham who scored two on Tuesday, one being an absolute rocket from 30 yards. If you haven’t seen the video of it make sure to check out the highlights from the game, it was ridiculous. Chris Bush has also stepped into the back four with ease and I’m pretty sure has won every header and battle he’s faced so far in 180 minutes of National League football in a Bromley shirt.
Who’s the man in charge and what sort of tactics does he employ?
Neil Smith, Smudger as he is known to everyone, is into his fourth season in charge but has been with the club for over ten years now. He lives in Bromley and he really does embody the passion around our club. Everyone is right behind him to go and achieve something special this season, and any success that does come couldn’t happen to a nicer man. I won’t delve too much into tactics but, Smudger demands hard work and team work, and so far that’s exactly what he is getting out of this group.
What’s Hayes Lane like for visiting supporters and what’s the atmosphere like at games?
Hayes Lane is a ground that has seen, and continues to see, plenty of change. We have recently opened our new all-seater Glyn Beverly Stand at the Norman Park end of the ground which is all part of further exciting plans for the stadium. Away fans are usually housed in the north area of the ground, in the uncovered terrace. So, my advice is to definitely check the weather forecast! You will have your own bar and food facilities over in that end of the ground and if there are any supporters who require seating then please don’t hesitate to contact the club, as we will always do our best to help in any way.
The Yellow Army will travel in numbers, where’s best to enjoy pre-match food and drinks?
The centre of Bromley is only a five minute bus journey or fifteen minute walk away from the ground, so I recommend getting down early and checking out what our town has to offer. I know many will be happy to settle on our Weatherspoon’s by Bromley South, but if you do enjoy plenty of selection when it comes to ales then I highly recommend Star and Garter which is at the north end of the town centre. I know a few Bromley fans drink there before matches and it’s always a great atmosphere. But as said, if you prefer heading straight to the ground there will be a dedicated food and drink outlet for you on the day.
Which teams do you think will be challenging for promotion?
Last season you had Leyton Orient and Salford City who were the clubs that everyone expected to get the job done. This season I think the league is anyone’s. AFC Fylde will hope they can pounce at the opportunity, with their target of 2022 slowly edging closer, and I do expect them to do well. But I’m not a betting man at all and won’t for one second pretend I can predict the league, it truly is a bonkers division!
And finally, give us your match prediction for the game against the Gulls?
You always pose a tough test against us, especially at our place. Your supporters will be right behind the team and I’m sure your players will be looking to put Tuesday night behind them. Our boys will be right up for it though, we want to make Hayes Lane a tough place to come and the win against Ebbsfleet will have hopefully brought the Bromley faithful back in their numbers. A Bromley win is always my hope going into games and that’s what I’ll predict.