Season 2009/10 News Archive

Mike Robbins has today resigned from the position of First Team Manager at Tunbridge Wells FC. Robbins has been in the position for the past 18 months, after replacing Martin Farnie. The high-point for Robbins during his tenure was winning 'Manager of the Month' for April 2008, and topping the Kent League briefly in September 2008.

"I have had a fantastic time at The Wells," Robbins said, "but I believe that it is time for me to move on. As a manager and as a club, I felt that we were at ever-so slightly different places. The Board has stressed to me the need to stabilize the club in the current economic downturn, which is understandable, and to start building for the future. I believe that as a Coach and Manager, I am a little further on from that, and want to manage or be part of a club that at this stage is ready to match my own ambitions.

Representing the Board at Tunbridge Wells FC, club secretary Joe Croker added, "The Board wishes to thank Mike for his contribution to the club and to wish him well for the future. Candidates are being identified, and talks are in the pipeline to find a replacement who can deliver to Tunbridge Wells FC the enduring success that the club is building towards."

The Board of Tunbridge Wells FC is delighted to announce that Martin Larkin has been promoted as the new manager of Tunbridge Wells FC. Martin was previously assistant manager.

“Martin is young and enthusiastic with a passion and understanding for the game,” Board spokesman Joe Croker said. “He was offered the position because of the excellent work he did with the team during last season, and because he shares the Board’s vision of where the club should be, and how it will achieve enduring success.”

Martin will be assisted by Brad Sandeman, while Greg Thurstans becomes first team coach. Brad has a wealth of experience having played at a very high standard - including in the football league - and he possesses all of the qualities necessary to effortlessly make the successful transition from player to management.

By appointing from within, the club is building on what has already been achieved and allows the club to continue to build for enduring success.

“I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to manage Tunbridge Wells,” Larkin commented, “and I am keen to repay the faith that both the Board and the players have shown me this week.”

15/06/2009 - U21s WITHDRAWN
Tunbridge Wells FC has chosen to withdraw its U21 team for Season 2009/10. The temporary move has been made to enable the club to focus its efforts on positioning the first team to consolidate, and move forward. “There is a lot of work that happens in the background to ensure a smooth transition when a managerial switch happens at any club,” Joe Croker, representing the Tunbridge Wells FC Board said.

“That is far more the case when it happens with both the first and reserve teams at the same time - and that can sometimes be to the detriment of the first team the second string is primarily designed to support. After much discussion, it was felt the focus for Season 2009/10 should be on ensuring a strong and healthy first team flourishes before strength-in-depth is added in the form of an U21 side again in the near future.”

The board have confirmed that the Youth Teams will increase for the coming season with U13, U14 and U16 teams all playing in the Kent Youth League for next season, continuing to cultivate future home-grown talent for The Wells. In addition, a disability team and potentially a ladies team will also represent the club.

30/06/2009 – CLUB AGM REPORT
The key points to emerge from the AGM, explained new Chairman Joe Croker, was the new committee being ratified, and also the club becoming a limited company. For the coming season, the new committee will be as follows:

- Chairman - Joe Croker
- Vice Chairman - Darrell Cousins
- Secretary - James Hitchell
- Accounts - Garry Jeffery
- Welfare - Heather Milton
- Supporters - John Milton
- Fixtures - Phil Allcorn
- First Team Manager - Martin Larkin
- League Watch - Dave Knell.

“In addition, we voted to become a company limited by guarantee,” Croker explained. “This means that we are still controlled by members, and that there are no shareholders - profits cannot be distributed. Our personal liability is restricted to £1.”

Also raised at the meeting was the desire to become more local, and involved in the community as a club. Martin Larkin will continue to use local players, and retained virtually all of those he wanted from last year.

06/07/2009 – TRAINING RESUMES!
Training began for the new season on Saturday, and first team manager Martin Larkin was pleased with what was a really good turn-out. “We were really happy with those that attended the first session,” Larkin said. “We worked them hard, and will have given one or two an idea of where they need to be fitness-wise. The numbers were made up from those that finished last year, two or three that have returned to the club, and some trialists, of which two had been invited and looked very good.

“We outlined our expectations of them after the session and explained what we would do for them in return. Overall we had a very positive session, and took the opportunity to get a couple signed on straight away.”

Those already re-signed for Season 2009/10 included: Mikelle Czannar, Jason Bourne, Jon Lord, Alex Rich, Mike Lord, Sam Phillips and Matt Newman.

“I expect to sign three or four more on Saturday after the game at Rusthall,” Larkin added. “We’ll then complete the 18-man squad possibly a week later, once we have finished looking at the trialists.”

Two more players re-signed for Tunbridge Wells last night. Clayton Cooper and Brad Mortimer both put pen to paper for the upcoming season.

“I’m delighted Clayton has committed,” Martin Larkin told us. “He is the kind of player we will be building the team around for both the talent he brings to the side and his personality within the squad off the pitch. He has the potential to be a real leader, and alongside Matt Newman will operate as vice-captain this year.

“Brad brings a lot of experience and personality to the squad, he also brings a lot of quality.”

Tunbridge Wells boss Martin Larkin was happy following the weekend’s friendly. Among the players who signed for The Wells for Season 2009/10 after the game were Steve Ashmore (from Rusthall) and Andy Boyle who re-signed for the club. “I was glad to get Andy on board,” Larkin explained. “He is a strong voice in training and on match days. I’m really looking for a strong consistent year from him.”

Also joining the ranks is Andy McMath. Hailing from Northern Ireland, the midfielder has moved from the midlands into the area with work, and has impressed with his attitude. Last year he played for Nuneaton Griffin in the Midland Combination. “He plays wide right or centre midfield, and I am expecting a good battle between him and Sam Phillips,” Larkin predicted. Luke Wallond also re-signed for the club.

03/08/2009 – SIX SIGN
Further signings were made by Martin Larkin to more-or-less complete his side in time for Saturday’s Culverden Kent League curtain-raiser at home to Sporting Bengal United. Among the signings are: Benji Agana, returning for a third spell with the club after spending the bulk of last season at Sevenoaks Town; Kevin Brown, returning from time abroad and Brad Draper, who at 6’5 will be a real enforcer in the centre of midfield.

Many of The Wells faithful will be happy to see that Jon Pilbeam has signed for another year. “Jon will be one that will push the other forwards all the way. He is exceptional in training, and just needs to transfer that to match days,” Larkin commented. “He has worked hard in the gym over the summer, and looks very sharp at the moment.”

Tom Reeves joins the ranks, while Perry Spackman has been brought in from Sevenoaks Town. Spackman has a ban hanging over him from last season, and will miss the first month of the season, but he will be training with The Wells to ensure he hits the ground running at peak fitness after his ban has been served.

Tunbridge Wells FC has secured a main sponsor for Season 2009/10. In a deal worth a four-figure sum, Larrytech Internet Services will be The Wells’ shirt sponsor, and fund the purchase of a new home kit and Adidas training kit for the squad.

“We’re very much looking forward to the season ahead, and are very keen to build a long-term relationship with the club,” said Lawrence Hardcastle, Director, Larrytech. “We think supporting local sport is a great way to put Larrytech at the heart of the community - and it’s very clear from everyone we have met at the club that they are committed to being the best they can be, which fits very nicely with our own ethos.”

With tales of economic doom and gloom prevalent in the media, not least with lay-offs and pay-cuts being reported up and down the country, Mr. Hardcastle explained his company’s decision to sponsor the club at this time. “It’s tough for everybody at the moment, but I believe the only way forward in times of recession is for organisations to work together to improve their prospects. We pride ourselves on supporting our clients in the bad times as well as the good."

Tunbridge Wells are pleased to announce Dean Chamberlain and James Russell have returned to Culverden to boost the squad.

Following the departure of James Russell, Tunbridge Wells manager Martin Larkin unveiled the signing of Scott Whibley on Saturday. "Scott started the season with Crowborough, and is a powerful centre half who is deceptively quick. He made a superb start to his career with us on Saturday and he comes across as someone who is hungry to learn. I'm sure he will do well."

Tunbridge Wells FC are delighted to announce the signing of Ryan Waterman who becomes the first player to step into the First Team squad from a promising crop of U16s Youth Team players. For the past 18-months, select members of the U15s and now the U16s have been training with the first team (Ryan among them) to help their game mature, as well as gaining match-day experience sitting on the bench as an un-named sub to give them a general sense of what is involved in senior football. Having turned 16, though, Ryan is now eligible to be more directly involved on match days.

Ryan Waterman featured for the Kent U16 Representative side against the AFA U16s at Faversham Town on Thursday night. He started the match and played his part in the 3-1 win.

09/12/2009 – WELLS SNAP UP DAVEY
Tunbridge Wells FC have signed Tom Davey from Ryman League side Chatham Town. A central midfielder, Davey can also play on the left wing or as a left back. “We are delighted to have beaten off a couple of clubs to sign him,” first team manager Martin Larkin commented. “Having spoken to the Chatham Town secretary they are upset to lose him, but his current work commitments make the extra travelling needed in the Ryman League difficult for him.

“Tom has an exceptional youth record, including playing for England Schoolboys - and he will add a real quality to our side.”

The Wells have continued the recent policy of signing promising U16 players on First team forms with the signing of defender and youth team captain, Ben Williamson. This latest signing represents a continued commitment to building a side based around local players, while also encouraging the best local players to develop and progress in Senior football. Williamson has been training with the first team, and getting a taste for what is involved being a part of the first team set-up.

Former Tunbridge Wells youth team player Tom Carlse has been offered a trial at Football League side Southend United.

18/02/2010 – SHARMAN IN ON LOAN
While it was revealed by external sources in the week that former striker Charlie Sharman was set to re-join the club on Loan from Ryman League Croydon Athletic, the club can now confirm that the correct paperwork has all been completed, and that Sharman will be available to play for the club from this weekend. The loan agreement will be reviewed on a month-by-month basis.

Tunbridge Wells’ youth set-up has successfully reached the FA Charter Mark. By being awarded Charter Status the club has been recognised as achieving the best standards of coaching, administration and child protection, as set out by the FA for clubs outside the Football League and Premier League. In addition, the status will allow the club to continue to complete at the highest level of youth football possible.

On Saturday, Tunbridge Wells had the ‘H-Factor’ as goalkeeper Callum Hampson and striker Jack Harris put pen to paper to sign first team forms. Both are highly promising products of the U16 set-up at the club, and have helped the youth team to a Cup final and into contention for a league title push. They become the third and fourth players to sign from the current under 16s squad.

“Callum has been with us since he played for the U13s,” Darrell Cousins, U16s Coach said. “He was a raw goalkeeper when he came to us, making a transformation after starting out playing as a centre forward for Ridgewaye. This last 18 months, he has really come on leaps and bounds with training from Greg Thurstans and also Michal Czanner.”

Jack Harris has already hit 15 goals for the U16s this season – and again, he has been with the club since he joined at U13s level, coming in from Tonbridge Invicta. “I had Jack watched during his Invicta days and was impressed with him - but I had to wait for him to come over to The Wells,” Cousins revealed. “It was worth it. Jack is a big, strong lad. It took him time to get his focus set purely on running the front line, but he has worked hard and is beginning to develop into an excellent forward. The extra training he has been given by the first team has brought him on no end.

“Jack is the best forward I have seen doing what he does, and I honestly couldn't ask for any more from him. That’s why signing first team forms is important for his development at this stage.”

“Both these boys deserve all the rewards they are getting, and it’s great to see them develop with Tunbridge Wells,” Martin Larkin added. “A big thank to Darrell and his team for their hard work to identify and then develop raw talent over the years into potential prospects for the first team. That is very much a core value of this club both now, and moving forward into the future.”

31/03/2010 – LARKIN LANDS TWO
Tunbridge Wells have made a double swoop for centre forwards Ben Palmer from Maidstone United, and Danny Powell from East Grinstead.

For those unable to be at Culverden last week, Mr. Phil Smith of the Kent County Football Association and on behalf of the Football Association presented Norman Sales, the Tunbridge Wells Football Club President, with an award for his more than 55 years of service to football. The medal was awarded on Thursday evening at Culverden Stadium before the TWFC game against Sevenoaks, which Tunbridge Wells fittingly won for Norman.

Norman started playing at 15. He is still actively involved with Tunbridge Wells Football Club having been a Committee member, Chairman, and now President. Norman played for High Brooms Old Boys and Southborough. He founded and played for Bayham Sports, taking them to the Kent Junior Cup Final – and as a Seeboard employee he was instrumental in them joining local football. Norman was also referee in local football for a number of years.

He was on the Tunbridge Wells committee for 40 years and when he ‘retired’ in 2007 was honoured by the club for his loyal service by being made life president, a role in which he still acts as advisor to the current committee.

Mike Robbins stepped down from the hot-seat almost a year ago, clearing the way for his assistant Martin Larkin to step up. Now, almost 12-months on, Robbins has picked up on his Devon-connections and is spending his time scouting for League One outfit Exeter City.

“To most who knew me at Culverden, and around the Kent League, they might have thought I’d slipped away from the game as I’m not in management at the moment,” Robbins told us in a recent update. “I’m pleased to tell you that since leaving Croydon earlier this season I have watched over 50 matches, including League One (30+), FA Cup, Blue Square, and Ryman League games, and I have done well over 40 opposition reports for Exeter. So I’ve been keeping busy.”

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