Season 2011/12 News Archive

25/05/2011 - MOONEY MOVES ON
Keelan Mooney will be playing Ryman League football again next season having linked up with his former manager Peter Nott at Whitstable Town. Mooney played under Nott at Maidstone. First Team manager Martin Larkin confirmed, "The media reports would be correct that Keelan has moved on. Although we are disappointed to lose him, he goes with our best wishes. The impact Keelan had on the side was there for all to see last year. He scored big goals in big games, and formed a fantastic partnership with Carl Cornell."

Mooney featured 55 times for The Wells, scoring 20 times during his stint at Culverden.

Jon Pilbeam became the second Tunbridge Wells player to step up to the Ryman League this summer after Chatham Town secured his services. Since linking up with the club from Tonbridge, Pilbeam has played in the U18s, Reserves and First Team with The Wells. Last season he hit 11 goals for the club in 44 appearances.

“We’re disappointed to lose another player - especially Jon, who we felt we had put a lot of work and effort into over the last two years,” first team manager Martin Larkin said. “We are a victim of the amount of goals we scored last year - it has drawn attention from higher clubs. Our job now is to replace them with suitable players. That is my priority.”

While on the surface, it’s been a quiet summer to date, there’s been plenty happening at Culverden ahead of the start of the new season. Work undertaken so far has included moving the wooden fence in front of the stand back to the path and eliminating the grass area. In addition, the majority of the walls have been removed from the front of the stand. The restricted areas in the stand have been mostly removed - thereby opening up the majority for general use, and the walls and seats in the officials’ area have been replaced by a fence and new seating.

Parts of the path leading to the far end of the ground have been replaced, and part of the far-end of the ground has been re-opened for spectators this coming year. There’s more to come though - and the ticket office will be relocated with the ex-Gillingham F.C. turnstile that’s been sitting at the entrance of the ground for a number of years set to finally be installed.

A new fence will be placed around the away team and officials’ dressing rooms, a new bench and shelf installed in the home dressing room, and a general tidy-up that includes painting the stand and all fences, decorating all dressing rooms and removing the rubble from the front of the building will take place.

14/07/2011 – FOUR NEW SIGNINGS
Tunbridge Wells manager Martin Larkin has announced the signing of four players ahead of Season 2011/12 - including plenty of firepower to replace the gap left by Keelan Mooney and Jon Pilbeam. Defender Gary Clarke has returned to the club, while central midfielder Joe Risby and two additional strikers - Andy Irvine and Nick Nowotny - have also joined.

Gary Clarke will need few introductions to the Culverden faithful returning to the club after a stint playing further up the football pyramid. Andy Irvine joins the club from fellow Kent League side Woodstock Sports where the 25-year-old bagged 10 goals from 33 appearances last year. Nick Nowotny hit 14 league goals in 16 games for Maidstone United’s reserves last season, while Joe Risby was playing in Corinthian’s midfield.

“Andy Irvine was one of our primary targets and will lead the line giving us a different option,” Larkin said. “He is the only player I have come across in the last two years who has given Perry Spackman problems with his physical strength. His father played for The Wells during his playing days, so we are expecting Andy to become a crowd favourite.

Including the current signings, the confirmed squad for Season 2011/12 is as follows: Steve Ashmore; Jason Bourne; Andy Boyle; Gary Clarke; Carl Cornell; Michal Czannar; Tom Davey; Callum Hampson; Jack Harris; Andy Irvine; Andy McMath; Nick Nowotny; Sam Phillips; Alex Rich; Joe Risby; Perry Spackman; Rob Wells; Scott Whibley; Ben Williamson.

18/10/2011 – TWO SIGN FOR WELLS
Andy Irvine has damaged his ankle in training and faces a lengthy spell on the side lines with what is looking like ankle ligament damage. His ankle is still too swollen to be assessed accurately, and first team manager Martin Larkin awaits the results of the scan once the swelling goes down. "It's a big blow as Andy has been a focal part of our side, scoring seven and providing assists for many more goals," Larkin said.

Asked about the progress of Carl Cornell, he added, "Hooley is progressing, but still faces another two weeks with his arm in plaster. He tells me the strength and movement is returning to his fingers, and he is now able to open bottles and grip the remote control - so we are pleased that his rehab is going well. Nevertheless, with these two key injuries, and Gary Clarke's suspension coming up, it was clear that the squad would need bolstering, and two players have signed for The Wells on dual-forms with Maidstone United this week.

Sean Johnson, a Central Midfielder, has featured for Maidstone's first team this year, and has been identified in their crop of young talent as a player with a bright future. Jimmy Humphries has played a big part in Maidstone's season, and started a large number of games for The Stones. He is expected to add to the attacking threat in the absence of Andy and Hooley.

02/11/2011 – DAVID KNELL, R.I.P.
It was with great sadness that we heard the news that Dave Knell died yesterday in Pembury Hospital. Although Dave had not enjoyed the best of health in recent years his death was sudden and unexpected.

“I will miss Dave personally as a friend and as a loyal colleague, and I am sure that there are many people at Tunbridge Wells FC who feel the same,” said Joe Croker, Chairman. “Dave has been willing servant of the club for a good number of years without asking for any reward. He was most visible when running the club shop and producing the programme but he also did many extra tasks behind the scenes. His knowledge of football and its administration was second to none and I often relied on Dave for advice and as someone to talk things over with, the club will be much poorer without his counselling.

“My thoughts and condolences go out to his relatives and many friends and I know everyone associated with Tunbridge Wells FC will feel the same.”

16/11/2011 – ONE IN, TWO OUT
One player has joined Tunbridge Wells this past week, while two have left the club. It won’t have taken an eagle-eyed supporter to have spotted Jon Pilbeam back playing in Tunbridge Wells colours - and it took him all of 12 minutes to re-open his goal-scoring account with the club after re-joining from Chatham Town.

“Jon has re-joined us for the foreseeable future,” first team boss Martin Larkin said. “He needed game-time and wasn’t getting it at Chatham. We know what he is all about and we are looking forward to getting the best out of him again. He’s given himself a great platform having scored in Saturday’s win.”

Meanwhile, exiting Culverden are Alex Rich and Jimmy Humphries. Over the years, Rich has played a large part at the club, having come through the Youth and Reserve ranks, and playing a key part in the first team - appearing in both of The Wells’ Kent Senior Trophy finals in the past six years. Humphries, meanwhile, joined during October - signing on dual-registration forms with Maidstone United.

The FA Vase has reached the National stage - and in the Fourth Round Draw, Tunbridge Wells will play St Ives Town of the United Counties League at home. Currently, St Ives (located in Cambridgeshire) are in seventh place in their league with 36 points from 17 games.

09/12/2011 - 100 UP FOR MANAGER OF THE MONTH
This weekend will see Martin Larkin taking charge of Tunbridge Wells Football Club for the 100th time. And to cap the occasion, he has just been named Manager of the Month for November by the Kent League.

"I'm delighted with the award which is reward for all the hard work of the staff and players - Brad, Paul and myself do work hard but it’s the players who go out and perform each week," Larkin said. "November was a month where we had to really think about the side with so many injuries - so full credit to the players for achieving the results they did.”

Reflecting on his tenure in charge of The Wells, he added, “The 100 games seem to have gone very quickly since beating Sporting Bengal 6-0 two-and-a-bit years ago. We are very proud to be leading the team, and hopefully those that pay to watch each week appreciate the work we have put in and enjoy watching us play."

Larkin's overall record reads: Played 99; Won 47; Drawn 19; Lost 33; Goals scored 207; Goals conceded 151; Win percentage 47.47%.

Sam Phillips and Scott Whibley have opted to leave Culverden this week – with both joining Alex Rich at Sussex County League neighbours Crowborough Athletic. Like Alex Rich, Sam Phillips played in both of The Wells' recent Kent Senior Trophy Final matches and also played for the Youth Team in the past.

Phillips has been an important part of the side for several seasons - proving very popular with the supporters during that time and notched more than 200 appearances, scoring 18 goals. Whibley, meanwhile, played over 80 games for The Wells, hitting six goals during that time.

Tunbridge Wells’ progress through to Round Four of the FA Vase for only the sixth time in the club’s history has been well enough documented lately. Win or lose, less well known as yet is that this year the club has already progressed through more rounds in the FA Vase than in any previous season. That’s because since the last time the club reached the last 32, a second qualifying round has been added to the competition to accommodate more entrants, and this year The Wells have played through both Qualifying Rounds.

12/02/2012 – MARK MOORE – R.I.P.
Tunbridge Wells Football Club is sad to announce the death of a former player, Mark Moore.

Mark played for the club in the 1980s and early 90s and was part of the hugely successful team which won the league championship in the 1984/85 season. Mark also captained the side which lifted the Kent League Cup trophy in 1988, the last major honour won by the football club.

New signing Charlie Oatway made his Tunbridge Wells debut during Saturday's home defeat having moved to Culverden from Sussex County League neighbours Ringmer. Oatway was in the starting line-up on Saturday before coming off in the second period. Before a short stint at Ringmer, Charlie was at Crowborough.

All good things come to an end - and although silverware eluded Tunbridge Wells for another season, the club’s 125th Anniversary Year was in fact a very good year. A quick look at the geeky stuff reveals all: The points-per-game average for Season 2011/12 (at 1.83) has not been bettered by any Tunbridge Wells side since the title winning team of 1985. Unsurprisingly, then, the wins-per-game ratio at 0.57 wins per game was the best since the title-winning side. Although goals scored per league game (2.2) has been better since 1985, it hasn’t been since 1990 - and with 1.33 goals conceded per league game The Wells haven’t had a more water-tight defence since 1987. Of course, none of this touches on the side having just enjoyed its longest-ever run in the FA Vase, courtesy of battling through an additional qualifying round. Not surprisingly, then, Martin Larkin was a reasonably happy man come season's end.

“We are very proud of what we have achieved this year,” he outlined. “But it doesn’t take away from the fact we always feel we could have done more. The biggest challenge when you don’t have a playing budget is coping with injuries. If you have cash, then when you are short you can bring someone in on loan or put seven-day approaches in with the carrot of money to attract someone. At one point we were without Andy Irvine, Carl Cornell ‘Hooley’, Keelan Mooney, Gary Clarke, Tom Davey and Perry Spackman all at the same time. With a bit more luck with injuries, we feel we could have finished even higher up the league... we were only three points off runners-up spot - but the league table doesn’t lie and the teams that finished above us all had good seasons too. The fact that we beat them all at some point shows just how tight it was this year.”

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