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15/04/2020
THE BIG INTERVIEW: JAMIE TOMPKINS LAUDS SQUAD

We’re delighted that first team manager Jamie Tompkins has taken time out from his Spanish lessons (?!?!) to cast his views on the season; applauding his squad’s commitment in these difficult moments, thanking the supporters and commenting on his players’ fitness regimes. Here’s how he answered our ten questions:

So, Jamie, it’s been a month since the fans clapped the boys off after that superb win over Spelthorne Sports, one which put real daylight between us and the chasers. Obviously since then the powers that be have decided to expunge this season’s results which was a bombshell to everyone around The Racecourse, but how are the lads feeling one month on?

Firstly, it goes without saying that we wish everyone good health during this time and we treat this with paramount importance. It was a shame the season ended as it did considering how well we performed until it’s suspension. The players, as is everyone, are gutted that their hard work and efforts have been expunged in what would have been a fantastic achievement to win promotion into step 4 of the football pyramid.

And how do you feel? You’re a modest guy who would put any title success down to your talented squad but you’ve worked so hard in such a short tenure to put this club right up there so it must be a bitter pill to swallow?

I was understanding of the situation and it is very difficult for everyone, especially those with vulnerable family members. The FA decision to ‘null and void’ was very disappointing as I feel there were other viable options to choose from but even more so for the players, volunteers and everyone associated to the club when you look at the thousands of hours dedicated throughout the season, just for it to be called ‘null and void’. Now we must move forwards again and the decision has fuelled more motivation to bring further success to the football club.

There are still many positives to take from the season, including valuable experience and development for the management team and players. We have seen increased attendances this season at our brand-new ground and astroturf facility plus an increased social media presence and the link between the youth and senior teams has become stronger.

It was clear to see you, Dan and the rest of the coaching staff have assembled a title winning side. Next season is a long way off, but how confident are you that the same group of lads come back and have another crack at it?

We are fortunate to have a talented group as our squad and I was delighted they could show how capable we are of competing for promotion. Rightly so, they are and will continue to attract the attention of other clubs higher up the football pyramid but we all have a sense of unfinished business. We have a committed management team and therefore, I’m confident we will stay together as a group and once again prove just how good we are.

I know it’s a squad effort but there were a few players who really stepped up in the last few weeks as we saw off a string of title challengers. Players like Ben [Hodges] and Aiden seemed to have gone up a gear. Which players do you think made a difference?

Every player in our squad has played their part and they have continued to develop as a group, this is the reason why they have become a successful team. I could name them all individually because they have all performed to a high standard, matched with the fantastic commitment and hard work, a common theme running throughout the squad. Most notably, Ian Davies and Harry Laflin’s goals have been pivotal for us but equally Sam Gray in goal has been outstanding.

How have the lads been keeping themselves in shape? I assume they are out running for 90 minutes per day with a ball at their feet!?

Some don’t run for 90 minutes on a normal match day!! In fairness, they are all keeping up their fitness and getting together over video calls for group sessions whilst mixing this with cocktail making classes and quizzes too!

And what about the likes of Chris and Elliott who were side lined when play halted? Chris’s injury was more long term, so how is he doing?

Both are doing very well. Elliott was due to return the week after the Spelthorne Sports game and would have been a big asset for us during the run in. He has stepped up this season to become a key player/performer whilst taking on the vice-captaincy role so the unfortunate injury came at the wrong time for him. Chris is recovering well and is expected to return some time during pre-season, he is keen to get back playing when possible and again, he will be key to our success.

Have you heard from any of our other local managers in the past month? Are they and their teams ok?

I have spoken to a few and like us, they are disappointed with how the season finished. There are some clubs that are unaware of what the future holds given the current circumstances but I hope that all clubs can see it through to the other side. For others and including myself, this extended break is good for us to take time to relax, reset, assess and evaluate how we all move forward.

The supporters were left feeling sick at the way it ended so can only begin to imagine what it’s like for you guys. When you think of fans like Dave Bucktrout who breathes in yellow and breathes out blue, what message have you and the lads got for him and the rest of the supporters?

I wish you all well and hope you are looking after yourselves. We are a very community focused club and supportive of those around us, so if anyone needs help or support in any manner, then please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

There is lots of social media engagement happening across the club’s platforms and something for all ages to stay in touch with the club. Keep your eyes peeled for that.

This season has seen the attendances increase to an average of over 100 per game. We are extremely thankful for the support shown to us and during these unprecedented times, success for us is seeing the same people back and healthy once we can return to football. We have still experienced great moments to remember during the season and it is our goal to replicate them next season.

And you may have already answered this one, but if you had one wish for next season, what would it be?

We are all missing the game right now and when we can return, I wish to see everyone back in good health before we focus on winning promotion.

And finally, what does Jamie Tompkins now do on a Saturday …?!

Well, not much! I try to keep myself busy and working on my own fitness, re-learning Spanish to keep my brain ticking over and an endless list of to-dos’ around the house. Let’s just say that I am very much looking forward to getting back to it!

 
Author: neal jeffs e-mail 15/04/2020
Edited: neal jeffs e-mail 15/04/2020
 
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