Saturday 11th August 2018
Grendon Rangers v New Bradwell St Peter FC
Spartan South Midlands Division Two
The Village Hall
Grendon Rangers host new side (ish) New Bradwell St Peter on Saturday in their season opener, although for The Peters they have the added bonus of having played last week-end and winning to boost their confidence in travelling over to Grendon. Rangers struggled towards the end of last season, relying on a core of team mates who are also long term friends to help keep the club running, but now boast a new manager and hopefully a calmer season ahead!
New Bradwell won at Berkhamsted Raiders last weekend despite having a man red carded so will be confident in coming to get a result; formerly Loughton Manor the club moved into the New Bradwell facilities this summer in order to progress as a club. This week Sports Shots caught up with Grendon boss Steve Jackman to ask how his term in management has been so far:
Well it’s been an eye opener to say the least! A lot of managers I still speak to from various levels of the game are really questioning my intentions in taking the job on, as I have never played nor worked at this level before.
I also had a fantastic position at my previous club AFC Dunstable who are in a position where a lot of the young players are getting close to being a real part of the first team set up and that was a project the manager especially & the staff brought in over the past four years. It takes a lot of trust & belief from the youngest age group coaches through to the senior section of the club, but it doesn’t happen overnight, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
I’m fortunate to still speak to the manager Steve Heath on a regular basis, a great guy and if I can replicate half of what he has achieved then I will have done ok, my wife is still the physio at the club so I hear a lot of what is happening and it sounds exciting with the blend of experience & youth now really coming through.
Listening to certain conversations a lot of people like to say one thing then do something completely different and that is from players through the club all the way to the top, I always knew it happened but always chose to ignore it, now I know not too and to just lock it away for another time
And how has pre-season been for his new club?
Pre-season is always a funny time with holidays, work, family & other situations or excuses taking priority. Some of the excuses for not turning up are priceless and I just put it down to priorities being different.
The players have worked hard & have taken on a lot of what it is I am asking of them. I also think every club has struggled with the heat, not that I’m moaning about the sun shining, but all the pitches we’ve seen are all over the place in terms of condition. Ground staff are really having to put in a shift and any games playable at this time are a credit to these guys
So have Grendon pulled in enough players for the season?
Every manager is always searching for players, I have a player training this week at a club in the league above & fair play to him, he has approached it in the right way, spoke to me face to face, so I wish him well and that makes it easier for him to come back into the fold should he want to, the door is always open for any player.
I will never stand in someone’s way if they want to experience a better level, just approach it in the right way and go for it, this is just one example of how managers operate at this stage of the season.
I always ask for players to be honest with me and then that is a two way process and how you earn the respect of players, it’s good to talk and that is something I like from everyone. Credit to the players for creating a fantastic spirit
We asked how the new manager feels ahead of the game Saturday?
Nervous, excited, have I done enough, are the players ready? All these things are natural and I used to think just the same things as a player. You just have to go and enjoy it, work hard & make sure you are organised enough to hopefully get a good performance and what will be will be
We asked if Jacko knows much about his first opponents:
I live about thirty seconds from the New Bradwell ground, but what I know about them I could note on the back of a postage stamp. However refer to my previous comments, I used to get really bogged down with an opposition and lose focus on my own team. If there are certain aspects we need to look at then I will make the players aware, really thought it’s all about the players mentalities and preparation and how they try to use the information given to them.
We play NBSP and Mursley in our first two games, and both teams finished in the top eight last season and both won their opening games last week, so that will be interesting & most certainly a test for us
Finally, we asked if there are any targets for the season for Grendon Rangers:
I have never been in a dressing room as a players or management staff where we have said in July what we expect to be the final outcome in April or May time, who knows what will happen? Otherwise you can pick my lottery numbers for me!
You can only approach everything on a game by game basis and make sure as management staff and players you are working from the same piece of paper, and then you go into every game with the organisation, enthusiasm & knowledge that you might get over the line more often than not. All the best for the season!
Sports Shots would like to thank Steve for his time this week.