This past Sunday the Non League Paper featured this article about SCEFL new boys Bermondsey Town…
BERMONDSEY Town are so eager to make an impression in their maiden season at Step 6 that they’ve already been training for a month!
Founded as a Sunday league side in 2013, Town switched to Saturday football five years ago and finished fourth in the Bromley & South London League Premier Division last term. That was enough for the Rotherhithe-based club to earn a berth in the Southern Counties East Football League (SCEFL) Division One for the coming campaign. Excitement is growing at the south- east London club and they are doing everything possible to be in tip-top shape for the start of their new adventure.
Joint-manager Stuart Wilson told The NLP: “A lot of teams are only just coming back for pre-season training, but we started about four weeks ago. It is very early but we are a team that’s been promoted to a much higher level. We have had a lot of trialists that we are still going through, whereas other clubs in SCEFL have the core of their team and are experienced in the league. We have a lot of preparation to do and the players were more than happy to come back early. A good chunk of players from last year will remain with us and we need to bring in a bit of experience – our average age last year was about 22 or 23. There will be some signings that might surprise people.”
Wilson is set to begin his third season at the club having originally been first team coach and he is full of praise for those who have led the club from their Sunday league roots to Step 6. “To go from Sunday football to SCEFL within ten years is a fantastic achievement,” said the 34-year-old PE teacher. “The owners are extremely ambitious and have put a lot of work into the club. They have got what they deserve. A lot of work goes into these sort of applications and the lead time from it going in to be pushed forward and approved is quite long. It was fingers crossed. When it finally gets approved, you can celebrate for a moment at that point, but then you have got to focus on what you have got to do. It’s a great opportunity for us – players and management are very excited.” Wilson doesn’t want Bermondsey, who play at St Paul’s Sports Ground alongside Fisher, to just make the numbers up in their debut season at the higher level.
“It’s a big step up but we wouldn’t have applied unless we thought we could do it,” he explained. “I know it’s not the same thing, but we have had friendlies with SCEFL teams over the last cou- ple of years and held our own. We want to get off to a good start so the players get a bit of confidence and realise they are good enough to play at this level. We have some really good players. I believe we can do well, we aren’t looking to just scrape survival. We are ambitious but we are also realistic.”
Wilson is more than happy to be co- boss alongside Ozzie Kebapci, who was one of the club’s founders and doubles up as club secretary. “He’s been there right from the start and we work really well together,” added Wilson. “It’s not very common to have joint managers but we have the same football philosophy. Between us, we have more ideas and we can see different things.” Kebapci, 35, added: “A lot of hard work and planning has gone into getting the club where it is now – it’s a massive achievement.”