Godalming Town FC boss Phil Ruggles is Looking at the Bigger Picture
As we continue to await a decision from the league and the FA about the fate of the current season, boss Phil Ruggles has been busy for planning for all eventualities.
While it is only speculation fuelling discussions across the non-league season, the smart money certainly seems to be on a premature end to a second campaign in succession.
The state-of-play in the Combined Counties League is varied – Jersey Bulls have only played four games to date, with Chessington having completed 15. So, there are a heap of considerations to factor in when deciding how best to move forward and there are plenty of individuals getting round the table to come to a conclusion on a difficult problem affecting Steps 3-6 of the non-league structure.
Despite all the trials and tribulations, the management team and players have stayed as ready as possible in the downtime, with the manager busy plotting for the longer-term.
“I think it’s fair to say we probably won’t kick a ball again this side of September and we absolutely understand the reasons behind that. People’s health comes at the top of any priority list, and rightly so,”
It’s been difficult for the players because they are essentially working on their own for something that may never come but credit to them. They’ve kept ticking over with getting out on a run or doing a workout at home and we’ve checked in with them on a regular basis.
With every day that passes, though, we know we are only getting closer to a formal announcement about the season being brought to a close so we are actively looking at next season and how we can really hit the ground running when the time comes.”
In tandem with his coaching staff and committee, the manager is looking not only at the first team but also the wider picture with discussions taking place around re-building the senior section of the club.
An U23 and a ladies team are at the forefront of thoughts, as well as continuing to bolster the U18 side which have been given a new lease of life by Luke Usher and his colleagues from partners Kickstart. With a vaccine rollout gathering pace, there is real hope football will be back – properly – come September at all levels and the first steps are also being taken to building a pathway underneath the U18 group with the introduction of an U13 team.
Phil goes on:
“You can’t stand still in football. If you do, you get swallowed up by those around you and we are in an area where there are lots of clubs competing for the same players, volunteers, facilities and grants,” continued the manager.
With that in mind, we have already begun looking at what we want to do next season and beyond that. The recruitment aspect is always key and we are talking to various people about coming into help us at first team level, but we also want to put in a clear pathway underneath that.
When we first came in that was something we talked about but now we have the time to really devote the energy to it. Our partners at Kickstart have added real value this season and they have some great ideas to further the youth set-up and we are also looking at what we need to re-introduce an U23 and ladies team.
That includes things like what it might cost, where the players will come from who’ll play in those teams and who might run them. It’s a big piece of work that is underway and it’s exciting to start to see it bubble. Hopefully come early summer we will be able to share more on how we are getting on but what I can say is that everyone associated with the club is working incredibly hard to pull Godalming Town up to where it should be both on and off the pitch.”