#1 – Bexlians FC – January 2017
Three months ago Bexlians future in the County League looked bleak. Now though as Andrew Gidley reports things are looking much more positive.
Bexlians look to be in safe hands as they head into 2017. It was a different story back in mid -October when the Division 1 West club seemed on the verge of folding when manager Harry Newman decided to leave. Appeals went out for help to stop that happening, and Jack Bradshaw took up the challenge. Looking to stay involved in the game after injury ended the goalkeeper’s playing career at the age of only 26, having ruptured his cruciate knee ligament three times. He quit earlier in the month, having played six games for Southern Counties East League Cray Valley PM at the start of this season.
He said: “A few of my friends used to play for the club – as well as my brother Tom.
“I got my Level 1 coaching qualification a few seasons ago, the opportunity came up and I thought I would give it a go.”
“It will take time and things won’t happen overnight.”
Bexlians finished the old year with a 4-0 home win over Orpington Reserves, helped by Jeffrey Adekunle’s hat-trick, securing Bradshaw’s third win in his seventh game in charge, having started with a 2-2 draw at Chipstead. The first victory was a 6-0 home win over Long Lane, brother Tom scoring twice, hitting four in four games after re-signing, before substitute Jack replaced him, and getting one of the others.
He said: ” We were a bit short on numbers so I put myself on the bench.
“During the course of the game we picked up a few injuries, then with 15 minutes left my brother’s calf got tight so to save risking him pulling up I went on and somehow managed to score a goal.”
Bradshaw has added four new players to his squad.
He said: “I have signed a young goalkeeper named Harry Potter on dual-registration terms from Lordswood.
“I have also persuaded Lee Hales to come out of retirement, he has played for a number of non league clubs including Chatham, Sevenoaks and Erith & Belvedere.
“Ben Healy who was at Cray Valley with me at the start of the season has also signed, while Joe Minter who has just returned from travelling, has come in for the foreseeable future, having been with Corinthian last season.”
Another connection was that Bradshaw and secretary Kyran Davies went to the same school.
“We were very close to folding,” said Davies who originally joined the club as a player, but now looks after the club’s administration, allowing Bradshaw to concentrate solely on the football side.
“Harry decided he didn’t want to carry on and it looked like we were going to go – things were at rock bottom, not much was going for us, but we thought it was unfair to other teams in the division to pull out.
“We also felt we had a duty to Danny Hill who had run it before to keep it going.”
Bexlians started the New Year well winning 5-0 at AFC Mottingham.