by Jeff King
On the eve of Chester-le-Street United’s historic opening fixture in The Ebac Northern League Division Two we caught up with United’s First Team Manager and Director of Football Park View Academy John Gamble on his thoughts.
Gamble talked about how proud and excited he was to be taking a young group of players into such a historic league outlining the policy of looking for continuous improvement both individually and continuing to grow The Club moving forward.
He talked about the challenge facing the players in a testing physical League as well as his expectations for the season and previewing the opening blockbuster Chester-le-Street Derby that opens the season at Town’s Chester Moor ground.
“We’re extremely proud to have been promoted to the Northern League from a very good Wearside League with such a very young group. This year we have a new group losing a lot of players because of what we are as an academy and replacing them with more younger players.”
“We hope that they will hopefully improve us with the right appetite to improve themselves as players as well as improving The Club. It’s a great opportunity for us as a Club and an Academy to see how far we can go.”
“I don’t think that the Northern League differs much over the Wearside League in playing against senior players. I know when we first went to the Wearside League there was a train of thought that they would bully us. But we dispelled that by the young players having the appetite to do well and compete”
“That’s what we need to take forward and I certainly don’t think we’ll be overawed by anybody in The Northern league. That attitude It’ll be enforced by the coaching staff about the way we perceive ourselves.”
“We have the players on a physical strength and conditioning programme and hopefully that helps them greatly through the season as we look to improve week on week, game on game.”
“Our preseason has been disjointed but because of a positive thing. We were given a fantastic grant through the Turing scheme meaning we could compete abroad. We had some fantastic achievements with some of the group we’ve got now like playing Italy’s National Under-19 side.”
“We had a break after that and then trained for a week before taking another younger group away when all the coaching staff went. So, in fairness, we’ve had two weeks to prepare for the start of this year and The Northern League.”
“I will say that whatever happens we’ll work hard and ensure that we improve game to game.”
“It's a difficult question to answer as to how we’ll do this season in The Northern League with a new group. If I thought we’d have the same group as we had last year I’d be pretty confident that we’d have done pretty well.”
"This group is untried apart from a few players and untested. From what I’ve seen I feel that we’ll be competitive and I think everybody’s hopes are that we’ll be competitive in the top half of the division and not the bottom half. But if it is that we’ll certainly make sure that every game is difficult for the teams that we play.”
The game against Chester-le-Street Town is going to be very interesting. They have been in the Northern League now for numerous years and we’re a very new team in the League. We’re a young Club with really young players and we anticipate a really competitive game.”
“But, it’s one game out of many we face in the Northern League. For many people they might see it as a benchmark for how the season might pan out. For us it’ll not be. For us it’ll be to see where we start and what improvements can we make in the coming months of the season.”
“I do think that with our academy we will improve as we always stick to our philosophies of how we want to play. We will improve physical and as a football team. There will be ups and downs I know that for a fact because you get that with young players.”
“One thing I will say is that these players are hungry to do well so I am looking forward to the first game but I’m also looking forward to the rest of the season as well.”
The journey of Chester-le-Street United has been one of progress, improvement and promise and it all starts again tomorrow in a mouth-watering clash against Chester-le-Street Town. Kick off at Chester Moor Park is at 15:00pm.