Gavin Holds Court

By Andrew Warshaw

There was hardly a spare seat in Butler’s Bar on Tuesday night when our new manager Gavin Macpherson was introduced to fans and outlined his plans for taking the club forward.

Gavin spoke eloquently for over an hour, including taking several questions from the floor, and made a huge impression on everyone in the room with his positivity, insightfulness, technical knowledge, attention to detail, humour, realistic approach and engaging manner.

After the chairman explained the selection process and said Gavin was the unanimous first choice having “ticked all the boxes”, it was over to the new gaffer himself and his goalkeeping coach, Dean Hurlow, who he brought along with him.

Not able to be present but also part of Gavin’s management team will be his trusted No. 2 John Nurse, former St Albans first-team coach Steve Conroy and Carl Garstang, ex-assistant manager at Farnborough. Meanwhile our physio John Abbott is to remain at the club while Ian Hart will also continue to be involved.

“I’m bringing a really experienced management team with me,” said Gavin. “Deano is worth his weight in gold while John has been my right-hand man and is a fantastic coach and role model who works diligently to improve players whether they are 35 or 15.”

Gavin, whose track record speaks for itself at Met Police where he had tremendous success despite the lowest budget in the league, agreed with the chairman that that the Isthmian League Premier will probably be the strongest it has ever been next season but said he was determined to give us a team to be proud of.

Renowned for his attacking style of play, he has studied countless videos of our playing style and made it clear that everyone would be given a chance on merit, regardless of age. How we work as a team off as well as on the ball will be a crucial part of training sessions.

He admitted he was offered terms by another club but immediately got a feel for the Towners, not least our unique fan-owned ethos, and didn’t need any convincing.

“The fan base has massively invested in the club and I’m very humbled to be here,” he said. “I’m going to give it absolutely everything.”

Whilst being realistic about the strength of the division next season, Gavin said he would relish pitting his wits against the sides who are expected to have the most financial weight behind them.

“Potentially we need a bit of a reset but that is not a bad thing. I think we under-achieved last season but the players are a bunch I was keen to keep hold of, obviously with one or two tweaks.”

The eagerly awaited return of fans’ favourite Mickey Parcell from Hornchurch is one of those tweaks while incoming winger Ollie Knight was described by Gavin  as “the best deliverer of the ball I have ever seen at this level, with an engine to die for.”

Discussing the attributes of our new goalkeeper Rhys Forster, who replaces the departing Nathan McDonald having played at Step 2 Slough for the first part of last season before going on to the win the FA Vase with Ascot Town, Dean Hurlow told members: “Rhys is a very positive guy who plays very much on the front foot. He’s someone I hold in high regard and he’s a character. You will all like him, I’m sure.”