Football: Rusthall duo look to fresh faces and strength in depth

Football: Rusthall duo look to fresh faces and strength in depth

RUSTHALL avoided relegation in their first season in the Southern Counties East League by default long after the season had ended, saved by a reorganisation of football’s pyramid structure by the Football Association.

The club was determined to avoid a recurrence so there have been major changes over the close season, most notably with the appointment of Andrew McKechnie and Mike Cramp as joint first-team managers and Lee Chambers as reserve team manager.

McKechnie and Cramp have worked together at Hildenborough Athletic, while Chambers arrives after 25 years at Tonbridge Invicta.

The appointments follow the departure of Steve Ashmore and Steve Sands as co-managers in April.

The pair were responsible for taking the club up to its highest ever league position but last season they were 19th out of 20.

Ashmore, however, wanted to retain his links with the club and has signed up to play for them once again.

Ahead of the Rustics’ first game of the new campaign at Canterbury City on Saturday [August 4] Joe Croker, the club’s chairman, said: ‘These appointments added a fresh vitality to the club. We are extremely fortunate to been able to attract managers of this quality.

‘Their strength is their knowledge of local football and players but they have also been involved at a higher level.

‘They are an excellent fit with the Rusthall FC ethos of staying a local club whilst playing at the highest level possible.’

There has been a significant turnover of players with some of the older ones leaving and younger players being drafted, bringing down the average age of the team considerably.

There is now more strength in depth and this will be backed up by the new development set-up which is designed to bring young players on into adult football.

Mr Croker said ‘I start every season with optimism but this year, although there has been considerable rebuilding, I am sure that we will have a better season than last.

‘The club has finished the pitch renovation and now has an excellent playing surface so the spectators can expect to see quality football at Jockey Stadium in the coming season.’

FRESH START: Andrew McKechnie arrives at Jockey Farm with Mike Cramp

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