In an exclusive interview with ANDREW SINCLAIR, Croydon FC’s latest manager explains why he and assistant Joe Brown felt their positions had become ‘untenable’
Croydon are looking for their third manager in seven months after Tyler Chambers resigned following Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Snodland Town at Croydon Arena.
The defeat left the Trams 15th in the Southern Counties East Football League Division One, just one place above the relegation zone after 11 games.
In a tweet posted on Saturday evening, Chambers said that his and assistant manager Joe Brown’s positions were “made untenable on Thursday evening” – the night of a Trams board meeting. The social media message prompted a sharp response from the club’s chairman, Gavin English.
Earlier in the week, Croydon had beaten Tooting Bec 3-0 in the Surrey Premier Cup.
Speaking to Inside Croydon, Chambers said, “At Thursday’s board meeting we discussed the current situation, acknowledging that improvement was needed.
“The management team had a meeting before the Tooting Bec game. There was a lot of self-reflecting but we addressed what was going wrong and decided on the direction we needed to go in.”
Hopes were high following Chambers’ appointment given his title-winning pedigree at under-23 level. Croydon’s season started solidly, a win over the now-defunct Kent Football United followed by goalless draws with Staplehurst Monarchs and Tooting Bec. However, since beating Bermondsey Town on September 7, the Trams are winless in six league games and had conceded 10 goals in their last two matches.
Chambers’ view is that while he had a good core of young players, they needed to add some more experience to the squad in order to find a better balance and progress up the table.
“We can feed the lads information from the touchline and before games but, ultimately, we can’t be on the pitch with them. We wanted to move on four or five players from the current squad and bring in players who’d been there, done it and got the T-shirt. They might not be the best footballers, but they would organise, galvanise and make sure the younger lads were doing their jobs.
“Games like Lydd and Snodland where we were in them at 2-2… Experienced players would have grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and probably helped us win,” Chambers said.
Chambers said that that vision was relayed in Thursday’s meeting, but the board disagreed that recruiting more experienced players was the way to arrest their poor form.
Chambers said, “They have a vision of young side that can progress with Croydon through the ranks, but they have to realise that in senior football you need senior players.
“You need leadership. You need players in the mould of Ashley-Paul Robinson, who we had towards the end of our tenure, who will allow younger players to learn, flourish and move up.
“We probably didn’t have the correct squad but that’s because we didn’t have budget.
“You look at last season, they had leaders like Junior Baker, but we couldn’t attract players like that because we didn’t have the financial backing.”
Chambers and Brown decided to stand down after Saturday’s home fixture with Snodland, giving them an opportunity to tell the players face-to-face.
The manner of their resignation announcement proved contentious, with English tweeting that Chambers had posted “without conversation with the board”.
English’s view is disputed by the Trams’ now ex-gaffer.
“The chairman, the director of football and the club secretary were all notified of our intention to resign with immediate effect. They were the first people to know that we were resigning. We didn’t speak to him face-to-face; it went in via an email after the game.
“What needed to be said was said on Thursday.
“I didn’t see any way we could possibly continue after Thursday’s meeting. I’m kind of dumbfounded as to what he thought would have happened and how he thought we’d have progressed as a club with our visions and ideas so vastly different.”
Describing his stint with Croydon as “enjoyable but challenging”, Chambers said he had nothing but “positivity and appreciation” for the club’s fans. He said he hoped that the new manager “brings much more success than we did”.
Croydon’s next game is on Saturday, a trip to high-flying Lydd Town. It’s not clear yet whether there’ll be a new manager in charge by then.
Yesterday, the club issued this statement: “Following the resignation of Tyler and Joe yesterday, the board are currently reviewing several candidates for the management role, more information will follow once a decision has been made.
“We’d like to take this opportunity to thank them both for all their hard work this season and wish them both the very best in their future careers.”
Whoever it is that comes in, the Trams’ hopes of returning to the ninth tier of English football look as if they will have to wait for another year, with Croydon already 13 points off the play-off places.
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