Diary of a Football Manager- Gwynfor Edwards at Kidwelly Town AFC
Being a football manager is no mean feat. Plenty dream, plenty try, plenty fail, but very few succeed. Kidwelly Town are a club on the up; they chase a promotion spot this season from the Carmarthenshire League Division Two. We will document manager Gwynfor Edwards’s thoughts in a new weekly feature to Y Clwb Pêl-Droed, as he tries to mastermind promotion through positive football in Wales’ seventh tier.
We join Kidwelly just before the season’s re-start, with the side currently fifth place in the league, with two games in hand – the push for promotion is on.
The club: Kidwelly Town AFC
Position last season: Bottom – relegated.
Club captain: Luc Fitzpatrick
Top scorer this year: Liam Llansaint Jones (15)
2016/17 ambitions: Promotion
The manager: Gwynfor Edwards
Age: Mid Thirties
Previous clubs: First time manager – former Bangor City Radio pundit
Previous playing experience: non league
Tactical Preference: Tika-Taka
The Season so far
So, the Christmas break came at the wrong time for us.
We’ve won the last four league games on the bounce and the mood was good- not overconfident or cocky, just assured in our own abilities.
We had a few wobbles at the start, it took a while for me to learn my best side- and the best way for me to set them up, we lost a few games earlier in the season that we’d have put to bed now – it’s still a work in progress though.
Next Saturday (7th) we travel to CK Swiss Valley, who currently sit top of the division, unbeaten – and we’re missing a few key players, that’s normal though- I don’t think I’ve had a full strength squad since I started back in August!
Quite often you spot weak spots in your side, things to work on in training, however- not all of your players are available to train all the time, meaning they miss out on the routines and drills you put them through- meaning the same mistakes happen again on the field, it has to be the most infuriating part of the job! Luckily, I now have a reserve team manager, Gar Evans, who’s 14 years of playing for the club have given him a highly respected position in the club – he’s taken on the defensive drills, and a focus on zonal play – he’s got the 2nds playing the same way as us, limiting the “adjustment period”- before Gar, I was coaching 30/35 players a session, you never get close to what you need to do!
Next Game: CK Swiss Valley
I do however have options for Saturday – and it’s a bit of a tactical jigsaw- I don’t want to arrive and park the bus, it’s not the way we play- it would be unnatural for the lads- we have to go and focus on our own game. That will mean some inexperience in the side, but I’d rather that than an unbalanced one.
How do you go to the league leaders with a slightly inexperienced side & look to win? It’s a tough call, but I have confidence in the boys coming in – I’m still undecided on 433 or 343 – either way, we’re going for it.
I should add that I’m missing my top scorer through suspension for this one. Cheers Llan!
Even over the Xmas break, the dedication of the lads has been superb. There have been great numbers for fitness training – and morale has remained high too – a sense of togetherness which was lacking at the start of the campaign.
But, most importantly- the boys have bought into the type of football I want them to play, even if they haven’t always thought I’ve got it right, they’ve followed the instruction to the letter. And, if I’m honest, I haven’t always got it right – it’s a new thing for me too. It’s a lot harder than my punditry days at Bangor City!
All training for the last two months has been focused on fitness and possession- and that’s the way I like them to play, keep ball, we’ve got some great footballers – certainly some of the best in this division, play the numbers game & we’ll go up.
We lost 2-6 to this side early in the season, it was my second game in charge- and was on the other side of the country (which can’t help) – juggling commitments is one of the hardest parts.
Next week, I look forward to hopefully telling you of a great result – it’s not about luck, it’s about preparation – two more training sessions before then.