@ScottT Yes a massive disappointment to crash out, but we are scoring goals; but when you have two strikers starting who are 4 1/2 stars you have to get the best out of them!
One to One with Debenham
After two months into the season, we sat down with St Albans’ new head coach Lloyd Debenham, who took on the position having been given the opportunity following his time at the club working with the youth teams, and with his side sitting in the playoffs early on in the season, how is he finding his time in the hot seat? We sat down with him to get his side of the story.
We gathered in his office and to say he was relaxed was an understatement; when we interview people normally they are quite uptight and nervous, but this definitely wasn’t the case with this rookie manager. Sat back in his chair with his feet up and sipping from his mug of tea.
The first thing we quizzed him upon was his thoughts on the season so far. “Yeah it has been a great start, scoring five goals in a game on a few occasions already is surprising to some, but when you see them in training and in the dressing room, I knew that this group of players was capable of having a good start, and more importantly having a good season”.
So why does he have so much confidence in his team? “Of course I have confidence in them, if I didn’t then I wouldn’t have taken the job; that was one of the incentives of taking the job. I knew that the squad had great potential, and I believe that even more having worked hands on with them for over three months now”.
On the topic of improving, transfers soon came up as a topic of conversation with the Saints boss. “When reflecting on our transfer business, I am very happy with our recruitment, was probably much slower than most people would’ve wanted with not many signed until mid-late August, but at that time players lower their wage and contract demands because they want to find a club”.
One aspect of his recruitment that Debenham has been praised for is his use of the loan market to strengthen his squad, as well as already having Harvey Bradbury on loan from parent club Watford, he also brought in Bradbury’s Watford teammate and defender Andrew Eleftheriou, alongside Gillingham striker Noel Mbo.
“Well you have to be clever in the market these days,” Debenham stated, “When you are a club in the position that we are, which is one of not the greatest financial position, you can’t pay the high wages, so bringing in players for virtually no money in terms of fees or wages on loan can be a great help”.
And a great help they have been, with the two loanee strikers Bradbury and Mbo having scored a combined total of twelve goals this season, ten of which being from Mbo alone. Not only is it a great help for St Albans City to have players of this quality, but also a great experience for other clubs youngsters to get regular football, something Debenham feels passionate about.
“Having worked in youth football for a good period of time now, I know as a coach that at this stage in their careers, they need to be playing regular men’s football to aid their footballing development. Playing in their club’s under 23s every other week isn’t going to give them that experience of being in a first team fixture”.
Having sat down with him and had a very detailed one hour conversation with him, you realise just how passionate, experienced, and humble this very young manager is. So when it comes to making assumptions about him and his abilities because of his age, thinking again.
In Debenham’s words: “Don’t judge me on my experience, or my age. Because I will just be focused on preparing the boys on Tuesday and Thursdays in training; and then you can judge me based upon the performances and results my team get on a Saturday afternoon”.
And with St Albans sitting firming in the playoffs at this stage in the season, and having already amassed an impressive thirty-one goals in twelve matches; no one can deny that they are playing an exciting and attacking brand of football.