Date: Fri 05 Jul 2024

By Andy Poole


Manager, Chris Ayres, is enjoying the journey

It’s been quite a journey for Flackwell Heath manager, Chris Ayres, as he prepares for life in the Pitching In Southern League Division One Central.

“To achieve promotion at the end of only my third season managing at this level makes me extremely proud,” he told us. “Last season was amazing; to win the Combined Counties League Premier North Division title ahead of the much-fancied Rayners Lane, was an unbelievable achievement.

“We went into the campaign looking to get into the play-offs, but we made some key signings over the course of the season and we were able to come out on top.

“Our crowds went up massively, and it culminated in an attendance of over 600 for our final home game. It was a privilege to manage this group of players, who gave me everything, and now we look forward to what the season ahead holds in store for us.”

Ayres has been a full-time coach at the FAB Academy, based at The National Sports Centre in Bisham Abbey, for the past 14 years. He also took on the coaching of the Flackwell Heath Minors team during this time and hasn’t looked back since.

“I just love coaching,” he continued. “I always try to help improve and develop players individually; it’s important to create a good coaching environment for the players and I have been able to do that at Flackwell Heath.

“It started with the Minors and I am proud to say that seven of those plays have stayed on the journey with me and have progressed to play in the first-team here.

“We have progressed together and whilst we know that the season ahead will be a tough challenge, we are looking forward to it.

“As is always the way, we’ve lost a couple of players and we’re looking to make a couple more additions to help bolster the group.

“Last season we competed well against Step 4 clubs in the FA Cup, so hopefully that will give us the belief for the campaign ahead. We’ve got a number of players who have played at this level before and I am sure that they will more than hold their own.

“I’m certainly not going to make any predictions at this stage, particularly with the amount of quality sides in this League.

“As a collective we want to keep improving and moving in the right direction. We want to play the type of football that the fans will enjoy watching and which also brings us results.

“I hope that the crowds stay healthy as I know that it really inspires the boys, both home and away. We have set targets internally but first and foremost the aim is to stay in the League; we won’t be getting too far ahead of ourselves.”

We welcome Flackwell Heath into the Southern League family.

IMAGE: @alcock_glenn

Flackwell Heath Web Site

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