Luke Tuffs

Your team currently sits in 10th position in the table. What were your aims for the team when you took over in the summer?

We like to take things game by game. Everybody wants to win the league, but that wouldn’t really be a realistic target with what was an entirely new squad. Our league is very tight though and we are just 3 points off 4th place and 8 points off the leaders with a game in hand so who knows! 

What are your ambitions with management?

To get as high up as I can! I guess my ambition would be the manage in the EFL or National League, very tough but plenty of time to learn, learn and learn to get there!

Who has been the toughest opposition this season?

Without doubt, Kingstonian, who we played in the Surrey Senior Cup. They went full strength minus their striker Louie Theophanous and were absolute class. There is a reason they got as far as they did in the FA Cup, although I do feel we didn’t ask enough questions of them and probably played into their hands a bit. 

What player have you admired most this season when managing against?

Dan Stewart at Guildford City is a class act and is nearly their all time top scorer. When we played them we just had to stop them at source and get screens up to limit the time he got to do something with the ball. The Kingstonian right back was on a completely different level.

How did you get into coaching?

Because I was so terrible at playing and just tried hard haha. I was at Camberley as a player for 4 years, and my old boss said ‘Tuffs, you are the worst player I’ve ever seen, but you have a brain, do you want to be my assistant’, and I never looked back.

How have you developed your coaching style over the years?
A mixture of experiences of seeing what has and hasn’t worked in various places, plus also learnt a lot on my coaching badges. During your B Licence you learn basic structure and soon after I was the Head Coach at Hartley – I got my templates of how to set a team up from the B but the key detail required and what does / doesn’t work was quickly honed by working with Millers and an absolutely class player group. 

What other leagues do you like to watch and study?

I watch all football but I think to be successful at your own level you need to look keenly at what is going on just above you, so I spend a lot of time watching National League and Bostick / Evo-Stick games.

What do you think the biggest issue that are affecting non-league football these days?

Training facilities are a huge problem, there just aren’t enough 3G’s about for the winter months to go round and if you want to develop a team properly you absolutely must be together 3 times a week in my opinion.

What manager/coach do you admire the most?

I think he would kill me if I said anything different, so Millers (Anthony Millerick – Hartley Wintney) is obviously a huge influence on me as a person and as a Manager. Daniel Turkington is also a very big influence on me, both are fantastic managers and I enjoyed working with both very much. Looking higher up you have to look at people like Alan Dowson who has achieved so much in such a short space of time at Woking.

What would you class your coaching/playing style as?

As a coach I like to think i’m quite progressive in some ways and pretty old school in the others. I don’t subscribe to over playing and I’m probably abit old school in the sense I think that teams in the depths of Non League that look to play out the back everytime is just a fashion statement and it doesn’t really work at the level we are at unless your team is far superior to the opposition. I like to think my coaching is of a good standard though, fitness is always specific to football and we relate it to games to get the players to buy into it more and get more out of it. 

What type of football do you like your sides to play?

Winning football! There is always a way to win. You can’t always be direct and you can’t always play beautiful football. You have to understand when to do one and when to do the other, same as out of possession you need to understand when to press and when not to. 

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