Next up on Off the Post, is Chris Moore manager of Hanwell Town at Step 4 in the non league pyramid. The club was formed 100 years ago. The club moved to it’s current home ground “The Powerday stadium” in Perivale in 1981 which has has gradual improvements made to it and now boasts one of the best surfecas in non league. We spoke to Chris on a cold Thursday night.
You were sitting in 2nd when the season finished for COVID-19, do you think you would have finished higher if the season had finished.
I think if the season had been played to the end we would have closed the gap, we had 2 games in hand on Ware the leaders and we had them the week before the season stopped. We had a good run of fixtures as well and we were confident that we could go all the way and get promoted.
You have been in charge since January 2018 now, have you been impressed with how the club has developed over time?
I have been impressed by the development of the team since I came in over 18 months ago.
We have been impressed by the development over time and that can be seen in where we have been in the table.
What are the team’s targets for the season?
I never set the team targets i.e how many goals a striker should score, but as a management team we set ourselves targets of where we want to be. As a player and now as a manager i’m a winner though so we set out to win every game.
What type of football do you like your side to play
We like to play attacking football
Who do you think will be strong in the league this season?
Bracknell will be strong with Bobby Wilkinson in charge, Uxbridge under Danny Edwards, Tooting and Mitcham along with Chertsey and Marlow will be strong in the division.
How has pre-season gone so far?
We kept our pre-season schedule, the same as the last two seasons. We beat Brentford B the other week. We have so far beaten Harrow Borough at home, but lost to Hayes and Yeading 6-1
Have there been any comings/goings since the summer?
We lost Harry Rush this close season and he has moved to Kings Langley at Step 3. He is a hard working player and will do well to step up. Adam Prerea has left as well having been with Harrow Borough before us.
We have signed a few new players, but we are working on some more signings to come so keep an eye out.
Do you think the FA were right to void all leagues below Step 2?
I think it should have been the same across the board. But with the pandemic football became irrelevant.
How will non leagues have changed due to COVID-19?
There will be players who drop from the level below and so on, a bit of a waterfall effect. This will mean that players who might have been at step 3 will come onto our radar and we are ready to catch the right ones when they become available.
What opposition are you looking forward to/ looking to avoid this season?
We are not worried about anyone in the league. We just look forward to them all the same. We just focus on the next opposition.
What club do you support
Best moment in management
The whole of last season, we won a lot of games. The season before, it has to be the FA CUP run, where we made it to the 3rd Qualifying round before bowing out. But last season finishing the highest Hanwell has ever finished was a great achievement.
Best player you played with
Not just one player, but the Dagenham team I won the conference with were great. The drive and camaraderie we had was the best. We might not have been the quickest or the most technical team but we had a strong team bond. . I’ve taken bits from that dressing room into management. We pushed ourselves to our limits to win that league.
What manager/coach do you admire the most?
I coudn’t name just one, but some of the managers I played under in my playing career would have to be mentioned in this. Once I had left the youth system at Brentford, the manager at Uxbridge George Talbot was a great old school manager who made me ready for mens football. After this I played under Tony Choules at Northwood, then Gary Hill and John still at Dagenham. Later in my career I worked under Gordon Bartlett . These were all managers who had a huge influence on my career, they were all winners as well and I’ve taken bits from playing under them into how i set up my team on a match day
But if you look at a lot of that Dagenham side that won the title, a few of us have gone into coaching such as Sam Saunders now assistant at Brentford B and Anwar Uddin at Aldershot.All of our sides have parts of that ethos and belief from those days. I personally use some of the coaching sessions from those days with my players now.
What are the clubs plans for the next 3-5 years?
The club has spent a lot on the pitch in recent years, it’s one of the best pitches in non league. We have done the dressing rooms up recently and a lot of other bits around the ground. We want to go up to Step 3 and by the club undertaking this work, it shows that they want to match my ambition as a manager . We have plans as well within that time period to build a 3g pitch behind the main stand.
How has the club’s Relationship with pro clubs developed in recent years?
We have a great relationship with local side Brentford, who have been fantastic with us, they have given us 2 friendlies in two years now and have spoken about loaning us players. It’s good to work with local pro clubs to help us, but would always be great to work with other pro clubs in the local area as well.
How does the club plan to work with the community post COVID-19
We have a great relationship with fans of local pro clubs who come and watch us if Brentford,QPR, Fulham are away and attendances were up last season. We run a half price offer if you have a season ticket at a local pro club. But with more restrictions in place this season due to COVID-19, fans not only of those clubs but others should be visiting their local clubs and helping them. A lot of them have had no income for over 6 months and still need to pay for new kits etc. Every non league club needs help more than ever so should be planning more community work.
How hard was it during lockdown to keep the players fit and motivated and looking after their mental health?
As a management team (Me and my assistant Wayne Carter), we supported the players during this period by speaking with them every few days. But as a team, they were always having Zoom calls and having quizzes. I personally had a few calls during this period from players, supporting them.
Who do you think will win the league this year?
The clubs I mentioned earlier, could be between about 8 clubs. Bracknell, Tooting, Uxbridge, Marlow, Chertsey and possibly Waltham Abbey and then ourselves and Ware.