Northwood FC-Rob Ursell

We travel next to Northwood FC at Step 4 of non league to speak to manager Rob Ursell who was apointed in February 2020 and is a former player for the club. Rob Ursell has a strong history in non league starting at Harefield United and also playing for AFC Wimbledon during his career. Apart from being a footballer he is a futsall player and has been capped by his country.

You were appointed in February 2020 and won 2 of the 6 games before lockdown, are you looking to improve on this form this season?

I would expect us to not be fighting relegation this season. I honestly think we will have more technical ability than any team in our league now . Obviously that doesn’t equal results. I really hope we can all work together to create a team good enough to show how good these individuals are. 

With a first pre-season with Northwood, do you think you can improve on the club’s poor position last season?
I would expect to be sacked if we are in the bottom three come new year 

You are a former Northwood player, does this bring extra pressure on you?

I don’t think it’s any extra pressure. If anything, it’s helped that I know a few parents and kids involved the youth teams from coaching locally. When I speak to people around the club I genuinely get the feeling that these people want me to do well.

Does your background in Futsal bring a unique angle to your team this season?
I hope so. I want to incorporate some of the things I learned in futsal that I think football teams neglect. I think there’s way more transferable than most people who have only really experienced football seem to believe 

What made want you to step into management?

I always knew I was going to. I’ve always had a very strong opinion of the type of football I like and I’ve always wanted to try to implement it myself, my own way.
I thought it was going to just be futsal for a while, and I have managed a couple of futsal teams in the FA National League.I started coaching football again at Pro Direct Academy last year and I slowly was becoming more inspired to move back into football.

What are the team’s aims for the season?

Playoffs would be great 

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

I really like to press aggressively, and pass the ball out of every possible situation. I think people are wrong that you can’t do it at this level, and I want to try to prove that.

How has preseason gone so far?

Results haven’t been good but I think people can see enough promise to be a bit patient with us.

Have there been any comings/goings since the summer?
There’s been a lot of turnover since I came in. No Players remaining from the squad when I arrived.Also Eric Lopes and Romario Hart, who really helped me get the results we needed when I first came in have gone to Berkhamstead. I’d like to thank them and wish them luck.I’ve brought in more players that I know from futsal and 5aside football
Also, last week, Haff Al Droubi has signed, a quality goalkeeper, with a massive personality.

Are you looking to develop links with local pro clubs Clubs?
I have links at most pro clubs and we had Tyla Dickinson in goal on loan from QPR who was brilliant but something like that I’d hope to only use in an emergency this season.

Any players we should be looking out for this season?
Lucas Toti and Gui Monti are midfielders with amazing ability. George Isaac and Amin Belaid are very sharp clever wide players.Diogo Da Silva and Marcelo Graca are also really smart and smooth on the ball.

Do you think the FA were right to void all leagues below Step 2?
It was probably the simplest solution. There were no great options available to them.

How will non leagues have changed due to COVID-19?
All clubs have had to provide a risk assessment, and will now follow stringent safety requirements when hosting matches. 

What club do you support


Best moment as a player?

I think my home debut for AFC Wimbledon scoring a hat trick in a 3-0 win against Barnet, and then my FA Cup hat trick is in the 3-0 win against Dunstable which earned me FA Cup Player Of The Round a couple of months later were the best memories.
Beating 5 in a row European Champions Romania with England miniFootball team was also up there.

Best player you have played against

Marcelo Reis, a futsal Euro and World Cup winner. Had absolutely everything to an incredibly high level.

What manager/coach do you admire?

Even as a Liverpool fan it’s still Pep Guardiola.

How hard was it during lockdown to keep the players fit and motivated and looking after their mental health?

We kept in contact via zoom and what’s app and everyone remained pretty positive and excited to start playing again.

Who do you think will win the league this year?
Bracknell and Chertsey are the teams I’m expecting to be top two.
It’s tough to compete with Bracknells supposed budget.

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