Edgware Town made a change in manager a few weeks ago, replacing Fergus Moore with Rak Hudson. Off the Post spoke to the new manager in the hot seat at Silver Jubilee Park. Rak has previously managed the youth team at Haringey Borough and was manager of Kentish Town in 2010. Rak played for Edgware between 2004-2006 and Hendon between 2006-2009 and 2010-2013.
You have recently taken charge of Edgware, how excited were you to take over?
I am excited because it is a great club and a club that I played for a long time ago. But more than that, I am looking forward to working with my management team to build a bold and exciting team to take the club forward.
The club are currently third from bottom, how do you plan to change this when the league returns next month?
The season is young and the league is quite tight: not many points separate the teams. We look forward to building a side that will put a run of results together to move us up the table. We will do this by working hard, having a clear philosophy and providing an environment for very talented players to shine.
What are the team’s targets for the rest of the season?
No doubt this looks like a transitional season for the club, as we create the foundations for future success. However, we will go into every game to win and in this division if you can put together a run of results you move up the table quickly. Our target is to build a team as quickly as possible that the club can be proud of and optimistic about.
Have the board set your targets for the medium and long term?
I’ve had excellent discussions with the board and they can already see what we are trying to do. They believe in the project we have put forward and support the process. The targets that have been set are put forward by us because we are ambitious and demand success. The board support us in this ambition. We will produce a competitive team that play in our philosophy in the medium term. In the longer term, we won’t be satisfied with anything other than promotion to step 4.
Do you think given the club’s history it can return to the higher levels of non league football one day?
I believe Edgware Town has that potential, which is why I agreed to come in. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe it was possible. My ambition is to help make that happen. The facilities are already in place, the infrastructure and people behind the scenes are fantastic, and the support base is good, with the potential to grow further. So why not?
What is your style of coaching and managing?
First of all, I believe in playing a positive, possession based game. So I encourage my players to be brave on the ball, to not be scared to make mistakes, to play with confidence and to love the ball. Sometimes in football this is knocked out players and needs to be rebuilt. I believe the best players want to to have possession and want to play this way, so it’s my job to create an environment where this is nurtured and players can flourish doing so.
But alongside this, players have to have good attitudes and work hard for each other. Then you really have a team!
As a manager, I am honest with my players and work with them in the best interests of the player and the club, which I believe do go hand in hand. I still have strong relationships with players that have played for me in the past and that means a lot to me.
What can fans expect from your side in terms of performance and style?
We believe in possession-based game, which is easier said than done. Fortunately, we have a talented management team who share this vision and, together, we will build a team that is brave, works hard, and passes the ball. Our players will want to receive the ball, give passing options, and play our way out of trouble and through the different levels of pressure. We will have pace in key areas and attack in numbers. The players will work hard for each other and will be proud to pull on the Edgware Town shirt, as they should be. I think the fans are in for an exciting ride!
What attracted you to the club?
Many things! Firstly, it is a club close to my heart: I played for a short while for the u18s and then spent about a season playing for the 1st Team under Ian Grey, and then later under Steve Newing and Del Deanus. I was young at the time, but I’ve followed the club ever since. When I heard that the White Lion was sold and wouldn’t be a football ground anymore, it saddened me – it was a wonderful ground that I had played on many times.
Other than the emotional attachment to Edgware Town FC, I also believe that we are a club with great potential. What has been achieved at Silver Jubilee Park over recent years is astounding and the ground can, and will, provide the basis for future success. The astro-turf surface provides a quality training base and also has the benefit of less matches being called off.
I have also been impressed with the infrastructure at the club, especially the committee and volunteers. It is a fantastic community of people who want the best for Edgware Town FC and continue to work hard to achieve it.
Who do you think will be the hardest team to take on in the division?
I haven’t given that too much thought. My focus has been solely on Edgware Town, and I am confident that we are building a team that will fear no one.
How challenging is this season going to be with the issues around the game with COVID-19?
Extremely challenging because we want to put a run of games together to be able to settle the team down into some consistency and work on improvements and strategy. Unfortunately, with lockdowns and teams going down with Covid, this isn’t always possible. We also don’t know if the season will be completed or when it will finish – with last season an obvious example of what can happen. Furthermore, we have signed players and they haven’t been able to train or play for us yet, which is frustrating as we are excited to get them involved.
Have there been any players coming and going since your appointment?
There has been a big turnaround of players. Many of the former players have chosen to move on and I wish them all the best for their next club. I understand it can be hard when there is a change of management. However, I am delighted that a few current players who we identified as having great potential have committed to the club and they remain an important part of our project. To support them, we have made a number exciting signings, some you will see on the club’s twitter feed.
Any players we should be looking out for this season?
I would say more than any individual players, look out for the team performances and how we develop together. There are certainly some exciting individuals who will get you out of your seat, but you’ll have to come down to a game to find out who they are.
What manager that you played under has been the biggest inspiration when you became one?
I’ve managed since I was 14 when I started up my own youth team, so it has always been on my mind. I would say all my managers have inspired me in different ways; I wouldn’t want to single one out. I also study the managers at the top of the game and take inspiration from them. I find books such as Moneyball and Soccernomics fascinating.
What club do you support?
Best moment as a player?
I don’t know – probably not as many as there should have been! I couldn’t really say, but I’ll go with scoring against AFC Wimbledon for Hendon in a 3-2 win in the London Senior Cup semi-final in 2011.
Best moment as a manager?
Again, hard to say. One that I will always remember is when managing Haringey Borough u18s in a cup fixture away versus St Margaretsbury many years ago. We played them off the pitch in the first half but incredibly found ourselves 3-0 down at half-time. St Mags had quite a following that evening and the fans were boisterous. At half-time we insisted we would still win the game and progress in the competition. I just knew we would win, even at 3-0 down. The boys went out second half with belief and conviction, and won 4-3 – what a comeback! I always smile…
How did you develop your coaching during lockdown?
Study, read, and talk football with my coaching team and other managers. I’ve recently read George Graham’s and Arsene Wenger’s autobiographies (told you I was an Arsenal fan), and I am currently working through a biography on Klopp.
What manager/coach do you admire?
Do you watch any other sports for coaching inspiration?
Very rarely. I am open to new ideas, but I spend my time watching football, football, football (just ask the wife!).