In the first interview of the 2021/2011 season, we speak to Ceri Jones manager of Virginia Water FC. This a club that i used to visit a lot as a youngster, as my grandparents lived less than a 2 minute walk from the club’s home ground. in recent years they have progressed from Step 7 in 2017 to step 5 in 2018. As of the 2021 season they will play in the Combined counties premier division and will continue to ground share with Windsor at Stag Meadow. So enjoy our interview below and find out more about Ceri and the club.
How has pre season been for you so far?
Very well, with mixed results, but every game against opposition from higher leagues
Any new signing/outgoing?
No outgoings thank fully. New signings include Alfie Pendlebury and Harvey Yates, and the return from University and Windsor FC of Josh Hennah and Adam McNamara respectively
What is the club’s target for this season?
Realistically, in a new league, with every other game a local derby, I would say Top 8.
Has Covid restricted your signings for another summer?
Yes, very much so. We had to all isolate for 10 days, and missed out on three fixtures and training during this important time
Do you think/hope the season will be completed this time?
I would expect it to do so, although mixed messages still persist on COVID.
What can the FA do to help non-league clubs?
So far so good, but further grants needed, as they merely plugged the revenue ‘gap’, but Clubs had no leeway for usual overheads.
What makes Virginia Water unique?
We are as close off the pitch as we are on it! We win/lose/draw as a squad, and make it compulsory to offer and accept every team’s hospitality.
What is your style of coaching and managing?
Very ‘hands-on’ man management, but try to give the coaches as much latitude as possible
What is your previous history in the game?
I have NEVER played football in my life. My background is higher level Rugby Union and Cricket
What can fans expect from your side in terms of performance and style?
We remain good on the eye. I prefer to be an attractive mid-table side, rather than a Top 8 dour/defensive side.
Who do you think will be the hardest team to take on in the division?
Tough one, but hard to look beyond Hanworth Villa/Spelthorne/Ascot Utd
What are the biggest issues facing non league and your respective club?
Mounting overheads, and specifically for us, the total drag to secure a new ground, where we can be more competitive on an even playing field
What are the club’s plans for the next 3-5 years?
As above, new ground, grow organically, and keep giving it our best effort!
What manager that you played under has been the biggest inspiration when you became one?
Not played under any, but always found Roger Herridge (Binfield), James Cameron (Cobham), Simon Johnston (Reading City), Mark Cooper (Windsor) to be genuine/sporting guys, always happy to share ideas.
What club do you support
Manchester United/Swansea City
Best moment as a manager so far?
Winning Surrey Elite Premier Division (Step 7) away at Tooting Bec
What manager/coach do you admire?
Bielsa at Leeds – the most frustrating and best team to watch – sticks by his principles, even with the language barrier – love his passion!
Steven Gerrard impressed me also, when considering the historic rivalry, he can openly communicate and comment that his greatest inspiration and mentor, is Sir Alex Ferguson – nice to see individuals at that level can share a respect, whilst moving on from previous hostility
Steve Cooper at Swansea – his achievements with no budget, and all funds diverted to the American owners, was remarkable
Do you watch any other sports for coaching inspiration?
How have you developed your coaching during lockdown?
I feel I watched every premier league match – nothing else on TV – not many poor games to be fair