In our second interview of the 2021/22 season, we spoke to Finlay Johnson, manager of Buckinghamshire based Chalfont St Peter. Finlay has been in charge so far for 2 covid disrupted seasons. In this short time however he has put stamp on the side, that we at Off the Post managed to see last season. We sat down with Finlay to catch up on the changes at Chalfont plus much more.
How has pre season been for you so far?
Preseason has been developing steadily, we started a bit earlier to give us the time we needed to be prepared.
Any new signing/outgoing?
So 3 have progressed to Step 3. Riccardo Greenaway, Owen James and Blake Darcy. Very pleased for all of them. Incoming Ricky Brennan has returned and we’ve signed Shamal Edwards from Bedfont, otherwise it’s quite a similar squad.
What is the club’s target for this season?
I think in a league with so many well funded teams, our ambition is to match those of our competitors and remain competitive
Has Covid restricted your signings for another summer?
Not signings but definitely our preparations, we’ve averaged about 2 missing throughout.
Do you think/hope the season will be completed this time?
Think? I’m doubtful, I’m certainly hopeful!
You have now had 2 season’s in charge at Chalfont, how do you think your time has been?
I think we’ve seen great development in the club, established a youth pathway to first team and built a good squad.But it’s hard to judge when you’ve not actually finished a season yet .
What has been the most challenging part of managing in non league?
The sheet amount of things to sort out that are nothing to do with managing the actual team!
What player has been the biggest loss since last season?
We’ll miss Riccardo, but we will always endeavour to find the next one at CSP!
Have you been impressed with how your former players have progressed within the game?
Since I started 9 have progressed to levels above. That’s an excellent turnover and I’m extremely proud of all of them.
What is your previous history in the game?
I was Hendon U23 manager before Chalfont, winning the division. Previously at Cockfosters, Cheshunt and Codicote.
Who do you think will be the hardest team to take on in the division?
Take your pick! I think this is the strongest league I’ve been involved in, it’s a cliche but there’s no easy games.
Who do you think will win the league this year?
Tough one, but I’ll go Bracknell. I don’t think it’ll be as clear a ride for them as most think, but they’re an excellent side.
What are the biggest issues facing non league and your respective club?
Non league challenge will be getting back on its feet since the uncertainty of the last two years, fortunately our club has been run superbly and we’re under no such issues.
What are the club’s plans for the next 3-5 years?
To develop the club in terms of ground, youth development and the first team.
Chalfont Start their league season at home on Saturday 14th August against Ashford Town (Middlesex). To see this and their complete fixture list visit here… https://www.chalfontstpeterafc.co.uk/first-team-menu/fixtures/cat.listevents/2021/07/30/-.html.