Cray Wanderers have announced that Neil Smith will be their first team manager for the 2022-23 season. This is a first for the club to have a full time manager at the helm.
Cray released this statement on their website today – 9th May
Neil’s remit is to rebuild the squad and prepare the club for the start of the season as well as recruiting and building for our Academy which will be starting in September, the first Academy for a few years and will be the first operating on a site that Cray Wanderers owns.
We are delighted to have someone as experienced as Neil as manager who achieved great things at Bromley FC and will hope to replicate that success with Cray Wanderers.
“I’ve been very impressed with the club from the minute I walked in and not just the guys in the boardroom but also the supporters and the players who gave everything for me in those six games,” said Smith
“I felt the turning point was the 3-3 draw at Enfield Town on Good Friday. That showed what the team was capable of against a side who had been near the top all season and you wouldn’t have noticed who was the side going for promotion and who was going down.”
“I think if you went through all the games, we shouldn’t have lost to Kingstonian and Leatherhead, were unlucky not to beat Enfield and the only game where we shouldn’t have got anything out of was the Bishop’s Stortford match where by then the players had given everything they had up to then. You were right, we played very well against Enfield who were a top team in the division and it was a great result.”
“I said to the guys when I came here I don’t just want to be a manager, I want to try to build the club from the bottom up. We are here talking at Flamingo Park watching teams from the youth section playing on the pitches, boys and girls. This was something I wanted to do while I was at Bromley and we succeeded and this is exactly what I want to do now at Cray. I want to build the club in the community, I want the supporters to be proud of coming along and seeing the players give their all every week and hopefully with that building process we have some fun and enjoy winning games.”
“I’m speaking to a few players at the moment. I know it is tough as some are still playing matches, going on holiday or saying I’ll ring when I get back. You put a lot of effort into it at the moment but they are obviously talking to other people. The one thing I did at Bromley when I was there was to get as many of the players you want that are already at the club sorted because you don’t want to be negotiating against your own players with someone else. We will speak to as many players as we can and get the right people, not just the right player to the club.”
“I’ve spoken to David Francis, Jason Miller, Gary Hillman, Michael Paye and the future is the thing I’ve signed for. I’ve signed for the future of the club because the potential and the project is so exciting. Growing a club, moving into a new stadium and home it really excites me, hopefully creating a new fan base and supporters coming through the doors, playing attacking football. Starting from scratch, we have a base to start from, I want it to grow and when I leave, whenever that may be, Cray Wanderers will be in a better position than when I arrived.”