After the Hampton & Richmond game, Jack Mckechnie spoke to Clarets coach Tony Fenn. Read the full interview below.
Hello Tony, you are first team coach at Chelmsford, what does that entail?
It entails working with Nick who is assistant manager. He is the head coach, he sets up the sessions and I just basically help out with that. Sometimes, on Tuesdays, I do take the sessions, warm ups things like that and just help out really in that respect because he is a better coach, he’s got the “A” badge and I haven’t, I’ve only got the “B”!
You came here with Rod and Nick from Bishop’s Stortford, how long have you actually been working with those two?
I have been working with Rod, when we were at Barkingside, in 2004 maybe. Then Rod left, he packed up for a couple of years and I took over at Barkingside and stayed there for another 4 or 5 years as manager. Then I went to Aveley when Rod was at Aveley and stayed with Rod from then on. So I have been with him since about 2002 or 2003. With Nick, he came in at Bishop’s Stortford 3 years ago and been working with him ever since. He is a decent coach Nick and knows his stuff obviously. I have learned a lot from Nick let’s put it that way. Yeah he’s very good.
Last 3 or 4 games aside, it has been a successful season so far, I guess you could say. Is that what you expected at the start or is it surpassing that?
We have overachieved slightly I would say. When you look at it, we have played around 18 games and if you told us we would have suffered 3 defeats, we’d take that all day long. So, we’re happy where we are, we are still in the mix albeit we haven’t won for four games but, everyone goes through patches but you can’t put your finger on things sometimes but at least we are not losing, losing, losing. Last week was a wake-up call, 4-0, which we did deserve, I think. Today was ok, they backed us in at the end and probably deserved a point, so we respect that. We just have to go again, we are still in there. We’re fourth. We are still amongst everything and when you look at the table, St Albans have had a great couple of months and they have gone second today, Ebbsfleet have been trying to win it with all their money for the last 3 and a half years so, we are happy where we are. But, we don’t want to be dropping off forever and hopefully we will get it right and go on another run.
With certain players managed by Rod, like Mullings for example, he (Rod) has a reputation for taking players that aren’t prolific like Kyle Vassell, Dwight Gayle, even Buchanan as well. Never prolific but they play for Stringer and they end up scoring bucket loads. Is that Rod’s coaching or?
Rod don’t do no coaching! He looks after people, we make them happy. With Shamir, we had Shamir at Bishop’s Stortford about 4 years ago when he was a youngster at Southend. Then he went to Havant for a couple of years and he weren’t really getting a game, he weren’t scoring and it’s all about making them happy and confident and when players are happy and confident, they excel. Look at Elliott, before last years his best ratio of goals was about 8 to 10 goals per season, he got 28 to 30 last year from being happy and it’s like going to work, if your happy you will keep going to work.
Obviously today was a close game, as you say they probably deserved the point. They are unbeaten away from home, we are unbeaten at home. So it must be good that we are still unbeaten at home. I was hearing on the terraces last week that some fans were worried that today was going to be the day when, at home, where we just completely and utterly get torn apart. But that didn’t happen. Do you think that the Tuesday night game helped with that, with the confidence?
I think it resurrected the confidence certainly but, I still think we are quite strong at home anyway so even if we hadn’t of won on Tuesday night, I think today’s game would have been close anyway. Why we lost at Poole last week so disastrously was things that you can’t really put your finger on to a certain degree. You know you can have excuses like the 3 and a half hour coach trip or our mindset wasn’t right, it probably wasn’t. But that is why unbeaten runs come to an end because of mindsets.
Last week, it could have been different. Shamir hit the post, had a half-hearted penalty appeal turned down which could’ve changed the game. So, do you think that the game could have turned out differently in that shot had gone in?
It would have been a completely different game. If only, you know. If Bush’s free kick had gone in today, it would have been 3-1.
We have said it before; Rod has said it in a couple of interviews that the supporters are fantastic that they really do help the team. Do you think that it does help the team?
I mean, we had decent supporters at Bishop’s Stortford but these are second to none. This is a lot better. You’ve got to have them, they do make themselves heard don’t they, the supporters and rightly so. Even if we don’t get promoted this year, we want to be in with a decent chance for them because I think they have been starved of success here and have been for quite a while. With Pennyfather and things like that, they were always in and around the playoffs and our aim this year is playoffs and we are in them and if we finish there then lovely. We want to bring success to the club and this clubs needs to move on and hopefully we can do it.
It is really close now, there is about a point between 2nd and 8th, something crazy like that. So every point is crucial right now, it will be a tough game next week away at Bath, a team we never really do well against anyway. Do you think that the fans need to travel again in numbers to games like that?
We’d like to see them there, what is it 3 hours to Bath? It’s not the best ground in the world anyway but yeah it is nice when you come out and see 100-150 or whatever behind the goal, it gives the players a boost as well. There was a few there last week but we got plugged 4-0 but, you know what I think we can go on another run, alright we’ve drawn today but we’re unbeaten. Like I say, we will respect the point and we go again at Bath and I believe that will go down there and win next week and I think that we can go on another run again which would be nice. But we’ve still got some of the bigger teams to play as well. We’ve got Bishop’s Stortford over the Christmas period which will be a nice six points for us!
With that, Stortford have got our old manager’s. Hawkes and Smith and half their team have played for us at some stage, they also signed Mambo as well last week. Their record against Rod and his Stortford side when they were at Chelmsford was pretty good. You know teams like that and Concord, they are going to work hard and Hawkes will get them to work hard.
They are going to be up for it, it is a local derby so they know the players, they know the management and it is a little bit harder that way. But I think we can go and do a job on them, I think we have got too much for them quite frankly. I think we are stronger and this is probably one of the strongest Chelmsford City sides that has been here for a few years, quite frankly.
I thank Tony for taking time out to answer some questions. UP THE CITY