Ambitious Eversley FC put faith in experienceBy Steve Skerry
April 20, 2011
The message from the new management team at Eversley Football Club is loud and clear – they no longer want to be a small village team, but one with big ambitions of gaining promotion.
With Andy Clement, a former professional at Wimbledon, and ex-Southampton apprentice Ian Savage taking over as joint first team managers next season, the Hampshire club, that boasts former Reading manager Steve Coppell as one of its patrons, have certainly wasted no time in opting for experience to help them achieve their goals.
Midfielder Clement played alongside the likes of Dave Beasant, John Fashanu, Lawrie Sanchez and Dennis Wise in his Wimbledon days, and as a 19-year-old just missed out on a place on the bench for the Crazy Gang’s famous 1988 FA Cup final victory over Liverpool.
He did, however, play in the Charity Shield against the Reds at Wembley the following season and later went on to become a member of the Woking team that won the FA trophy on three occasions.
Savage spent several years at Southampton and, although he never made it as a professional, the midfielder carved himself out a non-league career with several clubs including Farnborough Town.
The club has shown remarkable ambition following the building of the £2.1m Eversley Sports Association complex which includes new stadium, barriered pitch, hard standing and a 57-seater stand.
Savage was unusually approached by the current boss of the Combined Counties Division 1 side, James Griffin, last October when the current season was just three months old.
After talks with the Eversley board, Griffin had decided to step aside at the end of this season in an attempt to attract a more experienced manager to the club.
Clement and Savage had already proved their worth having led Farnborough to the Southern League Division 1 (South & West) title in 2008 – two levels higher than where Eversley currently sit on the non-league pyramid.
“After gaining permission from Knaphill, Grif got in touch with me about becoming Eversley manager, but I was happy where I was as player-coach,” said Savage.
“Then when I saw the new facilities, the club’s ambition and how professionally run it was I had a different thought process.
“I spoke to Andy (Clement) who was managing at Farnborough Youth at the time and asked if he was interested in coming along with me.
“Andy was impressed with the facilities and potential as I was and after talks with the board we decided it was the right place and the right time.
“We are both looking forward to the challenge very much.
“Eversley is a great club and one that wants to push forward up the non-league pyramid.
“With our experience, Andy and I believe we can make that happen.
“We have already contacted players with next season in mind.
“We also want to hear from other players in the area who are interested in becoming a part of something special even if that means them dropping down a level for a period of time to play here.”
With entrance fees as little as £3, Savage is also hoping to attract potential fans and sponsors to come and watch and support Eversley.
He added: “Obviously times are very hard financially at the moment and it’s not cheap to go and watch Premier League football these days, so if people want to get their regular diet of watching football every week, then we encourage those people to come down and support their local team, Eversley.”
Ex-Reading boss Coppell presented a cheque for £666,556 from the Football Foundation to the Eversley Sports Association – made up of California Junior Football Club, Eversley Football Club and Eversley Cricket Club, back in 2007.
Former England rugby captain Will Carling and England batsman Robin Smith are also patrons.