Fairford Town manager Jody Bevan says that the Robins’ successful first half of the season is down to being able to build up the club as a whole and not just assemble a squad of players.
Speaking to Severn Sport’s Ryan Butler on the Severn Sport Night In podcast, Bevan has heaped praised on his squad and backroom staff for turning around a season that started with just 1 point from the first seven games.
“To be where we are now, with 23 points from 18 [after the start we had] its a hell of a turn around really. Fair play to everyone for getting us out of there and getting us into a decent position. Part of me does think about if we only started better or even how many points we have thrown away this season as we could have been even higher than we are,” Bevan said regarding his side’s position.
Fairford have climbed the Hellenic Premier table thanks to a run that has seen them lose only twice in their last six league games, a 2-0 defeat at home to Shrivenham last midweek. In that run Fairford have beaten the local trio of Longlevens, Tuffley Rovers & Bishops Cleeve, whilst being one of only three teams to have taken all three points against league leaders Brackley Town Saints.
Fairford sit 11th in the league table currently ahead of another local derby on Saturday, a trip to Lydney Town. Both sides have pretty good records against other local sides this term but a win for Bevan’s men can see them leapfrog Saturday’s opponents into 8th spot. Bevan noted how big of an incentive it is to see his side move into the top half for the first time under his stewardship.
“Saturday is a massive opportunity for us. We know a win on Saturday will take us into the top half for the first time with me as manager. It really is a big carrot for us. For me, the way things are now in a league where anyone can beat anyone I don’t see why we can’t realistically aim for a top 8 finish if we can find that level of consistency we are aiming for.”
When asked about how settled his side are on and off the pitch, Bevan praised his backroom staff in assistant manager Jamie Reid and first team coaches Lee Randall and Shaun Morgan.
“It has been huge having Reidy, Ranz and Shaun Morgan as part of the coaching set up. It has meant that I can concentrate on being a manager rather than having to try and do everything. Reidy has been great with his knowhow and his personality. He is different to me, edgier to me. At times last year I thought I was a bit of a soft touch so Reidy ticks all the boxes. In terms of characteristics we are a good blend.
Randz came and helped me out a couple of times last year when he was in between roles and this year whilst we have been trying to get together a more youthful squad he has been brilliant. We both believe in how non-league football should be and the standards that expected – even for young players. He is brilliant at bringing these youngsters through. Once he was available and expressed an interest in coming down it was a no brainer really, as he is the best to get the most out of those youngsters.
Last year we used about 40-50 odd players but were struggling to get 12/13 players out there. This year we have a core squad of about 21/22 players and we are able to name 16 players most weeks. We end disappointing 1 or 2 every week and suddenly results are there. There is a team spirit and a much happier dressing room. Success for me wasn’t about getting the club up the league table, whilst that’s a big part of it, we are also trying to build a club at Fairford and in the last 8 weeks we have taken some big strides but there is a lot of hard work ahead.”
You will be able to listen to Jody Bevans’s appearance on the Severn Sport Night In in full on Friday evening from 19:30, the show will be available to listen again to soon after.