JOHN Robson is the man tasked with leading deposed champions Blackfield & Langley back to Sydenhams Premier glory next season.
After casting his experienced eye over the Gang Warily club in recent weeks, the vastly experienced former Worthing, Alton, Bashley and AFC Totton boss is ready to start giving the squad a summer makeover after replacing rookie player-boss Kevin Gibbens at the Waterside helm.
Having lifted the Sydenhams Premier crown under Ashley Vickers last term, Blackfield have done well to finish sixth this time round against a backdrop of uncertainty.
Following Vickers’ summer departure, his assistant Glenn Burnett took over on a reduced budget. But he left just prior to Christmas following a difference of opinion with the club’s financial backer Sam Davies, who has consistently been linked with interest in AFC Totton.
Several players also departed, leaving ex-Saint Gibbens the unenviable task of keeping a depleted team competitive and it was at Gibbens’ own request that Robson came in to help the club, initially as coach.
Taking up the story, Robson said: “With all due respect, Gibbo didn’t want to manage but he did want to play and he’s an asset at any level of football.
“He told me he was going to recommend me for the job, so I went along and cast an eye over things for two or three weeks and I took over about seven games ago.
“It was a real makeshift side when I went there. They only had 11 players some evenings, so it was difficult for Gibbo, (assistant boss) Chris Farrell and Sam (Davies) who was assisting them when needed. They had a hell of a job on their hands trying to get players to stay.
“They asked if I could help out by getting two or three players in, which I did, and Gibbo just said: ‘You’re in charge now Robbo, you do it.’ “I’m now trying to rebuild a squad that will put us in the running for the league and the FA Vase next season.
“I’ve got a list of about 30 players I’m after and if I get four or five of them I’ll have done well.”