Carden and Horsham YMCA players desperate for football's return

Dean Carden is ready to make his mark as Horsham YMCA manager - starting in the end-of-season tournament that’s set to ssave the season from being a complete write-off.

Dean Carden is looking forward to a first full season in charge at YMCA
Dean Carden is looking forward to a first full season in charge at YMCA

The Gorings Mead stalwart has had little chance to show his worth in the manager’s role with the SCFL season halted before Christmas.

But Carden is enthusiastic about the cup competion that will see the majority of clubs in the premier division compete in mini-leagues and knockout stages to try to win a trophy. Beyond that, he is excited at the propsect of a first full and hopefully uninterrupted season in charge.

After time was called on the SCFL league season, officials set about plans for a tournament for each of their five divisions.

YM were one off the bottom of the premier and, after manager Peter Buckland’s departure, a number of senior players had moved on. But the appointment of club legend Carden sparked a rebuild and there was a more optimistic feel around Gorings Mead

Carden told the County Times he was pleased there’d be some action soon: “After months of lay-off we’re keen to get the players back on the pitch and returned to match fitness.

“I had a tough initiation because the results weren’t good, but we’d signed some new players and were itching to get them bonding as a team unit, and there were encouraging signs that we were just beginning to click, so the interruption was hugely frustrating.

“I’m determined to stamp my own identity on the role and am delighted with the emerging talent at the club with young players like Callum Jeal beginning to make their mark.

“The league has stipulated that the ‘mini league’ will be reserved for existing registered players, and while we’ll be striving to notch up some wins, we’ll be treating it as useful pre season preparation for the full 2021-22 season – fingers crossed.

“It’ll give me the opportunity to identify the positions that we need to strengthen. I’ve already got one or two ideas in mind for potential signings – so watch this space.”

With more than 500 appearances in a YM shirt, will Carden still be marshalling the defence? “I may perhaps play if we need to rest senior players, say for a cup game. But I want to concentrate on my management role to get the team back to where it should be, and we’re currently planning how best we can achieve that.”