Nick Brown scotched internet rumours that Lewes players were picking and choosing which training sessions to turn up to as ‘laughable’.
After a massively disappointing Easter weekend that saw the Rooks lose a six-pointer at home to Hastings on Saturday before being beaten in another Sussex derby at Bognor on Monday, tempers began to run high on Twitter and internet forums, with fans questioning the team, management and board.
And in amongst all this opprobrium was a rumour posted on the fans forum claiming that training had become ‘optional’ and that players’ hearts were no longer in the battle for survival.
PJ posted on the forum on Monday that: “A mate who is a friend of a Lewes player tells me that this player’s ‘heart is not in it and would rather have been at Stamford Bridge’.
“All this on top of apparently well based reports of training seemingly now being optional!”
This became widely debated by other fans’ forum posters.
But 1st XI assistant manager Brown, who takes the first team training on Thursday evenings, dismissed these rumours as ‘gobbledygook’ and said they were so wide of the mark as to be ‘laughable’.
“That was the biggest bunch of gobbledygook I have ever seen,” he said. “We rarely get anyone coming in late and if that does happens, then it will have been the London players (suffering traffic problems on the way down). But even that is rare.
“Training starts late enough for everyone to get to; everyone is at training every week – barring injury or illness – and we even have four or five under 18 players coming in as well.
“That rumour is laughable, to be honest.”
But was wasn’t laughable this week was midfielder/defender Tommy Brewer’s announcement via Twitter that he was taking a break from football for the rest of the season after “losing his love” for the game.
Brown said: “For us it becomes a massive test of character, which we raised at the end of the Bognor game. We really do learn about a player when the team is losing. We learn about who’s actually in it for the fight. I’m disappointed in him (Brewer) but he is a young player and he’s travelling a lot.”
But he added: “I can imagine a lot of it’s to do with him being on the bench on Monday.
“If he had started on Monday would this have happened?
“But if he’s not interested in football for the rest of the season, that’s fine. The minimum I expect from the players is 110 per cent. If you’re not interested then it’s time to hang your boots up for the rest of the season.”
Discussing the two disappointing results over Easter, he said: “I was saying before the Hastings game that it was a ‘cup final’ game. In my experience in the under 18 age group, these cup final games are largely decided by set pieces.
“And we conceded twice from set pieces inside the first 15 minutes. We conceded that third goal on Monday from our own attacking corner. There was a lot of pressure on the boys that weekend, and their age did show, which is disappointing.
“Being a young squad means they can feel semi-intimidated. Have a Robbo (Steve Robinson) type figure out there would help as he could stamp his authority on the game and say, ‘hey, let’s get a grip of the game’.
He added: “It’s very early on in our coaching careers, we’re all learning as we go on. It’s also Worms’ first job in first team coaching. I completely understand the fans’ disappointment. For them to travel to Bognor and see a performance like that. It’s not as if we’re not trying and putting the work in in training.
“The morale has always been fairly good fairly good in the changing room. That’s what’s frustrating - when they come on to the pitch they don’t seem to want to talk to each other!
“But that’s why it’s a positive that Callum Dunne is back in the side; he’s good at getting the players up and talking.
“We’ve got plenty of quality in this side. We’ve got to get the group ticking. It’s very important how we start on Saturday.”
That game is away to Hendon. “The last time we played them they had a very good winger. But it doesn’t seem to be about the teams we’re playing at the moment, it always seems to be about us. But if we can get our side of it right the wins will come.
“But I’m looking forward to it (the game). I’m looking forward to the challenge of working under the pressure (of the rest of the season).
“The support we enjoyed at Bognor was fantastic. It’s a shame our next game isn’t at home as we’d like to repay that support with a win.”
After the Hendon game, Lewes then have at home game with Margate on Thursday night.
Kieron Thorp and James Fergany are injured.