Friday, 20 June 2014

A QUICK WORD WITH....JOHN CREITH

John Creith left his post as manager of Spartan South Midlands League side Kentish Town towards the end of the 2013/14 season. The Cold End caught up with John and as you'll read there is much more to him in football than being just manager of The Townies -

John Creith in the dug out for Kentish Town last season
YOUR FOOTBALL HISTORY?
My football history starts twenty-one years ago coaching my local school team. I never played the game at any level due to back problems, so I turned my love for the game to studying management and coaching, mainly the Dutch style of play. In 1998 the Deputy Head of the school where I was working and I set up our own club for kids at our school who were not happy at their Sunday clubs or were unable to afford fees. We entered the Harrow youth league as "St Margaret Strollers FC" and did very well. I kept it going from under 11 to the end of  the under 15's when many of boys started doing their GCSE's. I then folded the club, and in 2004 took over a Hendon FC youth team at u12s. Also that year I started work with Queens Park Rangers FC in the community and within a couple of months was moved into the academy under Joe Gallen coaching the under 9s to under 14s also helping as an academy scout. I was still working at Hendon and in school's football - it was busy but very rewarding. In 2005, as well as running a youth team at Hendon I was head coach of the under 20s group, and the following season I worked with the reserves, working closely with first team manager Gary McCann to produce players for the first team. Meanwhile at QPR things moved on, as well as coaching and scouting for the academy I did first team match reports under Ian Holloway and then Gary Waddock. When the head of recruitment for the academy left in 2006 I took over that role under Joe Gallen. I had a successful time and brought in many players to the club as well as coaching various age groups. Four notable players I brought in were Jordan Gibbons and Bruno Andrade who are still there. Tafari Moore who is currently an Arsenal scholar and has played for England u17s and Raheem Sterling as a scrawny u11 that myself and another QPR scout Peter Mooring saw playing for his primary school Oakington Manor and youth club Alpha & Omega. I passed my UEFA B licence in 2007 and left QPR in 2008. I was taken on by Watford in October 2008 by Geoff Mills working as a scout from the u21s down. I stayed there for two years until 2010. In 2009 I was also offered the role of u18s manager at Kentish Town FC so I took this up and left Hendon taking my players with me to play in the Allied Counties League. In 2008 I started work in my current school St Bernadettes in Harrow and the following year started up with a friend of mine David Murphy the Harrow District team for Harrow which I still run currently from year six to year eleven. I took over the first team role at Kentish Town November in 2010 and was asked to go to Brentford by Ose Aibangee who I worked with at Watford and had just took over the role of academy director at The Bees. I stayed at there until July 2013, taking in a few lads from the district team who should now be reaching scholar age (cross fingers) and finally leaving Kentish Town just before the end of the 2013/14 season.

Cold End notes - 
Jordan Gibbons is a twenty year old midfielder currently at QPR. He spent part of last season on loan to Scottish Premier League side Inverness Caledonian Thistle. He has been retained for the 2013/14 season. 

Bruno Andrade is also twenty years old and plays in midfield. He has also been retained by QPR for the 2013/14 season. He has played out on successful loan spells for Wycombe Wanderers and Stevenage FC over the past two seasons. 

Tafari Moore is a really decent right back whom I saw play for Arsenal v Everton in the FA Youth Cup last season. He helped the England under 17 team win the 2014 European Championships in Malta this summer. 

DESCRIBE YOUR TIME AT KENTISH TOWN FC 
I really enjoyed my time at the club, with very hard working people behind the scenes, the chairman and CEO, also my family who worked hard with me there, my dad, wife and daughter and also one of the player's mums who I have coached since he was under 11, which all made for a great behind the scenes team. I also had with me Lee Okugbeni as my Assistant who worked tirelessly and with whom I became good friends with.

Cold End notes
Lee Okugbeni is now Chairman of Spartan South Midlands League Division Two side Brimsdown FC.

John speaks to his Kentish Town team after the final game at The Copthall Stadium in April 2012

BEST EVER RESULT WITH KENTISH TOWN FC
A 0-2 away win at Cockfosters in September 2012, was such a good performance. A 5-1 home win v Chesham Utd Reserves in February 2013. Also our FA vase loss to Hanwell town in September 2013 where we lost 4-3 in third min of injury time was a very memorable game. Our 0-1 away win
in the Division One cup quarter final and our 1-5 away win both against Arlesey Town Reserves in the 2013/14 season stand out.

WORST EVER RESULT WITH KENTISH TOWN FC
This has to be our home game at Copthall v Cranfield FC on 18/2/12 when we lost 1-9! I also broke my wrist in 2 places that day as the team were warming up, I slipped on the corridor going into the changing rooms to talk to a player who was late so I was updated about the game while in casualty at Barnet hospital.

My most memorable moment at Kentish town was our game at home v Amersham town fc on 22/10/13 when we won 3-0 because it was an evening that I had my strongest squad available. We were playing really well, had just gone 2-0 up and the heavens opened for about 10 minutes, We scored a third and the referee was about sixty seconds away from calling the game off when the rain stopped, the players were like drowned rats but still managed to play good football. That night I saw why the hard work and perseverance was well worth it.

HOW DID LOSING COPTHALL STADIUM EFFECT THE CLUB? 
Loosing Copthall was in a word 'devastating'. It was a huge blow to the club as it was a big part of the club's income to function with all the events catered for by the cafe there. It was like our own home ground and then we were groundless and with no income coming in, we were effectively facing folding. We all pulled together and at the last minute before the AGM we talked to the owners of the Middlesex stadium and secured a ground share with the chairman and CEO funding it themselves.

WHO IS THE BEST PLAYER YOU HAVE EVER COACHED/MANAGED?
The best player I have ever managed, that's a tough one, it has to be Raheem Sterling even at a young age in the under 11 and under 12 age group. The few times I coached him and played him in a couple of pre-season friendlies in my Hendon youth team he just wanted to play football anywhere he could every day. He was not afraid to take people on three times his size. He would play against lads of 14 or 15, with his desire just to play and win is what I told him would make him play in a world cup. What he lacked physically, he made up for in pace and desire, often lacking in discipline at a young age he learned and grew into it at his time at QPR. At Kentish Town it would be Jordan McFarlane, a quality winger with huge potential and a handful for any team on his day. He is only twenty years old so has alot of football ahead of him hopefully.

WHO IS THE BEST PLAYER KENTISH TOWN FC EVER FACED?
Has to be Alex Campana at Kings Langley. A quality player with great work ethic, fantastic movement and technically very good. Always hard to play against and contain him.

Cold End Notes 
Alex Campana was one of the best players for Enfield Town during his spell with the club in 2009 whilst Stewart Margolis was in charge. He left the Town and subsequently turned out for Bushey Rangers in Hertfordshire Senior County League, Hemel Hempstead Town and last season for Kings Langley. 

HOW CAN THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION IMPROVE THE GAME?
At grassroots level it has to be better facilities to train and play on. They also have to invest more in playing surfaces for all meaning the ball can be kept on the ground  - also affordable training for clubs.
In Holland, Spain, Italy and the South American countries it’s all about the ball, working it for fitness, technically and tactically. This has to be encouraged at all levels of the game. Not to be afraid to make mistakes and encourage. If there is a positive environment players will thrive. The County FA's should be given the responsibility of member youth clubs in hiring coach educators to watch games and
the environment the players are playing in set by the coach and parents and if it’s not a positive learning environment to go into that club and educate and guide them to improve. It would be costly but worth the investment. I would look for better links with academies, local teams and schools. While this is improving it needs to be much better and will only help with development of players especially those that get released from academies that could be late bloomers. So many stop playing after they are released from academies and to be released at 16 when you have been there since 10 is a huge blow mentally and I don't think clubs do enough to help support that kid go into semi pro football. Again I feel every professional club should employ someone on a full time basis to do this role so we may find more Stuart Pearce's and alike.

I think, in my opinion, Brendan Rogers example at Liverpool is a great template for all managers and coaches to follow at all levels. He wants his team to play on the ground and be technically good, patient when needed. You will correct me if I am wrong but I remember when they were trying to play out from the back against I think Man City last season and Skrtel played an awful ball across the back line that got intercepted and led to a goal. In the interview after the game Brendan Rogers said “Don't blame Skrtel, I asked him to play that way and it’s how I want my team to play and learn”. Is it any wonder then that Liverpool had such a good season and there are so many Liverpool players in the England set up?

WHAT NEXT FOR JOHN CREITH?
At the moment I am continuing to coach school's football and will keep District football in Harrow going. I have been fortunate to have been contacted by a couple of clubs in the Spartan South Midlands League and am pleased to have accepted the role of Director of Football at Amersham Town FC. I was very impressed with their chairman and his vision for the club and only hope I can be help him achieve it and make Amersham Town a real thriving community club that everyone loves to come and visit, and want to play for. It’s a club I would like to be at for a long time with lots of potential to move upwards.

John Creith will be watching Amersham Town in action this season after spending four season's with Kentish Town.
cold end notes 
John Creith is a local football hero giving up his valuable time to coach and advise young players - He clearly loves the game and deserves credit for all the hard work he does. Good Luck with Amersham Town this season. They have gained a real football man that can only help them go on to bigger and better things. It's the cold end's opinion that The Football Association need to speak to coaches like John and take on some of the ideas they have to improve the game we all know and love. The Cold End wishes him the best of luck at Amersham Town FC. 

You can follow John on twitter @JCreith or Amersham Town @AmershamTownFC



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