Halstead Town F.C. are a non-league club, currently in the Eastern Counties League, from Halstead, Essex. Playing their home games at Milbank Stadium, Rosemary Lane, the club only just missed out on promotion to the Premier Division by four points last season. Just twenty years ago, the club were celebrating a second Eastern Counties Premier League title, and just eleven years ago, were celebrating winning the League Cup. Now the club are looking to get back into the Premier Division under the management of Mark Benterman. Dictate the Game recently met with the manager of non-league club, Halstead Town FC, Mark Benterman. Here’s what Mark had to say about his career, Halstead Town, FA Cup success, the fans and ambitions for the club this season.
What’s the best thing about managing a non league team?
The best thing about Managing at non league is the family environment that comes with the job . You see the efforts and commitment from volunteers daily and weekly and being able to put a smile of there faces is priceless.
What’s your ambitions as a manager – eg. managing in the football league or travelling the world managing in different cultures?
Ambition as a manager is to be a successful as I possible can . It’s very hard moving up the leagues as a manager as it’s a closed quarters normally so you have to be as successful as possible and hope one day you can challenge yourself higher up the leagues . And who knows where that can lead?
What’s the hardest thing about managing in non league?
Hardest thing about non league football is you’re not only dealing with individuals on the pitch but spent a lot of time helping and dealing with issues of it,
What are your ambitions this season?
Ambitions this season is trying to be as successful as possible within the limitations that are within the non league and club situation . Unfortunately we are not a very rich club and this means we have to work extremely hard at achieving our goals.
What do you feel your greatest achievement has been as a manager so far in your career?
Greatest achievement to date is beating Thurrock in the fa cup . The boys did themselves and the town proud and seeing the reactions of the fans made all the efforts worthwhile.
How do you feel the season has gone so far? (NB: This interview was done in mid September)
Season to date has gone according to our objectives and we go into October unbeaten in the league and only losing to Sudbury so we are very pleased to date.
By the end of the season, what do you and Halstead want to have achieved?
We don’t look as far ahead as the end of the season but as ambitious manager I want to be in the mix and have some great cup runs.
How can Non League get more coverage and support?
The support the non leagues get isn’t what it can be I believe the pro clubs could do more to help local and lower level clubs but how is the tricky part.
Is there enough funding for lower level football?
Funding is hard as many clubs want it. So application need to be right for the right areas.
What is the best comeback match you have managed?
Best comeback as a manager has to be Newmarket Town this season in FA cup, 1 down with 20 mins to go win 2-1 the step end was buzzing.
How much of a role do the fans play to the club?
The fans have been incredible this season and come out in number to support they play as big a part on this journey as anyone else.
Has a player you managed ever gone pro or got a coaching role at a pro club?
Andy Joslin (Former Halstead Player) has now moved to Fulham as a coach and he’s a great lad.
What’s your biggest achievement at Halstead so far?
My Biggest achievement at Halstead is the Thurrock game.
Halstead shocked everyone when the club got to the first qualifying round of the FA cup this year, what do you feel achieved this?
The Thurrock result was a lot down to the homework we done on them and the boys understanding the roles we wanted them to play. Credit must go to the players they deserved everything they got.
What have been the benefits of the clubs’ cup run this season to the club and yourself and the players?
Benefits of the cup run has brought the club closer together and made everyone realise what potentially can happen and we all need to be in this journey together. What we achieve can’t be done alone. And people have taken more notice of us now.
Have you got any thing to say to the supporters at Halstead?
When I took over this job I didn’t realise how big this club is and could be we had 52 fans watch us now over 140 most games we are going in the right direction and I wanna say without them it wouldn’t be possible. Please continue to support the lads we aim to achieve a lot this year and your apart of this along with the players. Up the humbugs!
Dictate the Game would like to thank Halstead Town manager, Mark Benterman, for taking time to answer our questions. For more information on Halstead Town, follow them on Twitter at @HalsteadTownFC and see their website – www.halsteadtownfc.com.
Dictate the Game will be writing match reports on Halstead’s home games at Milbank Stadium this season, starting from the 24th September 2016.