I love non league football. You can’t beat it. 22 normal, and down to earth, folk kicking the ball around a muddy pitch, there is no players on 325k a week, some clubs don’t pay wages at all! I’ve already interviewed former Halstead manager, Mark Benterman, Halstead’s players, James Murray, Tom Cook, Gary McIlwaine, Michael Runicles. A few months ago, I chatted to Earls Colne manager John Pike to talk about managing in non league, players at ECFC who could play higher up, and much more.
What’s the best thing about managing for a non league team?
The best thing about managing a non league team is working without a budget , allowing the players the freedom to express themselves without to much pressure.
What’s your ambitions as a manager – eg managing in football league or travelling the world managing in different cultures?
My ambitions as a manger is to manage as high as possible and keep testing myself with the ambition to improve. Learning from others as I move up.
What’s the hardest thing about managing for a non league team?
The hardest thing about managing a non league team will be the shortage of match officials and consistency of decision making.
What do you feel your greatest achievement has been as a manager so far in your career?
My greatest achievement as a manager is starting football at grassroots with my son aged 7. And still working with him at present time. Honours with Halstead town reserves in 2013/2014 league promotion. When we achieved our goal to reach a chell trophy cup final. All in my first season.
By the end of the season, what are your ambitions?
My ambitions for end of the season are to finish in the highest possible position and have a positive cup run.
How do you think Non League can get more coverage and support?
For non league to get better coverage I believe we need more sponsorships and positive media coverage. And continuously improving on facilities.
What is the best comeback match you have managed?
My best comeback I’ve managed is Halstead town reserves v Stowmarket town reserves home league match. We were 3 nil down at half time and we draw 3-3 with a personal assist for the last goal.
How much of a role do the fans play to the club?
The role of any fans would be, their local support which is always welcomed by myself and the players.
How did you become a manager?
I became a manager by starting football at grassroots with my son aged 7 and still working with him at present time. This gave me the appetite for the game.
Favourite football team?
Favourite football manager?
First team ever managed?
White Notley u7s
One player from Earls Colne who could do it at a higher level?
I can not name one player from Earls Colne who could play at a higher level ,as I am a very fortunate manager to have a number of players who could potentially play at a higher level
How much impact do the fans have on you whilst playing?
The impact the fans have on the game is truly valued as they bring a great atmosphere to the match and positive feedback by the way we are playing.
Do you want to say anything to the supporters?
I would like to thank any supporters who take time out of their lives to watch us play great football.
I had a great time interviewing John, and would like to thank him for taking the time to answer my questions and chat to. A true gentleman and a great football manager and I’m sure Earls Colne will go far under his leadership. Dictate the Game wishes the best of luck to both John and Earls Colne this season.