Thatcham Town boss Yashwa Romeo wants three more points to cement Step 4 status

Thatcham Town manager Yashwa Romeo. Photo: Thatcham Town FC.
Thatcham Town manager Yashwa Romeo. Photo: Thatcham Town FC.

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It’s likely to be a tense afternoon when Thatcham Town head to Westfield’s Woking Park on Saturday afternoon in the Isthmian League South Central Division One.

While automatic relegation for either side is unlikely with Chalfont St Peter and Staines Town occupying the bottom two spots, but the relegation play-off spot with a step 5 side is certainly a concern for new Kingfisher’s boss Yashwa Romeo who replaced Jamie Leacock in the dugout at the start of the month.

Romeo has overseen four points from his first three games against Staines, Hanwell Town and Binfield and has had time now to get used to his first role leading a side: “It’s definitely different from playing, to being a number two and now the number one. I felt very comfortable when I got the job, right up until the morning of the first game against Staines and then it all kicked in. This is the job.

“It was a tough one because Staines Town could have been a banana skin. In a way playing the team bottom of the table was an ideal first game, we were knocking on the door and the relief when we finally got in.”

After that 6-2 win, Thatcham followed it up with a solid 0-0 at play-off chasing Hanwell, which Romeo described as “The best game of the three, we were under the cosh but we defended resolutely which I don’t think we’d done as well at this season. Against Binfield, we were a bit leggy after three games in eight days but you’ve got to seize your opportunities and we didn’t then.

“I expected four points minimum from those three games and we got it, albeit I thought the Binfield and Hanwell results might be the other way round.”

Related: Remembering Thatcham Town’s 95/96 Wessex League winning side

Thatcham Town's Waterside Park ground.
Thatcham Town’s Waterside Park ground.

The ‘drop’ remains a concern though with Sutton Common Rovers and Tooting & Mitcham United on 24 points, Westfield on 26 and Thatcham on 29: ” We’re still looking over our shoulder a bit and Westfield is a big game for us. A win puts a little gap in there. Obviously, we go in wanting the win, but It’s certainly a game I don’t want to go and lose. I think three more points will be enough for us.

“Westfield certainly play good football and they got a good point against Binfield last time. Obviosuly pitches are a bit different this time of year so they might have changed it up. We have to focus on us now and getting the next three points, we have a few injuries, we’ve brought some youth boys through and we’re a lot more solid now which is what I wanted when I took the job. Now we need to be more expansive going forward.”

Fixtures: All the matches for Berkshire clubs on Saturday listed

‘I love working on tactics’

Talking about how a former striker adapts to strengthening a defence as a manager and coach, Romeo said simply: “I love working on tactics. Even when we’re playing video games I’m the one there tinkering with my team while everyone else is ready to go. I’m really interested in that side of the game and I want us to be solid.

“I’ve worked with the full-backs, I think maybe we were a bit too aggressive and I’ve reigned that in a little. We’ve also got two defensive-minded midfield players to make us more solid, but on the back of that I demand an awful lot more from my forward guys. I need them to do a lot of work for us and I’ll have my eye on players that can do that.

“I’ve signed a young lad Josh Davies from Kintbury Rangers in the Hellenic League. He’d got 20 goals in 18 games I think, a lower level of course but he trains really well and he’s fit right in. He played in the games against Hanwell and Binfield.

“I’ve also been on to Simeon Weekes and got him in from Flackwell Heath, he’s been a breath of fresh air since he joined us.”

Seeking approval

Jamie Leacock. Photo supplied by Thatcham Town FC.

Romeo of course was assistant to Jamie Leacock prior to his departure but was keen to seek approval before taking on the role: “It was important to get Jamie’s approval to do this job. We grew up together and he brought me to the club. There’s really only a couple of clubs who I’d have stayed with like this, Marlow, Maidenhead United and of course Thatcham.

“We were flirting with relegation which I didn’t want to see happen, I wanted to help so here we are!”

Could we say Yash pull on the blue and white shirt? “Those days are behind me,” he says. So not a no then!

Thatcham Town fans – we have a very special Kingfishers giveaway coming up. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a very special TTFC shirt, sign up to our newsletter here and select ‘West Berkshire’.

Yashwa Romeo will be our next guest on the Berkshire Football Stories podcast next week. Subscribe here for the latest episodes.

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