Letchworth Eagles to carry on with same sustainable approach despite promotion heartbreak
- Credit: DANNY LOO
The pandemic may have robbed Letchworth Eagles of a deserved promotion but manager Jason Valentine is sure of one thing - it won't change their steady and sustainable approach.
The Eagles were champions of the Herts Senior County League Premier Division in 2019 but missed the deadline for ground improvements and were top of the shop last year when the pandemic's arrival rendered non-league football null and void.
They were back at the pointy end too in the season just gone, that one also being ended prematurely.
But despite all of that, the mantra at Pixmore hasn't changed and won't while Valentine's long reign continues.
He said: "I played with the old Letchworth Football Club when it used to be at the County Ground with Kerry Dixon.
I finished my career there but then Tony Eden from the Eagles wanted an adult side at the club to give the kids had a transition into senior football.
"I’ve been with them now for nine years and we could have gone to another ground to get promoted but we said we’d stay at Letchworth and do it right so that when we do go up it is sustainable.
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"The club does want to progress and we’ve now got the facilities and the floodlights to do it.
"We invested and got the right players in when we won the league but missed the deadline for the ground [improvements].
"Last year we were 12 points clear and then COVID came and we couldn’t go up.
"We have put our name forward again but this has been a long journey."
Valentine has built a strong side too, with some having played a lot higher in the past, and he believes that is another example of the sustainable and "right" plan at the club.
He said: "We’re trying to do it right and the players I have all understand that and that is the reason we are at Letchworth.
"People like Ash Kersey, Carl Williams, Sam James and Josh Bronti, they have all played at the Spartan South Midlands level and people wonder why they are at step six.
"It is because they bought into what we are trying to do.
"I chased the money too, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve learned from it.
"What we now do is try and install the mindset in the players to play proper football and do it right."
There may still be a happy ending with the FA considering a realignment of the leagues from step five of the non-league pyramid down, the Eagles currently in step seven.
Before that though is the the Herts Senior County League's cup competitions, brought in to fill the end of season void left by the curtailment of the league season.
Eagles kick off the Premier Division Cup away to Royston Town Res on Saturday before home games over the next two weeks against Bush Hill Rangers and Colney Heath Res.