Lye interview and Elliott rejoins! We're pleased to be able to bring you a very honest interview from Ashford United's manager Danny Lye. Lyzee speaks frankly about his thoughts on his time as manager, the coming season, our youth set up and the future of our great club. So Danny, you’ve had almost two full seasons as manager of Ashford United, what’s been your highlights and if any the low points? Obviously the two trophies last season are very special to the club as it was the first silverware in a long, long time. I think when ‘Welfs’ got the goal that beat the club record and equalled the golden boot, that was a very good feeling as it felt like we had completed out target for the season. But personally the FA Vase run from a couple season’s ago was very very memorable when we went to the Isle of Wight, played Dunston home and away, then travelled down to Salisbury. We had a very special team talk away at Dunston, at half time when we were 2-0 down and looked dead and buried. The low points must be when a certain company took control of the stadium as they were very testing times for me just as I took over as manager. The absolute lowest point would be the 10 point deduction as at the time we were flying and we honestly believed we could catch Greenwich Borough. The team put in a fantastic run winning 7 of the last games and a cup final! Did you at any point of last season have doubts we’d finish as champions? Of course we had doubts, especially when we lost to Bearsted away as I thought we had thrown it away. Also Crowborough were on a fantastic run at the time. ‘Welfs’ and myself said at the start of the season that anything less than promotion would be a failure. A few fans were disappointed at the loss of Palmer, West and Savage, what would you say to them? That is part of football after gaining promotion. You need to freshen things up and change players to suit the new league. We got Matt Day signed up for this season, and we’ve welcomed Tyrell, both to add to our fire power and that meant we could not afford everyone, so it was a natural stage for ‘Palms’ to leave. We also introduced Avery as our captain to lead us in a higher league. ‘Avo’ has played at Conference South level, where as ‘Westy’ has not, so we decided to go with experience. We would love to keep everyone but we have a budget to work to! Our fans have all seen a huge change in the atmosphere (for the better) around the club since you’ve taken charge, what are your thoughts and feelings about this? It is nice to hear that. I have introduced small changes at different times since taking over to make the club a better and more professional one. Being a journey man in my playing days, I have played at over 10 clubs, some great and some poorly run! You learn on the way what makes the clubs successful and not successful. I have won leagues, playoffs, finished midtable and also been relegated, so I hope to use those memories to help our club be a good one to be around. You seem to have made the transition from an Ashford player to manager really smoothly. Has it been as easy as you’ve made it look? And will we see ‘Lyzee’ playing this season? The opportunity to become manager came at a very good stage in my career as my back was in bits. A player fears not being able to play and dreads the day of giving up. Being manager still gives me a bit of the football fix and keeps me around the environment. It will never be the same as playing but it certainly isn’t a bad replacement. If my back heals well from the latest set of injections, you may see me feature if we have an injury crisis or if we have some good cup runs. Where would you like to see the club be in say two seasons time? I think the first priority is to maintain our new Bostik League status and gradually improve our league position. So in two seasons time, I would expect us to be competitively competing for a top 5 finish. Could you see yourself being our manager for a long time? Well let’s see how we start this season! You know what happened to the last manager… One thing you learn in football along the years is that anything can happen. As long as we can keep being competitive on the pitch and the club back us to sign good players as they did last year then I am sure I will be here for many years. Clearly our youth set up is really starting to reap rewards with many good young players starting to break into the first team, do you see yourself playing the youngsters more this season? And what importance do you feel the youth at Ashford are to our future as a club? Yes the lads are coming on very well now and the difference from last year is very clear to see. Due to our small playing squad and budget restrictions, the youngsters will definitely be seen throughout the season. I think one or two are ready and I think four or five others will be good enough as they progress. We are keen to send some out on loan to gain playing time in physical leagues so they become accustomed to the physical aspect of mens football. What is your opinion on the new season, consolidation or a promotion challenge? Step 1 is you get enough points on the board for survival. Once that happens we will then make another target. How do you feel about cup games, a chance of some glory or a distraction from the league? The FA Cup and FA Trophy are definitely to try and compete against better opponents and to dream a little. To this date, my best memories in the sport are from the FA Cup, playing in front of thousands of fans so you have to take it seriously. Who’s the biggest characters in the dressing room? We have lots! Big George of course is a big presence just before kick off making sure the boys know their jobs. You have ‘Stoney’, Goodchild and Rory who always have something to say, whilst ‘Welfs’ is the biggest kid. The biggest character comes from the smallest man in the dressing room, Shaun Holland is one of a kind. When you sit and think about it, there are lots of them! What’s your thoughts on our fans? Does their singing and support help lift you all? RUBBISH! Only joking! The singing is unreal. The fans really get behind the boys and are the biggest reason for last year’s success. After so many off field battles it was easy to see just how much the success of last season meant to everyone, from the supporters up to Don singing and celebrating with the fans, how did it make you and the squad feel? Yes it was a very special couple of weeks once the job was done. I promised Don I would get the club promoted before my contract expired so I was just pleased we produced what I promised. I (Neil) personally feel the potential of Ashford United/Town is finally looking like it’s moving quickly in the right direction. The first team winning trophies, the new Academy being set up and all the youth teams being brought in under the same umbrella as one are huge changes for the better. You’ve been involved with the club on and off for a long time now. What are your thoughts? Yes it is all pulling together very quickly now and looks very promising. The club has/is being rebuilt from the bottom upwards so it is progressing well. There is still a long way to go until it is functioning on all cylinders. You and Don (Crosbie) seem to work well together and it’s there to see his ambition for the club, what’s your thoughts on DC and your working relationship with him? Careful now! Haha Yes Don and I get on well. We are both stubborn men but have the same objective… winning! Don is very passionate about this football club and it angers me when others doubt his purpose for the club. Anyone who knows what he has given and lost for the good of the football will know his purpose. Making Ashford United better! Do you have any news on how long Kingwell, Stubbs, Day and Walker will be sidelined for? We are hoping to have Walker, Day and ‘Kingers’ back in training this week before our first league game. Unfortunately Stubbs looks to be sidelined for quite some time. As pre-seasons go, ours has not been a great one as we have picked up so many injuries. You’ve recently mentioned bringing in some cover, any news on this? Yes we have completed the signing of ex Nuts & Bolts player, Chris Elliott (pictured at the top of the page), who will bolster our defence. We are in negotiations with two others at present, with the aim to bring one more into the squad. Finally have you anything you’d like to say to our supporters about the coming season or anything else you’d like to mention? Stay patient! There will be times this season when things are not going to plan. Myself and the squad will stay calm and rely on our 12th man to lift us when times are tough so… SING SING SING. Thanks for your time Lyzee, I’m sure all our fans would like to thank you for all the good times you’ve brought us so far, and wish you all the best for the new season! Thanks Neil, we hope to bring you more exciting times soon! Lyzee, Ashford United manager.