Season 2005/06 News Archive

Tunbridge Wells progressed to the First Qualifying Round of the FA Cup after a 2-2 draw against Littlehampton (AET), courtesy of a mammoth penalty shoot-out. Dave Hassett had opened the scoring for The Wells, before Littlehampton levelled from the penalty spot. The Sussex League side then took the lead early into extra time, but a Buster Beaney effort secured a draw.

Involving a total 40 penalties, The Wells won the penalty shoot-out 16-15, and the club has since had it confirmed that this is indeed a new record. John Whitehouse was the toast of Culverden after pulling of the all-important save that secured victory, capping a superb individual performance. During normal time, Whitehouse had saved yet another penalty (one of two awarded by the referee to Littlehampton).

The victory confirms that The Wells will travel to Met Police on Saturday 10th September in the First Qualifying Round. Here's the sequence of scoring in the remarkable shoot-out:

Hassett (Scored) / Brackley (Missed)
Batt (Scored) / Young (Missed)
Beaney (Missed) / Davis (Scored)
Barham (Missed) / Rayner (Scored)
Fuller (Scored) / Williams (Scored)
Thomas (Scored) / Turner (Scored)
O’Leary (Scored) / Torode (Scored)
Skinner (Scored) / Kamara (Scored)
Hilden (Scored) / Vanson (Scored)
Joynes (Scored) / Kirby (Scored)
Whitehouse (Scored) / Hallett (Scored)
Hassett (Missed) / Brackley (Missed)
Batt (Scored) / Young (Scored)
Beaney (Scored) / Davis (Scored)
Barham (Missed) / Rayner (Missed)
Fuller (Scored) / Williams (Scored)
Thomas (Scored) / Turner (Scored)
O’Leary (Scored) / Torode (Scored)
Skinner (Scored) / Kamara (Scored)
Hilden (Scored) / Vanson (Missed)

The Wells were caught in the National limelight today, with write-ups on the incredible penalty shoot-out win against Littlehampton Town in the Daily Mail (Page 3), The Telegraph and The Guardian - as well as on the homepage as one of its Sports Headlines! In addition there has been a flurry of local news interest, with Norman Sales and Kevin Metcalf's phones pretty busy in the last 24 hours.

The 40 penalties required to settle the tie is an FA Cup and European record. The official world record for the highest number of penalties taken in a senior shoot-out was established in January this year when 48 were required to settle a Namibian Cup first-round tie, when KK Palace eventually beat Civics 17-16 after the match had finished 2-2 after extra time.

Previous to that, the World record was held by Argentinos Juniors and Racing Club, who - according to The Telegraph - shared 44 penalties in the 1988-89 Argentine championship. Argentinos won 20-19 in that shoot-out.

Mike D'Arcy has been appointed as the new reserves manager at Tunbridge Wells FC. Mike was most recently part of a very successful reserve set up at Tonbridge Angels.

04/09/2005 - U18s WITHDRAWN
With the greatest of regret Tunbridge Wells FC has withdrawn its under 18 team for the 2005/06 season. This action is considered by the club to be for one season only and the committee will now be evaluating its structure for youth football in future seasons. One of the greatest priorities for the Wells is to encourage more local talent to come through and perform for its senior sides in the future.

World football governing body FIFA has confirmed that the marathon penalty shoot-out against Littlehampton has set a new world record for a senior cup game.

With Tunbridge Wells sitting third in the Kentish Observer Premier Division table, supporters may be re-assured to know that the task of bringing the ground up to step four standard has begun.

A large porta-cabin has arrived at Culverden and will most likely serve as the club's hospitality suite when it has been connected and decorated. The current committee room is smaller than the minimum size for step four. At the same time two outside toilet blocks have been acquired and will obviously be plumbed in shortly.

A solution to the problem of the PA system has been agreed at the last committee meeting and this will be acted upon shortly at minimal cost to the club. Further improvements towards meeting the step four requirements will be announced soon.

Head Coach Martin Telford has left Tunbridge Wells FC along with coach Dave Rice. During Martin's time at Culverden the first team achieved a seventh place finish in the Kent League and reached the third round of the FA Vase. The club appreciates all the effort and commitment that both Martin and Dave have put in during their stay, and wishes them all the very best in their future ventures.

With Kevin Metcalf on holiday this week, Mike D'Arcy and Alan Burns manage the first team for the Kent Senior Trophy first round match at Slade Green and the home league match against Thamesmead.

10/10/2005 - METCALF QUITS
Kevin Metcalf quit Tunbridge Wells FC tonight following his return from holiday in Turkey. He cited his reason as being the loss of his coaching team - Martin Telford and Dave Rice - last week.

Metcalf has been with Tunbridge Wells for two seasons and has worked extremely hard for the cause of the club. After joining from Tenterden Town and enduring a player exodus following his predecessor, Steve Clark's exit as manager, he had to pull a side together primarily from the Kent County League, whilst operating on a tight budget. His achievement in guiding Wells to 13th place at the end of that season is commendable considering the club entered November with just three points.

The following season, following the departure of Phil Harris, Metcalf had to start again with a new head coach in Martin Telford. Few players survived from the first season but the new squad achieved seventh place in the league as well as embarking on the club's best FA Vase run in many a year. The committee of Tunbridge Wells FC wishes to offer its thanks for all that Kevin has done whilst at Culverden. He is wished all the best for the future.

Metcalf passed on his thanks to all the supporters of Tunbridge Wells for the backing they have given him and his players over the last couple of years. He says that his decision to resign was "a difficult one" but that he believes that he leaves the club "in a better position than it was when I came". Metcalf adds, "my successor has an excellent base from which to build. The first result that I will look for on a Saturday will be Tunbridge Wells."

The club wishes to stress that there was, and is, no bad feeling and genuinely wishes Kevin every success in his next post (except when he comes up against the Wells!).

Tunbridge Wells have asked Mike D'Arcy and Alan Burns to remain in charge for the next two weeks whilst applications are considered for the role of first team manager. D'Arcy commented "This will be a difficult challenge for us but one we are excited about. I guarantee we will give everything for the cause and ensure our players do the same. Again, because it is short-term we will not try to rock the boat too much. However, there will be changes and these will be a direct result of how the boys perform at training. We are determined to get the attitude and shape right over the coming weeks. We will also look to bring a couple of fresh faces in to the squad. I have been asked to apply for the position, which I will. However, the best reference I can give the Chairman is the performance the boys put on out on the pitch, so we will see!"

Martin Farnie is the new manager of Tunbridge Wells and will assume responsibility for the first team after Saturday's game. Farnie has had previous spells with the Wells as both a player and a coach. Indeed he was a member of the Kent League championship-winning side in 1984/85. He has previously been assistant manager to Tommy Sampson at Herne Bay and enjoyed further Kent League success there. Martin has also worked with Sampson at Dartford in recent seasons as first team coach. His previous experience as a Kent League manager came at Canterbury City.

The club wishes to thank Mike D'Arcy and Alan Burns for all the work they have put in during the past few difficult weeks. Mike has confirmed that he will take the first team on Saturday before returning with Alan to manage the reserves. We are confident that we have fully competent and capable management in place for both our teams and that marked improvements in the club's fortunes will follow.

Defender Scott McLeod has re-signed for the Wells having returned from his travels in Australia along with Andy Garrett who returns from Southern League Chatham Town. They are joined by Jason Bourne (from Great Wakering Rovers) and Wayne Balmer who both also enjoyed previous stints with the club.

06/11/2005 - NEW COACH NAMED
Martin Farnie has brought in Andrew Hall as his first team coach. Hall is a holder of the UEFA B coaching badge.

29/11/2005 - BARRY'S AWARD
Barry Whitlock, secretary of Tunbridge Wells FC, has been presented with a '20-years meritorious service award' by the Kent Referees Association (KRA). To qualify for this award a referee must have spent a minimum of 15 years as an officer at branch level. Barry qualifies after years of dedication to the Tunbridge Wells branch of the KRA. His spells of officership include; delegate from Tunbridge Wells Branch to the KRA; Secretary of the Tunbridge Wells branch twice (spanning 8-9 years in total); Branch training officer since 1991; and this year as vice chairman of the KRA.

Jamie Lover has left Tunbridge Wells and signed for Erith Town. Kevin Brown also leaves, along with Scott McRobert who joins Bromley Green.

The speculation on other websites about the possibility of Steve Ward moving to Hythe is obviously unsettling to Tunbridge Wells supporters who have not heard anything official from the club. It can be confirmed that Steve is considering a move to a new club, and that Hythe may be one that has expressed an interest.

Steve would be greatly missed at Culverden but we recognise that he is at the start of his senior footballing career and will obviously be tempted by certain opportunities that might come his way. His brother Mike is still very much a Tunbridge Wells player and we hope that 2006 will be a fantastic year for him in the Tunbridge Wells shirt.

07/01/2006 - WARD'S AN ANGEL
Steve Ward, who left Culverden prior to Christmas, has signed for neighbours Tonbridge Angels. Meanwhile last season's Kent League Div 1 Golden Boot-winning striker, Dave Batt also leaves Culverden for Erith Town. Dave scored three goals for Tunbridge Wells but the majority of his appearances were made after he came off the bench. John Sinclair, signed by Mike D'Arcy during his time as caretaker manager of the first team, has also decided to leave the club. Coming in to Culverden is defender Gary Hemens from Maidstone United as Martin Farnie seeks to strengthen the side. Hemens is a former England Schoolboy captain.

At an exraordinary meeting of the members of Tunbridge Wells Foresters FC last night it was agreed that TWFFC would strengthen their links with TWFC. The committee of TWFC had already voted unanimously to the same end. The first major benefit for The Wells will be the restoration of youth football with effect from 2006/07. Not only will our under 18 side be restored, but we will also see the introduction of a new under 16 section. The longer term plan is that players will play under the name of Tunbridge Wells Foresters until they reach the under 12s, when they will begin to play under the name of Tunbridge Wells FC.

Foresters are very keen that their players have tangible links with a senior football club and are able to progress through the ranks and represent their home town at the highest level possible. Foresters have a very successful history of developing players from the age of five, and their well-qualified and committed youth coaches will work closely with our own coaching team to ensure successful transitions for players through the system.

For our part we welcome closer links which will also see the facilities (not the often maligned pitch) at Culverden used as an HQ for Foresters whilst the two clubs work together to develop a mutually-held ambition of a footballing centre of excellence within the town. More information about Tunbridge Wells Foresters FC can be found at

Martin Farnie has been rewarded for a steady improvement in the performances and results of Tunbridge Wells FC with the Kentish Observer Football League Manager of the Month award for January.

Wells were beaten just once in a strange month in which no team avoided defeat. But with the team beginning to climb the table again the clincher for Farnie was probably reaching the semi-finals of the Kent Senior Trophy.

Cancel any other plans you have for Saturday April 15th because that is the date for Tunbridge Wells to play VCD in the Kent Senior Trophy final! Alex Rich scored the only goal of the game away to high-flying Beckenham in the second half and The Wells have now beaten the Kent League's top two en-route to the final. We await details of the venue for the final but will bring it to you as soon as we know it.

08/03/2006 - CUP FINAL DETAILS
The date of the Kent Senior Trophy Final has been brought forward a week at the request of both clubs to Sunday, April 9th - Kick-Off 3pm. The match will be played at Welling United's Park View Road ground.

Tunbridge Wells have added young forward Danny Nicholls to the squad following last weekend's game with Erith Town. Nicholls was on the bench for The Dockers at Culverden for that match.

07/04/2006 - THE FUTURE'S BRIGHT!
Gary Stevens and Phil Dowrick of Foresters FC stepped up in the clubhouse last might to outline their considered views on how Tunbridge Wells FC should move forward. At the end of the evening the views (which were unanimously accepted by the committee and membership of TWFC) produced a new management structure which will be filled at the AGM in May.

The two clubs have already forged an ever strengthening link which provides the Wells with an instant youth structure and Foresters players a goal of senior football. The desire to move towards forming a 'hub-club' is very much alive but TWFC will need to undergo a revolution in the way it is run before this is viable. Phil explained the concept of a hub-club was becoming more and more important as a way of local sports clubs gaining funding. It is quite likely that other Tunbridge Wells sports clubs of all kinds will eventually join with us in an association of mutual support and benefit.

Gary Stevens asked some searching questions before the new proposals were layed out. 'Where are the supporters?' 'Why aren't the pitch and stand better?' 'Why are there no training facilities?' (He added that he had been looking at this). He posed the question as to whether the problems could be down to a lack of desire to progress, before he moved to the solution. The football and commercial sides of the club should be completely separated. It is time to think big like a business and we need to start being honest about our present structure. He added that the current committee is made up of 'well-meaning people' but that there was fundamental need to have the 'right person at the right time in the right place' who could make relevant decisions. Too many decisions come down to small actual or de-facto committees and this is stifling progress.

The solution is all about 'empowerment, responsibility and de-cluttering.' Foresters have already been through this process and the results have been astounding with a membership of 500, plus their parents and families. It has also enabled them to gain FA Charter status and begin to enjoy the considerable benefits that this brings. They now intend to help TWFC along the same path. Gary stated that there are 'opportunities to develop on and off the pitch if the attitude is right.' Decisions need to be made by the right people with the right level of responsibility. But to stand still actually means going backwards.

Phil then introduced the proposed new structure which will achieve separation of roles and liberate the management of TWFC to achieve success. There will be a board of five people occupying the roles of Chairman, Director of Football, Financial Management Officer, Child Welfare Officer and Secretary. These five people will be responsible for the 'key decisions.' They need meet infrequently because they will be making decisions for themselves and not by committee.

The five will be supported by other people and the identified roles are as follows. Playing Management (reports to DoF), Facilities Manager (reports to sec), Catering and Bookings (reports to CPO), Kit & Equipment (reports to secretary), Match-Day Officer (reports to secretary), Club Shop (reports to FMO), Supporters Rep (reports to Chairman), Youth Secretary (reports to secretary), Financial Management Support (reports to FMO) and Club Development Officer (FMO).

All roles will be alocated at the club's AGM in May and interested parties are welcome to put themselves forward for election. 'Job specs' will be drawn up shortly but special mention needs to be made of the Club Development Officer, the title of which needs explaining. The role embraces the commercial side of the club with its quest for sponsorship and it's need for effective PR and marketing. As such the CDO will be a forward planning role which seeks to maximise the club's opportunities on each of these levels.

The days of the chairman or any other over-worked member of the club, cutting the grass, marking the pitch, doing the laundry etc., should come to an end. One of the briefs for the CDO will be to find sufficient funding not only for the development of ground and team, but also for the payment of staff to undertake some of the work for which the club has previously relied on dedicated but seriously stretched volunteers.

In response to questions it was also explained that meetings with the local council were in full swing and that they are supporting the development of Culverden to support adult football. Despite the obvious commercial value of the Culverden site they are very keen that it should remain a football ground and there is considerable support from the civic centre for the development of training pitches within the complex. Furthermore Norman Sales was able to appraise the meeting of the progress of the changing room project. Planning has been granted and the club is now waiting a decision from building regs. Once this is through, an application can be made to the Football Foundation for funding. Phil Dowick declared his interest in providing the club with a new stand. The rationale behind this was that people are more likely to want to visit Culverden if it is developed more as a stadium. Cosmetics achieve results.

The youth trials will be happening shortly and Phil has so far received 30 applications. The objective is to field an under 18 side in the Kent Youth League again and ultimately this will follow through to U16 and U14. Currently we may have to settle for the U16 and U14 remaining in the Crowborough and District League. However next season's Foresters U12s are entering the Tandridge League for the first time and this is already attracting good quality players back to the club.

The point was made that all teams at the club/s need to be playing at the highest level possible. In the long term a town the size of Tunbridge Wells should expect Conference South football at senior level but there is much work to be done before this will be achieved. A question was raised as to when the club would be pushing for promotion to the Ryman League. Martin Farnie stated that the 'club is not ready to move on - financially or structurally yet. We need to build momentum, get more sponsorhip. We cannot go up only to come straight back down again. We need to get the structure right before we can even think about promotion. This is the best (proposed) structure I have seen at any football club - and I have been at many. (Promotion) will take 2-3 years.'

Larry Bulmer wrapped up the meeting by commenting that a line needed to be drawn under the past. The consensus is for 'moving onwards and upwards.' Proposals need to be concreted and this will be done at the AGM.

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