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Club in focus: Bromsgrove Sporting – Brendan Kelly eyes the prize in building for the future

By Hugo Varley

Bromsgrove Sporting boss Brendan Kelly could be forgiven for thinking that this managerial lark is a bit of a breeze.

Since taking over first-team duties in March, the rookie boss has guided Sporting to 18 wins in just 24 leagues games, which has seen the phoenix club romp to the Midland Premier League title and subsequently sit proudly at the top of the Southern League Division One Central table before yesterday.

The Rouslers’ title-winning campaign was the Worcestershire club’s second straight promotion but Kelly remains coy about his hopes of making it a hat-trick.

“I couldn’t really have wished for a better start,” he told The NLP. “There is always room for improvement but we are all delighted with how things are going and its testament to the countless hours that everyone has put in on the training pitch.

“I sat down with the board over the summer and we set a few ambitions for this season. I don’t really want to detail exactly what we hope to achieve but I can definitely say that we are on target so far.”

Formed in 2009 by supporters of the since dissolved Bromsgrove United, Bromsgrove Sporting enjoyed a glorious start to life, reaching the Midland Football League Division One after achieving back-to-back promotions in their first two seasons of existence.

Crisis

The Rouslers went on to endure a frustrating stint in Step 6, finishing as runners-up three years running before new manager Paul Smith took the club to the next level.

In his first full season in charge, Smith became a hero of the ­terraces at the Victoria Ground by leading Sporting to both an unbeaten title-winning season and the semi-finals of the 2017 FA Vase.

Last season, things looked to be continuing in a similar vain. However, just as the advent of spring was heralding the start of the business end of the season, Sporting were plunged into crisis as Smith dramatically resigned.

Citing major disagreements with the board over the club’s future direction, Smith chose to immediately depart The Rouslers – promptly being replaced by Kelly, who had previously acted as his assistant.

Brendan Kelly

The current boss agrees that the experience of last season was difficult to endure but admits that he is thankful to the club’s hierarchy for giving him a chance to prove himself.

Kelly added: “Much of last season was pretty turbulent. I had known for a while that there had been a few problems between Paul and the board but I wasn’t really aware of the exact details of what was happening.

Deep end

“It was a shame to see him leave but when I was offered the job it was an opportunity that I just couldn’t turn down. We were in the middle of a title race and because of the bad weather over the winter we had a lot of fixtures to catch up with.

“We packed in lots and lots of matches, which meant that we didn’t really have much time to train so I guess that you could say I was thrown in at the deep end but it was a really great experience.

“The board took a real gamble in appointing me and I would like to think that I have gone someway to repaying the faith that they have shown in me”.

With the new campaign heralding a continuation of success, Kelly is confident that after the relative instability of last season, a bright future beckons for Bromsgrove, both on and off the pitch.

“We are always looking to move forward and brought in quite a few new lads over the summer to ensure that we continue to evolve,”?he continued.

“A priority for me is to ensure that we are producing a brand of football that is worth paying to go and see. Hopefully we are currently achieving this because we have been averaging attendances of around 900 this season, which is really great to see.

“Away from the first team, things are looking really positive as well.

“It is a really great community club that has always been very family friendly and we now have over 20 junior teams, which has helped to pull the local area together.

“We want the club to be a key part of the community and in this respect it is useful that the ground is smack back in the middle of the town.

“We are all very excited for the future and hopefully there are many more good times still to come!”

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