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Met Police eye a title charge!

By Matt Badcock, 

Gavin Macpherson was simply aiming to keep Met Police in Step 3 this season – he certainly didn’t expect to be pushing for the National League South!

Macpherson – a club stalwart at Imber Court from his playing days and 14 years as assistant manager – was handed the keys to the manager’s office in the summer when long-serving boss Jim Cooper stepped down.

It came after they were switched from the Isthmian League to the new Southern League Premier South division as part of the FA’s restructuring.

The majority of the squad departed and the budget cut as their appeal of the decision fell on deaf ears and they faced up to an increase of travelling.

But a run to the FA Cup first round proper – where they played Newport County – has been backed up in the league with Macpherson leaning on many players who have graduated through the youth system.

And last weekend’s 3-0 win over Frome Town made it just one defeat in 13 games as they kept their hold on second place in the table. For boss Macpherson it’s all beyond any pre-season expectations.

“I was asked by the local press, ‘Did I imagine we’d be second?’ No – in fact I didn’t imagine anything, to be honest,” Macpherson told The NLP this week.

“We set ourselves the standard of staying up. It was obviously a summer of a bit of upheaval with Jim going – which was unexpected – and being moved leagues. That happened in the space of 24 hours.

“Then we lost basically all the players. So some might view it that I had a hell of a job on my hands!

“But we had talent within, who hadn’t been part of the first team structure on a regular basis, I felt could form the nucleus of the team.

Youth

“They were untried and untested at Step 3, but I just felt if we signed well around them we’d have a chance of maintaining our Step 3 status.

“Des (chairman Des Flanders) put some quite severe financial restraints on me – which is not a moan, it’s a hazard of the business we’re in. Had I a bigger budget, would I have only been looking outside? No, I’m pretty sure I would have still been looking at those lads because having known them for several years coming through the youth teams and the U23s – we had a successful team get through to the late stages of the FA Youth Cup a few years ago – I was definitely going to explore whether they were going to make up the nucleus of the side. I always felt they could and as it stands – we are in January – we’re doing very well.”

Macpherson isn’t thinking any further ahead than the immediate future – but says a change of scenery of a new league has had its benefits.

“I’m really enjoying that aspect,” he added. “Some of the grounds I’ve played at and come across in my time. But you’re going to new grounds, new types of support, the journeys are different – much lengthier – but I’m enjoying the aspect of new teams, new management teams.

“Having been 14 seasons as Jim’s assistant, you get to know the managers, the teams, certainly you get to know the grounds.”

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