Gary Meakin has told The Non-League Paper he’s determined to carry on building Beaconsfield Town towards full-time football after racking up 500 games as a manager in double quick-time.
At the age of just 36, Meakin has already gained a wealth of management experience but has settled at the BetVictor Southern League’s Rams, who have big plans for the future.
Chairman Chris Coyle aims to make the club self-sufficient and engrained in the Buckinghamshire community having set up an academy, with proposals for an U23 side, a ladies section and a 3G pitch to follow.
In their second season at Step 3, they are fighting relegation from Southern League Premier South although there is bigger picture for the club than just results.
“From the outside looking in, we’re second bottom and everyone thinks we’re rubbish, but it’s not the way it is,” Meakin told The NLP’s readers this week, having almost taken Beaconsfield into the play-offs last term.
“If it means you’ve got to take one step back to take two forward, then so be it. It’s more about the whole project but that’s easy to say when I have a chairman as good as I have.
“He has the foresight to build for the future. There is a bigger, longer-term project of where we are.
“We’re getting caught up with the finances. We’ve probably got the smallest budget in the league; we were probably halfway down the league in the year we got promoted.
“We had a good group of players and they stuck together last year. We’re now feeling the effects of not having them around because they’ve gone elsewhere and earned that, and we haven’t been able to replace them for the money we have.
“We’re not a million miles away from everything changing. It’s not going to kill the club if we go down, there’s no panic buttons being pressed, I’ll still be there because of the process.”
Meakin, former boss of Hillingdon Borough, Northwood, Wingate & Finchley, Burnham and Egham Town, took the club to the Southern League Division One East title in 2018 and last season to a FA Trophy first round tie at Leyton Orient.
His side’s defeat the Tuesday before last at Met Police marked 500 games in the dugout, a series of highs and lows across 11 years.
“I’m a lot greyer, a lot fatter and a lot older. I’m not sure what I’m going to look like after another 500 games if I get that lucky,” he laughed. “I’ve mellowed a bit, a bit more patient with the whole process and how it works.
“It’s a nice achievement and it doesn’t come around for too many people, especially at my age. I suppose I’m a veteran in management terms even though I’m 36.
“I can remember the first game like it was yesterday. It’s scary how quick it goes. Eventually I’d love to be a full-time manager and, it sounds crazy, but that could be with Beaconsfield, that’s the ambition of the club.
“You look at someone like Danny Cowley at what can be done. I remember manging against him when he was Concord manager and I was at Wingate, which wasn’t that long ago. There’s your inspiration.”
Make sure you get your copy of The Non-League Paper on Sunday for the latest news and action from across Non-League over the last seven days, including Beaconsfield Town’s trip to Hartley Wintney.
As well as exclusive match reports and pictures from all of Saturday’s fixtures in the Vanarama National League, the BetVictor-Sponsored Isthmian League, Southern League and Northern Premier League, The Non-League Paper’s live coverage extends all the way to Steps 5 and 6.