Steve Thompson, coach for Woking football club, who currently sit at second in the Vanarama conference, has this season taken over the role of head coach at Kingston as part of the ongoing partnership between the club and university sides.
FA trophy winner Thompson said: “I have been impressed by the enthusiasm to play the game, in fact sometimes that enthusiasm boils over in training and there are a few lunges and tackles going in, I have to remind the boys they still need to be able to play football on Wednesday.”
Thompson is able to fit his Monday night sessions with Kingston in with his job at the top at Woking and has been impressed by the turn out.
“We had a trials day and I could not believe it 250 odd came out,” said Thompson, “It was very difficult to get that down to 80 in a day.”
The Monday evening sessions run by Steve have also attracted high attendance that has pleased the coach.
“It has been great to see, especially Monday night when it was absolutely hammering down I was thinking possibly we won’t get the numbers we had last week but there were even more there.” Said the 51-year-old.
First team captain Gareth Chendlik feels Thompson’s presence is responsible for the upturn from last seasons’ training numbers.
Chendlik said: “This year attendance at training has been at an all-time high, everyone is there and everyone feels like they are getting something out of it.”
Players have noticed a step up in the level of training, Chendlik described it as a breath of fresh air and the players are keen to show the new boss what they can do.
The Kingston skipper said: “People are trying to impress him, training really has stepped up, what is great about Steve is he will be here half an hour before training session and it is all set up and we are straight in to it.”
The link between the sides has been going on for 14 months and has benefitted both sides with Woking able to train at Kingston’s Tolworth Court.
Thompson said: “It has helped us a lot to attract players to Woking, knowing they have got a very good facility to train at.”
It is not just Thompson who has been impressed by Kingston though, the Kingston captain says the players absolutely love Steve.
Chendlik said: “Everyone knows who Steve is and what he has done, he instantly has that respect from everyone.”
The new coaching set up paid dividends on Wednesday when Kingston brushed Brunel aside 6-2, a team they were well beaten by last season.
Proud captain Chendlik said: “We played them off the park. Because Steve is there we have attracted a higher calibre of player people want to be there and people want to play for Kingston university.
The confidence from an early season win is something Thompson thinks is important to teams at any level.
Thompson said: “When you start the season well it gives everyone a boost and that is lovely to see.”