Mike Maher says his Redhill side can thank their local rivals Lingfield for ultimately gaining promotion….
….to the Ryman League Division One South.
The Reds received confirmation last week that they will be playing in the Ryman Division One South next season, having finished second in the Sussex County League Division One.
And while the Reds boss says it was fully deserved for his side, who accumulated ninety-three points from their forty-two games, he has pointed to one game in particular as a defining one for his side – ironically, a defeat to local rivals Lingfield at the beginning of April.
He said: “The thing that really spurred us on was the way they celebrated when they beat us.
“They were there shouting ‘you are not going up’ and that really stuck with us.
“So maybe we need to thank the Lingfield players a little bit.
“That defeat perhaps showed us that we weren’t unbeatable, but we really got down to it and our form after that was brilliant – winning seven of the last eight games.”
But Maher believes his side fully deserve their place in the Ryman League, adding that there is plenty for the Reds to look forward to, including local derbies against Merstham, Chipstead and Three Bridges.
“It will be so much more professional in terms of the grounds, the officials and the competition,” he said.
“There is so much to look forward to and I am delighted for everyone at the club who has supported us through thick and thin.”
However, he is under no illusions as to the challenge of the Ryman League, adding that he will look to learn lessons from the likes of Three Bridges, who struggled towards the bottom of the league last season following their promotion the year before.
“They maybe made the mistake of sticking completely with the squad that got them there,” Maher said,
“You can’t afford to do that and, year on year, you have to look to evolve and improve.
“We will do that and we are looking to bring in three or four to add to the squad, but it will be key that they can come in and work with what we already have.
He added: “We have a great bunch of players who work hard each day and they have got their just rewards in getting promotion.
“We already have players with experience of this level and above within our squad and they will be important, but we will look to bring in three or four to help improve the squad.”