Whyteleafe FC

Gaffer's Chat with Harry Hudson

Steve Hole catches up with Leafe boss, Harry Hudson for a long-overdue chat …

Welcome back to Gaffer’s Chat and I really hope you are well. Now that restrictions are beginning to be lifted and the Leafe first team has had an initial training session at Church Road, here’s the first of what we hope will be regular GAFFER’S CHATS. Maybe not quite weekly – yet – but definitely more regular. 

Rather than being filled with tumbleweed, two foot weeds and a mountain of dust, Church Road is looking superb in readiness for the new season. A massive pat on the back to everyone who has been helping tidy the ground up.

Time to catch up with Leafe boss, Harry Hudson to find out what’s been going on in recent weeks.

Great to be back doing Gaffer’s Chat Harry. Now, I’m not qualified to start talking about Covid 19 so I’m not going to talk too about that here BUT I hear that the Leafe first team is training again? Yes, we have had a couple of sessions with the players in small groups at Church Road to test our pandemic protocols. We have paused the training currently though as there is work being carried out on the pitch.

I’m not sure I’ll come to terms with the so-called ‘new normal’ anytime soon, but to coin a cliché ‘it is what it is’. How have government restrictions affected the way you have to train? So, we can only train with five players and one coach at any one point. Those players stay with that coach in a ‘bubble’ to minimise the number of people each individual comes into contact with. We disinfect equipment between sets and no changing rooms are available to players and staff, currently.

It must be great to get back out on the pitch though, right? Yes most definitely! Both players and staff alike have enjoyed getting back to work!

Any notable departures – other than Nathan Campbell’s retirement – you can tell us about? Currently, it is almost impossible for us to have conversations with players about next season. Until we have some idea of when the season will start, whether there are FA Cup and FA Trophy matches for our level, we as a club cannot set a budget. Obviously there are non-league clubs who are announcing signings and they must be structured differently to us in regards to their finances. At the moment our players know our position and we hope to retain as many of possible when the picture becomes clearer!

Similarly, have you any new signings you can reveal yet? No, I haven’t approached any new players at this stage as I don’t have a proposition to put to them yet!

Describe how it will feel when the season finally starts and you get to see all the friendly faces back at Church Road? Dunno about you mate, but this enforced layoff has made me realise how much I have been missing the place? Most certainly – I think anyone attached to a non-league club maybe didn’t realise how important that club is to their community until lockdown. We cannot wait to have football back at Church Road in whatever format we are allowed!

Personally, I haven’t been to the ground recently – but I do plan to go and push a broom around in the next week or so – but I am told that it looks immaculate? A huge effort has been made with copious pots of ‘Leafe-spec green paint’ being splashed all over, so I’m sure you’ll be the first to show your appreciation to all those who helped and to the big bossmen Chairman Mark Coote and Vice Chairman Clive Davis for making it happen? Yes, get your broom out! The ground is looking the best I have ever seen it. The whole place has had a facelift and it will be enjoyed by the supporters, players and staff immensely – a huge 'THANK YOU' to everyone who has worked tirelessly to make Church Road look fantastic!


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