Neil Smith has been left gutted as he opens up to the Non League Paper about that shock much talked about sacking by Bromley last month.
At the time of his departure, the Ravens had been sitting 7th and in the National League playoffs.
It was a decision that has left supporters stunned, considering where they are in the table and how he’s done at the club after five years in charge.
Speaking with the Non League Paper, he said: “I’ve taken in what happened now. You’ve got to move on and you’ve got to be positive.
“The best thing that has come out of it and I am humbled by it, is the response I’ve have from other managers, other clubs, and people in football all saying ‘Be proud of what you’ve done”.
“It’s reassuring people outside of Bromley have appreciated what we’ve done as well.
“All I’ve ever wanted is to make sure the supporters are proud at their football club. And the owners are proud of what we are doing.
“Other than that, your full focus is us, your players and your club.
“When you step away, you actually hear what people think about when you played them, that they always knew that’ll get a tough game. I’d never asked people what they think of us. I’m just solely concerned with my players performing the best they can.
“It gives you a boost to hear that because you think you must be doing something right.
“When we went into the National League, it as always going to be difficult because we were part-time – or semi part-time – and coming up against these big clubs we’d really ever draw in the FA Cup. To all of a sudden to be against them every week.
“But the club has grown. It’s an amazing place. it is set up to go into the Football League. The chairman’s plans are amazing. I’m probably just frustrated I can’t be there to see it through because they’ve got some fantastic plans and it’s a great environment to work with the players.
“I don’t take responsibility myself. Mark Hammond, my assistant manager and head of academy just grew it.
“I had to just make sure I was there supporting him making sure we were doing the assemblies together – making sure Bromley got on the map.
“The reason people want to go to the club now is beaches the first team is going well, they can see pathways. But that’s been a gradual incline for the last five years.
“The love for the club is never going to go away. It is my local club. I was very proud and honoured when they gave me the job and I gave it everything I’ve got.
“The one thing someone said to when you leave a club, make sure it is in a better position than when you walked into it. I think it is.
“From top to bottom, there is a foundation through the youth section, the academy, U23s, to the first team. I’ve given it everything I’ve got. I can’t have given it anymore.
“I can understand if you’ve been bottom of the table and it’s been constant pressure pressure pressure.
“It’s not been like that. I’ve enjoyed the last few weeks. The team had a bit of form, we were doing well and I could really see us pushing in and around those play-offs.
“So now I am out of it, I’m not, ‘Oh I just needed to get away’. I’m in the mode of ‘I want to get back in’.
“The last four weeks the team were more consistent, players had come back from injury, and we were gaining that little bit of momentum. So I didn’t need the rest.
“Unfortunately that decision was taken out of my hands. I will enjoy the sun while it is out and the relaxation of lockdown to see some family and friends. But ass soon as the right thing comes along I’ll jump straight back in.
“This time last year I was sitting in the back garden because there was a national lockdown. A year later I’m doing the same. So it’s weird in that respect because since I left school I’ve been in football. I love the banter, i love getting ready for games, for training, preparing to do your best.
“I love being on the coaching side, being ready for the next game. Especially when it is your local club. i am literally five minutes away from the club. You could feel the atmosphere ready for games, So that Saturday if getting ready for games will be a big loss – but hopefully not for too long.”
Fans reacted with Neil Smith left gutted as he opens up that shock sacking by Bromley…
@wildman_paul: Still struggling to understand what happened.
@robshrl: To replace an experienced National League manager when 7th in the league, with a novice manager who has no history of the National League, is quite frankly a baffling business decision and in fact quite bizarre. Replace with better or not at all.
@miltownroad: Thoughts of the play-offs are quietly slipping away. Another mid table finish looking likely.
@dksmith1616: Much better second half when they seemed to revert back to the formation they’ve been playing. But as I’ve said chairman didn’t want playoffs so that’s done now. 👍
@AlexBromleyfc: Its an absolute sh&& show. More importantly makes no sense. You have @neil_smudge who gave his heart and soul not only for the club but for the community,and now a guy who may be a great bloke.But knows nothing about our club, if living local was a thing, hire me
@trevk37: Interesting to read in the @NonLeaguePaper @neil_smudge isn’t wanting time out of the game, one job i know of immediately available 🤔🤔🤔
@Joeybux1992 on new manager Andy Woodman: Get rid of him
@kentreedy: If they were that intent on getting rid of the manager then at least advertise the job, see who applies and go from there, instead of obviously already having a replacement lined up. There must have been managers out there who would have been eager to put their names forward.
@PehaugheyPaul: There would have been a lot of experienced league managers that would have loved this job
@dksmith1616: Because the chairman decided to play football manager should’ve stuck to the PlayStation🤷♂️