Seven months after Notts County’s ‘dream’ had begun, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Kasper Schmeichel and Sol Campbell had all departed Nottingham’s lesser-known sibling. The project to climb football’s pyramid from the fourth tier to the Premier League was no longer viable with debts rising and a winding-up order issued.
Billericay Town FC are the latest club to gain media attention for the injection into their club accounts, and the signing of Paul Konchesky; Football Manager has become real life. But new owner, Glenn Tamplin, isn’t concerned with the whispers of Notts County’s failed dreams resurfacing in the seventh tier of English football.
“I’m not building a team or club full of egos. People can say what they like, but talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words. Let’s just see what happens and where we go, but I’m certainly not just buying players for press.
“My dream for Billericay Football Club is that if I get run over in five years time, that Billericay FC still functions. The club is bigger than me.”
Billericay are currently in the Ryman League Premier Division, but the desire to reach League Two as quick as possible has never been stronger. And the signing of former Liverpool and England international, Paul Konchesky, is just the start of the adventure Glenn Tampin wants to go on with his local side.
Konchesky’s arrival with the Blues peaked national interest, with the BBC and Sun running stories on the former Fulham defender joining ‘ricay’s push for success.
Cynics out there question the now-35-year-old’s motives for leaving League One side Gillingham, especially with rumours of a particularly healthy weekly wage on offer at Billericay, but their cynicism is misplaced.
“Paul is local to me; he lives just round the corner. So he was aware I was doing things with Billericay.
“I didn’t go looking; this isn’t a PR stunt. Although people can say what they want; you get as many haters as you do lovers.
“I wasn’t looking for Paul Konchesky. Perhaps I would’ve been looking for Paul Konchesky to get us up into League Two but not now. But the fact the option came up, and that he’s on a lot less than people seem to think, because he wants to play football, he wants to retire from professional football and play non-league and be part of something, that’s what Paul wants.
He came to me, we sat down and met, I told him my ambitions. He could’ve gone to every club up to National League level but he liked me, what I am and what I’m about. And he likes what the club is about.
People will see when he goes on the pitch, he’s actually here for the right reasons and not the money. And people can think what they like, but he’s not the highest paid player at the club, far from it.”
With the added media interest around Billericay, it has naturally seen the footballing world take notice, and no one is quicker in trying to capitalise on something in the beautiful game than agents.
“I won’t mention names but I’d say in the last week I’ve had 25 much higher profile names thrown at me. But they’re all a bit older, past their sell by date and it would just be a PR stunt. And I’ve no interest in that at all, I’m here to run a football club. Players that have had 25/30 international caps, that sort of level.
If taking over a new club, conducting interviews and managing to get a former Three Lions international through the door wasn’t making Glenn Tamplin busy enough, the new owner of Billericay Town recently became the manager, after the Blues gaffer of seven years, Craig Edwards, stepped down.
“After Tuesday’s game at Enfield I was informed by our chairman Dan Groves that owner Glenn Tamplin has decided that we were to be joint managers and that I would continue to run the under-21s on full pay. Promises have been broken and I found this wholly unacceptable. Only a couple of hours after I resigned Glenn put himself in the hot seat already.”
It’s here that you realise Glenn Tamplin is an open book when it comes to Billericay Town, a man who has the club’s interests at heart, and isn’t afraid of ruffling a few feathers along the way – even admitting to when he is at fault. Glenn doesn’t strike you as a man who is willing to sugarcoat things, so there is a real sincerity to his words about the recently departed Edwards, words that perhaps carry an air of sadness that it came to that conclusion, should be received as warmly as they’re meant.
“[Craig Edwards’ resignation] A lot of it is down to me, due to a conversation him and I had. I have to take responsibility for him resigning, Craig wouldn’t have done so if I hadn’t have put in his head that he might not be the right man for the job to take the club where I want it to go, so I have to take responsibility for that.
“He’s a great guy, a very capable manager. He’s a man who works on a budget and does an incredible job, he’s very good at what he does. But we don’t need to work on a budget, and we are getting different types of players. Craig’s a lovely man and a great manager but I just don’t believe for where we are going, the technical players we are going to get in, I just don’t believe he’s the right man for the job.”
Only time will tell whether Billericay Town’s journey under Glenn Tamplin will end up in League Two rather than a beleaguered club in the bottom two. But if it is to fail, it won’t be through Glenn Tamplin’s lack of trying.