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Faversham Town manager Tommy Warrilow says never-say-die mentality in Step 5 football makes Southern Counties East League battle his toughest yet

An old saying is ringing true for Faversham manager Tommy Warrilow.

The Lilywhites boss is working in Southern Counties East for the first time after succeeding Sammy Moore in January.

Tommy Warrilow took the reins at Faversham in January. Picture: Randolph File
Tommy Warrilow took the reins at Faversham in January. Picture: Randolph File

He’s been as high as Conference South in his Tonbridge days, while spending the rest of his managerial career in the Isthmian Premier and Isthmian South East.

The cut and thrust of Step 5 football is another challenge for the 59-year-old, with the Lilywhites fighting for promotion.

Warrilow said: “I always got told when I was playing, and I think it’s a fair saying, that the lower you go, the harder it gets.

“The reason it’s a lot harder is because you’re playing against lads who will just give everything.

“The higher up you go, some people pick up a few bad habits on the way, or whatever, and the mentality might be different.”

It’s a double-edged sword for Faversham given their status as pre-season title favourites and perceived wealth. They’re the team everyone wants to beat.

“It was like that before I got here,” said Warrilow. “It’s a great thing for the football club because everyone’s talking about them.

“It’s died down a little bit but everyone knows Faversham’s a club with a lot going on, that a lot of people want to play.

“I’ve said previously the budget is nowhere near what was rumoured but, I’m not going to lie, it is a very good budget.

“They were the team everyone wanted to beat in the Isthmian South East last year, because of the stigma surrounding the club.

“They got relegated and this season teams want to roll Faversham over even more so, not only because they’ve dropped a level but because they’ve kept very good players.

“I love that. That’s brilliant. Like I said to the boys, everyone would swap places with you, everyone wants to be in this changing room.

“You’ve got to be big enough and have big enough shoulders to handle that because you’ve earned the right to be here.

“You’re all good players but everyone will want to beat you and everyone might give that little bit more.

“I’m managing a football club that was expected to win the league and obviously it’s not panned out that way.

“I wouldn’t change it. I was delighted to get the phone call from Gary (Smart, chairman). I’ve got big enough shoulders if we lose. I’ll take responsibility, no problem.

“I was delighted to be given the opportunity to take the club forward because I know what’s going on here, not just on the pitch, but off it as well.

“I had a break after leaving Ashford and to get something that reignited the desire again, it was like, ‘Jesus’.

“It’s a big project here and it’s an achievable project.

“But, like any project, you’ve got hurdles to overcome and the hurdle at the moment is the SCEFL, which is a very difficult league to get out of.”

Faversham beat Sutton Athletic 5-1 at home last weekend. There were two goals apiece for Warren Mfula and Stefan Payne, with Sam Hasler also on target.

Ben Gorham made his debut after joining from Ashford while fellow new boy Tyrique Hyde came off the bench.

The Lilywhites, third in the table, visit Holmesdale on Saturday (3pm) and Stansfeld on Tuesday (7.45pm).

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