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Folkestone Invicta boss Neil Cugley thrilled to go top of Bostik Premier

By Steve Tervet

Neil Cugley told his players to cut out the league table and keep it after Folkestone stormed to the top.

Against all the odds Invicta are challenging for promotion to National League South with the manager confident another 10 points will see them qualify for the play-offs.

In a division full of clubs either spending big or in financial trouble, Folkestone are proving there’s room at the top for a small, well-run outfit. They reached 70 points on Saturday with a 3-0 win at Harrow and emerged from the weekend as top scorers in Bostik Premier.

Folkestone boss Neil Cugley Picture: Gary Browne
Folkestone boss Neil Cugley Picture: Gary Browne

Cugley said: “It’s beyond anything we had even planned or thought about.

“I told the lads to cut it out and keep it because nobody can take away from the fact we were top.

“Billericay, Dulwich and Margate are the three big clubs but it’s great that, on Saturday, we went above them.

“You have two sections of clubs; some like us who are a bit old-fashioned, trying to get x number of pounds in or you get other clubs have have an investor and that’s how they exist, ie Margate or Dover, by somebody pumping in lots of money.

“But it’s always a bit dangerous because once they go – look at Lowestoft at the moment, Staines and Thurrock... Folkestone are old-fashioned in how we do things but it’s the right way for the club. We can’t rely on one person.

“We’d like a bigger wage bill, of course, but we’re a well-run club and sometimes that’s the way you have to do it. It doesn’t mean you can compete with these others but there’s four or five clubs (in this league) who don’t know what’s going on.”

Dulwich have been locked out of their ground, owing £121,000 in back rent, while Staines were this week put up for sale by sole benefactor Matthew Boon. Lowestoft are running out of money and admit their situation is “critical” while boss Mark Stimson has been told Thurrock will go bust in the summer.

Folkestone, however, are looking up.

Cugley said: “The next target is 80 points because hopefully that will get you to the play-offs. We’ve got a really difficult last month and you could finish up with not many points, if you’re not careful, from those ones.

“We go to Billericay (on the final day), Dulwich are a top side, Margate with all their players back now are going to be strong, then you’ve got Staines who are trying to get in there as well and Leiston.

“It’s not a horrendous run, it’s exciting but you could get on a poor run so it’s important we get these wins now.”

Folkestone are at Thurrock on Saturday.

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