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Sittingbourne manager Ryan Maxwell ready to pull on the boots at 40 after naming himself on the bench to solve player shortage

Sittingbourne manager Ryan Maxwell is ready to do a job on the pitch - aged 40.

Maxwell named himself on the bench twice in a week to solve a player shortage.

Sittingbourne manager Ryan Maxwell. Picture: Randolph File
Sittingbourne manager Ryan Maxwell. Picture: Randolph File

The Northern Irishman, a midfielder in his playing days, wasn’t needed on either occasion as Bourne followed a 2-0 midweek win at Chichester with a goalless draw at Lancing on Saturday.

But the former Tottenham youth-team player has kept himself in shape should he be required in future Isthmian South East matches.

He played a cameo role in the Brickies’ League Cup tie with Hythe in September but other than that hasn’t played a competitive match for at least a couple of years, and that was at Step 7.

“I’ve just done 40k on the bike to make sure I don’t embarrass myself if I’m needed,” said Maxwell, speaking on Monday morning. “That’s me being totally serious.

“If I’m called upon I have to make sure I’m capable of doing a job that I’d want a player to do.

“Luckily I haven’t been needed but I’m ready if I am.

“I last played for a Step 7 team called Dunmow Town a couple of years ago.

“That would probably be my last competitive match playing for points but I have played numerous games in between - friendlies and that.

“I train every single day - it’s a big part of my life - but training and playing are completely different.

“I join in with every session with the boys to try and stay fit and sharp.

“I brought myself on in a friendly against Holmesdale and against Hythe in the cup, so I have been around it.

“If we run, I run with them. They just better make sure I don’t beat anybody because if I do, they’ll be fined.

“I’m keeping ready, I’m not just doing it for show. I wouldn’t put myself on the bench if I didn’t need to.

“It’s certainly not through ego, that’s for sure, I’d rather not put myself on the bench.

“The big 4-0 has crept up on me but I feel pretty good.”

Sittingbourne played the last 20 minutes at Lancing a man down after defender Chris Arthur was sent off.

Maxwell felt the reaction of the home player influenced the referee - a part of the game he has no time for.

“I made that tackle every single week when I played but the game has changed so much that you can’t have any physical force, it seems,” said Maxwell.

“Chris has got the full ball and there’s a little bit of connection on the way through that the player has made the most of.

“He was fine afterwards, I must say, but you’d have thought he’d been shot.

“Unfortunately, the referee has bought into it all and sent Chris off, unfairly, in my eyes.

“The reaction of the player doesn’t help.

“From Lancing’s point of they’ll be pleased with his reaction but it’s the unnecessary theatrics of it all.

“I’m certainly not a manager who promotes that.

“I understand it’s a huge part of the game, and it gave them an extra man and meant we had to change our approach, but I don’t like to see players rolling around to get people sent off.

“If a tackle’s that bad they should be sent off anyway, I don’t think they need an Academy Award to get the red card out.

“Referees are human beings and they can be sucked into what they see and hear and not focus on the actual tackle itself.

“They get sucked into everything else around it and there are teams who play on that but I don’t want us to be a team who have to con the referee into making decisions he maybe wouldn’t have made if you’d left him alone.”

Sittingbourne’s 11-match unbeaten run ended on Tuesday night when they conceded an injury-time winner in a 1-0 defeat by 10-man Hythe.

The third-placed Brickies host struggling Phoenix Sports at Woodstock this Saturday (3pm).

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