Published: 05:00, 26 October 2021
Ryan Palmer is loving life under Jay Saunders at Margate.
Winger Palmer scored the decisive second goal - his first for the club - as Gate beat Brightlingsea 2-1 at home on Saturday.
It’s his debut season in the Isthmian Premier, following spells at the likes of Ashford, Hythe, Canterbury, Chatham and Sittingbourne.
He’s taken to the league nicely, helped by the environment created by Saunders, on and off the pitch.
“It’s going really well,” said Palmer.
“I’ve built a great rapport with the boys and the management is team really good as well.
“Life there is really good. I like the approach the manager takes.
"He’s very serious about what he does, he puts in a lot of effort and detail, which helps with preparation and training.
“I’ve been around the Kent circuit, including a couple of years at Hythe when we went 20-25 games unbeaten, but this is the highest level within those Kent clubs and this is the best set-up in terms of how well-balanced the team is.
“You can’t have too many footballing players because the balance isn’t quite right.
“You need that balance of hard-working players, people who are consistent in their positions, and then the flair players.
"The gaffer allows us to express ourselves. He’s put in place some patterns, so everyone is on the same page, but when you’re up there you’ve got that freedom, you just have to make sure there’s an end product.
“His man-management is very good, he’s very transparent with the players.
“If you’re not having a good game, he won’t sugar-coat it, whether you’re a player with many appearances or a youth player.
“He’ll tell you if you’re going wrong and if it’s worth celebrating an achievement, he’ll do that in front of the group.
“You know where you stand as players and it’s good to have that clear management structure - it avoids confusion.
“I’ve been at clubs where the manager is quiet and doesn’t really say it how it is. Sometimes that leads to players gathering their own thoughts and that can lead to miscommunication.”
It’s been a promising start to the campaign for Margate, who host East Thurrock in a rearranged game tonight with the chance to climb into the top five.
“Jay’s always said it would probably take 10 games to understand where we are," said Palmer.
“We’re well ahead of schedule but, even though we’re doing quite well, I feel we could have done better in certain situations and seen ourselves further up the league."
With the team looking to kick on, the same goes for Palmer after getting off the mark for his new club against Brightlingsea.
He said: “It’s always nice to score a goal. That moment when you strike the ball and it hits the back of the net is a great feeling.
“You want to contribute and that’s what we’re judged on as wingers, whether it’s creating goals or scoring goals.”
This Saturday, Margate are in FA Trophy third qualifying round action at home to Beaconsfield.