Home   Thanet   Sport   Article

Ramsgate manager Ben Smith speaks about the challenge ahead after Isthmian South East play-off disappointment

Ben Smith is using Ramsgate’s Isthmian South East play-off disappointment as motivation to go one better next season.

Smith has spent hours reflecting on Rams’ shock 1-0 semi-final defeat by Chichester a fortnight ago.

Ramsgate manager Ben Smith. Picture: Randolph File
Ramsgate manager Ben Smith. Picture: Randolph File

Emotions were running high after the game, with the manager accusing his players of bottling the tie.

But he’s done with trying to work out how a team who scored 106 league goals and finished runners-up with 89 points couldn’t find the net during a match they dominated.

It’s about turning that disappointment into fuel for next season’s promotion push after Rams moved quickly to confirm the former Herne Bay boss would remain in charge.

Key midfielder TJ Jadama has followed record goalscorer Joe Taylor in signing a new deal at Southwood.

Jack Paxman, the ex-Maidstone and Ebbsfleet midfielder, Tom Hadler and Benny Bioletti were already contracted for 2024/25.

Smith said: “We’ve got some business done quickly and there’s other players we’re talking to as well.

“It’s not a case of Joe Taylor and TJ are the ones we want to talk to and screw everyone else.

“That’s not the case at all but they are big players for us and everyone recognises that.

“We’ve got a core group, hopefully we’ll have a couple more re-signed and then it’s a case of what can we add around that?

“We haven’t fallen far short this season but we didn’t achieve what we wanted to, so it’s about how can we come back better?

“We have that badge of honour of having a very good season but zero to show for it.

“We have to move on and that’s what we’re doing.

“We’re thinking of ways we can reinvent ourselves in some aspects while keeping the things we’ve done well.

“We’ve got to go into next season thinking we have to get 100 points.

“We have to use what’s happened as motivation.

“We’re going to be working very hard to get ourselves in a position where we’re as strong as possible.

“I’ve said before this is the biggest club at the level and I stand by that.

“We’re hated for it but it’s a fact.

“It’s down to us to do the business because talk is cheap.

“The season in my eyes is a failure.

“A lot of others would see it as a good season but it’s hard for me to look at that and say it’s a great success.

TJ Jadama has signed a new deal at Ramsgate. Picture: Stuart Watson
TJ Jadama has signed a new deal at Ramsgate. Picture: Stuart Watson

“All I’m thinking about now is moving forward and doing it all over again.

“The mental challenge is to pick ourselves up, because we’ve been on the floor, but we’re more than capable of doing that.”

Smith came out swinging after Ramsgate lost to Chichester in the play-offs.

Numerous chances went begging before an 87th-minute sucker-punch ended their promotion hopes.

His post-match comments attracted some stick but there were no issues among the squad.

“What I said after the game is nothing I didn’t say to the players although, on reflection, it was very much heat of the moment,” said Smith.

“Ninety-nine times out of 100 we win that game but for whatever reason it wasn’t one of those days.

“I’ve spent hours and hours trying to work out why we didn’t score.

“I was gutted for the players and I was desperate for them to be successful because they deserve to be successful.

“Sometimes the truth hurts and I was hurting after the game.

“I wanted the players to hurt and to feel what they did wasn’t good enough.

“We must have been heavy odds-on to win that game, both before it and with the way the game panned out, but sometimes it doesn’t work out like that.

“It’s not in my nature to blame players.

“I’ve received a bit of stick over it but there’s been times where I’ve said it’s absolutely my fault.

“I’ve always had the players’ backs, so why can’t I come out and say I wasn’t happy?

“Those are the games where you have to step up.

“Whether we were unlucky or not, you have to force the issue and we couldn’t do it.

“I was frustrated and disappointed but I’m not frustrated and disappointed any more.

“It’s more using that for motivation and looking forward to next season and I’m sure the players feel the same.”

Get your team in the limelight! We want your team pictures for our Euros supplement next month - find out how to get involved here

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More