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Romeo's Thatcham Town love affair



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Yashwa Romeo will be hoping his first full season in charge of Thatcham Town will be more of a love story than a tragedy.

Romeo replaced Jamie Leacock in March.

He'd been Leacock's assistant and admitted it was a "difficult decision" to take the job, but "one I probably always knew I'd take."

Yashwa Romeo says his players can expect him to be honest, open and direct
Yashwa Romeo says his players can expect him to be honest, open and direct

He said: "Thatcham was one of the clubs that helped me on my football journey and I wanted to give something back."

When Romeo took over, the Kingfishers were just four points above the bottom three - but he guided them to safety and a twelfth placed finish.

It was an "up and down" end to the season that included a 6-2 win over Staines Town and a 5-0 defeat to Chertsey Town.

Yashwa Romeo dishes out instructions in Thatcham's 1-0 home win over Uxbridge
Yashwa Romeo dishes out instructions in Thatcham's 1-0 home win over Uxbridge

Romeo said: "It's not been as easy as I thought. There's more pressure than being a number two or a player. It's all on you."

That's especially true at this level - Romeo can't call on a vast team of scouts and coaches to help him attract players.

Romeo can, however, draw upon a wealth of contacts from his long playing career that included spells at Maidenhead, Marlow, Windsor, Slough and Oxford City.

He said: "Contact wise, I've been in the game a long time, so I do hear things here and there."

Romeo won't limit himself to his previous clubs, though.

He said: "I like to keep an eye on the lower ranks. I like taking that little gamble."

England's lower leagues are renowned for producing exceptional talent - Thatcham count Lawrie Sanchez and Charlie Austin among their former players.

The search for the next Jamie Vardy or Callum Wilson won't be easy, though, and Romeo explains it's especially difficult at this time of year.

"It's tough. The first month, month and a half after the season ends some players want to commit and some want to shop around - some want to switch off from football all together."

Romeo won't pull any punches in the dressing room.

He said: "I'm quite direct and honest as a person - maybe sometimes too honest.

It's about how you treat people. Man management is key. I'll always speak to a player before implementing something, I think that's very important.

I'll always tell my players - whether they like it or not."

Looking ahead to next season, Romeo is targeting a top 10 finish and a potential push for the play-offs.

With the addition of sides like relegated Leatherhead and promoted Hantworth Villa, the Isthmian League South Central Division looks set to be fiercely competitive.

Romeo said: "It's a very, very strong league this year. I don't see any whipping boys."

Can Romeo can lead Thatcham Town to success - that is the question.



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