Bostik Premier: Keith Rowland likens Wingate & Finchley to his and Alan Devonshire’s Braintree Town team
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
The Wingate & Finchley manager discusses the mindset you need to adopt as a club if finances are limited
Keith Rowland can see some similarities between his current Wingate & Finchley team and the Braintree Town side he was involved with alongside Alan Devonshire.
The 46-year-old has been in charge of the Blues for nearly two-and-a-half years now after being appointed manager of the north London club in January 2016.
Rowland had left the Iron six months earlier after a successful five years at Cressing Road firstly under Rod Stringer and then with Devonshire.
During his first spell at Braintree, he was assistant to Stringer as the Essex club won the then-titled Conference South title during the 2010/11 season.
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Stringer resigned at the end of the campaign and Rowland left too, but a month later he returned as assistant again following the appointment of Devonshire.
The two former West Ham United players led the Iron on a four-year journey in the Conference where they battled against the odds despite limited funds in comparison to other teams in the division.
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Braintree finished 12th (2011/12), ninth (2012/13), sixth (2013/14) and 14th (2014/15) before Devonshire and Rowland left at the end of their fourth season in charge.
Rowland is now forging his own managerial career and working similar wonders at Wingate in the Bostik Premier.
Like Braintree, the Blues have a small budget in comparison to other teams in their league, but the Northerm Irishman insists it doesn’t mean failure is acceptable.
During his three seasons at Wingate, Rowland has helped the club finish 13th, fifth and ninth and he revealed an insight into how a siege mentality can produce success for clubs with limited resources.
He said: “As a manager you always have to believe the team you are putting out is good enough to win otherwise what’s the point?
“I always scratch my head at the Premier League these days where teams pick games to win – that never happened in my day and I still work to that effect now.
“I remember when I was assistant at Braintree and we got into the Conference; our set-up and our budget and everything about the club was set up for us to come down.
“We always travelled on the day and I think we had one overnight stay in four years at Barrow, but we never had the defeatist attitude and it almost drove us on as a group and as a management team.
“As a collective, we would say ‘if we are travelling to Gateshead and leaving at 5.30 in the morning, there is no way we are going up there to be out of the game at half time and three goals down’ and so we tried to stay in the game. It didn’t matter where we went.
“I have tried to install something similar in this group at Wingate and regardless of the budget, if you want to do well, you have to do well.
“If you want to do well as a team you have to play well as a collective and secondly if you want to do well you have to win games and too many players come across as individuals these days.
“For me, that doesn’t work and can only take you so far. You need the help of the players, the players need to buy into what you are doing and that’s how it works.”