Newham looking forward to Sporting battle after nearly pulling out of league

PUBLISHED: 14:00 12 August 2015

The Essex Olympian League campaign is underway

The Essex Olympian League campaign is underway


Joint manager Shamrez Darr reveals how close the Terence McMillan club were to dropping out of the division

Newham are preparing to play their opening Essex Senior League match of the season tonight (Wednesday), but joint manager Shamrez Darr has revealed they nearly dropped out of the division this year.

After struggling last season with their Terence McMillan Stadium unavailable during the whole campaign, Newham were forced to travel all over to play their league fixtures.

Former manager Zakir Hussain stepped down at the conclusion of the 2014/15 campaign and has been replaced by Darr and the experienced Kevin Lucas.

Although Newham were not in action on Saturday, they play their opening game against their east London rivals Sporting Bengal United at Tilbury’s Chadfield Stadium, their home for the foreseeable future this season.

Darr said: “After the previous campaign, it was expected that Newham would drop down to the Essex Olympian League.

“But a lot of people and the chairman have worked hard behind the scenes to get us a ground at Tilbury and we are looking forward to starting the new season now.

“It is a nice game to kick-off with against Sporting Bengal, our east London rivals. League form and everything else goes out of the window anyway, so I’m pleased to start with that fixture.”

After hosting Bengal tonight, Newham will prepare to take on Greenhouse Sports at Coles Park on Saturday.

But Darr and Lucas are keen to take it one game at a time and after a hectic summer are hoping to start their league campaign with a win.

Darr added: “The Sporting Bengal game is a big one and I remember when we played them last season, we were flying in the league and they were bottom. But in those games they didn’t play like a team near the bottom.

“At the moment we want to take it one game at a time, hopefully we can win against Sporting Bengal and then take that into Saturday’s match.

“It seemed like we wouldn’t have a team at one point in the summer, but I got the job a week before pre-season and things have gone really well, so I just hope we can start the campaign with a win now.”

Darr played and assisted Hussain at Newham last year and has relished the step up to a joint manager role.

He was extremely grateful those in charge at the club appointed him and is keen to improve the work Hussain did previously.

And with Lucas alongside him, Darr is confident the future is positive for Newham.

“I was player-assistant last season and the opportunity came about after Zakir decided to step down,” he added.

“I applied for the job along with a few other candidates and I’m thankful to the chairman and the committee for giving me this chance.

“Kevin is alongside me and I have played under him before at various clubs. I’ve known him for a number of years.

“I said when I was appointed I wanted somebody with experience alongside me and he brings a wealth of that. He has won the Essex Senior League before and lost it on goal difference so he brings so much to the club and I can’t wait for our league campaign to start.”

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