Bartlett Celebrates 1000th game
Wealdstone FC Manager Gordon Bartlett, who is celebrating his testimonial year with the club this season, after a truly remarkable 14 years in the hot seat, is about to reach another major milestone – 1,000 games in charge.
Recent bad weather postponements have delayed progress toward the 1,000th game but the club will be marking the event with a special presentation at their newly named St George’s Stadium at The Vale on Saturday 6th February 2010, when Waltham Abbey FC are the visitors.
Wealdstone Chairman, Howard Krais said, “1,000 games as a manager is a phenomenal achievement in the modern game; and the Club are very fortunate to have enjoyed Gordon’s services for this long. I think that most people who know Gordon would agree that not only does he know the game inside out and is he one of the best coaches around but he is also someone whose values and principles mean he is one of the most respected men in non league football, and beyond.”
Gordon’s 1,000 games have encompassed turbulent times at Wealdstone given the club’s regular struggles on and off the field. Having no permanent home ground for the first 13 years of Gordon’s tenure and having to cope with very restrictive and uncompetitive playing budgets have meant that avoiding relegation has been judged as much a success as other Clubs would describe a promotion.
Gordon’s Assistant Manager, Leo Morris will also shortly be celebrating the same rare milestone. The Club have granted Leo a testimonial for next season (2010/11).
Gordon began his reign at Wealdstone in the summer of 1995 when the Stones were about to begin a new life in the lowest division of the Isthmian League, having just transferred across from the Southern League. Although success quickly followed with three promotions in the first four seasons, this momentum was stalled when the Stones were controversially denied promotion into the Ryman Premier Division in 1999.
The move to play at Grosvenor Vale, Ruislip, at last in a ground of their own in 2008, reinvigorated the Club and Gordon has once again produced a young and talented team who have a chance of achieving real success. Having already reached the First Round Proper of the FA Cup for the first time in 23 years, when the Stones gallantly lost against Rotherham United of League Two, the team are in a great position to push for a promotion play-off place.
Gordon Bartlett said: “Who would have thought Leo and I would have reached 1000 games when we joined back in the summer of 1995.
We joined the club while they were in administration, with no home, in Division 3 of the Ryman League and only three of the previous years players had turned up for pre-season training.
We actually wondered what the hell we had done, but we undertook the challenge and have enjoyed a roller coaster ride ever since. Well, most of it! It hasn’t been plain sailing by any means, but as we approach this milestone, we can look back with a lot of pride on what we have achieved, especially when you consider some of the major setbacks along the way. We are now in the Ryman Premier, with our own ground, a wonderful youth set up, a growing reputation for producing young talent and a genuine ‘feel good factor’ around the place. It has been achieved through hard work, patience and the support of numerous people who have backed our judgement, even through difficult times. Our thanks go to everyone who has helped us over the years and we look forward to an even more successful future. Depending on that outcome, it will probably determine how many games we eventually achieve together”
The many well known players Gordon has had during his time at Wealdstone include Jermaine Beckford, currently top scorer at Leeds United, Marvin Morgan (Aldershot), Graeme Montgomery (Dagenham & Redbridge) and Carl Martin (Crewe Alexandra) who have all moved into the pro ranks.