Non-league football never fails to surprise you. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we all experienced the takeover of Billericay Town by Glenn Tamplin and now here we are again but this time insert Romford FC as the ‘lucky’ benefactors of Tamplin’s wealth.
Very easy to compare Tamplin to Marmite, he’s not everyone’s cup of tea and you can understand why. He’s brash, straight-talking and happy to splash the cash, not afraid to make changes but also not prepared to suffer those who don’t see things his way. Making an entrance is certainly his way of doing things as we saw with Billericay.
Bumper signings of ex Football League players and huge wages paid to those who dropped down the leagues, together with a huge mural painted on the wall of their New Lodge ground and the changing room rendition of ‘The World’s Greatest’ introduced us to the world according to Tamplin. The big story weekly was who was going to the next recruit to join the ‘revolution’ and propel ‘Ricay to the Football League. But while all this was happening on the pitch and blowing everyone else’s budget out of the water, Tamplin spent on the facilities at the same time, something a lot of owners forget when building a side to push up through the leagues.
The stadium at Billericay is now is very good shape, a legacy Tamplin left behind and one that has been promised to be built at Romford. But, what balanced that became known as ‘the circus’, the constant meddling in management and team affairs, then deciding he was better placed to do it all himself, then sack himself, then re-instate himself, all of this taking away from the good side of things people forget about.
It has been said ‘Ricay are as good as debt-free, slowly releasing the big earners to make it a sustainable business once again but with better facilities than they had when Tamplin arrived. In Jamie O’Hara they have a young manager learning the ropes but now able to do it without the pressure cooker environment Tamplin created.
Meanwhile, at Romford, Tamplin again decides management is his game but then when you’re the owner and pumping in your own cash, who can tell you what to do! It didn’t go to plan in his first game with 14 new players signed on before this weekend’s game and 3-2 home defeat in front of a crowd of 524 enjoying free entry courtesy of Tamplin against an average this season of 109.
There weren’t as many surprises in the new players announced as I expected but maybe in time that will follow. Away from the playing side, there is a chance for Tamplin to make Romford history, they currently are without their own ground and share with Brentwood Town. Bottom of the BetVictor Isthmian North Division with just five points, the only way of course is up unless current form continues and the Essex Senior League beckons instead. To build a brand new stadium and return the club to it’s home gives Tamplin the chance to do more than he could with Billericay, but in my opinion that’s where he should concentrate his efforts and leave the team to those who can get it out of trouble and rising up the table.
But we know from experience that’s unlikely to happen, Tamplin may well change but I wouldn’t be lumping my mortgage on it to happen! Whatever happens in Essex it’s a ride to jump on once again, there’s bound to be plenty of thrills and spills, just scream if you wanna go faster………….