Feniton ladies have a new manager with Mark Ebdon taking on the role

PUBLISHED: 10:32 10 June 2020 | UPDATED: 18:18 10 June 2020


There’s a new man at the helm of the Feniton ladies team.

Honiton 2nds at home to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 40-16TI 9156. Picture: Terry IfeHoniton 2nds at home to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 40-16TI 9156. Picture: Terry Ife

Mike Court has stepped down after a long and very successful period in the hot seat and has handed over the reins to Mark Ebdon.

The new man explained how the ‘change’ came about, saying: “I have been coaching Feniton ladies under the management of Mike [Court] for the last two years now.

My involvement came about after I was approached by Mike to get involved with a view to ultimately stepping up into the top job when Mike decided to stand down.

“Over the past two years the pair of us have worked together to build a side, adding quality when required, to give the team the best possible chance of achieving and enjoying success.”

He continued: “Although Mike has stepped aside, he is going to remain very much involved with the club and he is in fact now our newly appointed Feniton ladies secretary!

“Its certainly great news he is sticking around as he has a wealth of knowledge born out of over 20 years experience and that’s invaluable and something we need to enable us to continue on an upward path.

“I would like to thank Mike and Susan personally, for all their efforts over the past 20 years and indeed for the support and help I know they will be offering as we continue our journey as a ladies football team.”

While Mark [Ebdon] will continue to be the head coach, he does now have an assistant with Feniton player Nat Matthews appointed to the role of ‘lead coach.

Mike says: “Nat, as a player, is an integral part of the ladies team and she will work closely with all the players and yours truly to raise the bar and get the team ready for the new season.”

We asked the new man how he felt about stepping into the formidable shoes of predecessor Mike Court and he replied: “Mike stepping down as manager has left some big shoes to fill, but having worked alongside his for the past two years I am confident I can get the very best from the ladies.

“This is the first managerial role I’ve had so there’s a lot to learn still, but with the assistance of Nat [lead coach Nat Matthews] and the commitment of the squad I know we can push Feniton to new heights. I’m very excited to see what comes of the upcoming season.”

Does the new man envisage any change of style in terms of the team play? He replies: “No, it will very much be a case of ‘business as usual’.

“In my role of lead coach over the past two years the ladies have settled well with my styles of play, changes in formations and have shown fantastic durability to adapt to all scenarios. We will be looking to continue with the style of football with a few added technical tweaks here and there.”

To the question of: “When might we see a return to what we know as ‘normal football life’, Mark responds with: “These really are uncertain times and I don’t doubt that this current situation is going to be with us for some time. It’s important that we take each day as it comes while also being mindful of the need for us to continue to prepare for the new season. I have been delighted to hear from the players that they have been maintaining good personal levels of fitness for that means that, when we do get the green light to get back into some form of collective action, we will be able to hit the ground running!”

On the matter of player retention for next season, Mark says: “Having spoken to the squad, I’ve had no indications that we’ll have any players decide to go elsewhere. We had a few dual signers last year, but I’m unsure to date what their thoughts are.

“No manager is ever 100 per cent happy and they are - as I am - always looking to strengthen the side. I’m looking to gain strength in depth, but with a squad of 20 and some very capable footballers, the standard I’m looking for would need to match that of what we’ve already got. New players are welcome to train with us and see what we’re all about.”

When does the new Feniton ladies boss expect he will be able to get his complete squad together again? He replies saying: “Obviously we are now having to abide by all the lockdown rules which, even as they are relaxed, will continue, for then foreseeable, to mean we cannot ‘get back to normal’. We are going to set up some ‘small group’ sessions which of course is one of the latest restrictions being eased. Working in groups of six is better than nothing and Nat [Matthews] is also in the process of creating some football fitness sessions for the ladies via Zoom in preparation for pre-season to start.”

Mark then turned his attention to that ‘all-important’ matter of sponsorships and business support when he said: “I’d like to thank Luke Hardware of Progressive Systems for his continued sponsorship and support. He’s yet again agreed to be our main sponsor and has kindly agreed to the purchase of our new home strip. The support of folk like Luke really is a lifeblood to clubs like ours and I am so grateful to him for his continuing support.”

On the subject of sponsorship and business support, there are a number of projects that Feniton ladies would like some help with. Training tops and tracksuit sponsorships are needed and there are also opportunities to have a board on the Acland Park pitch that is home to the ladies. All sponsors are also given great social media exposure via the Feniton Football Club Facebook page and the club’s own website, www.fenitonfc.co.uk

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Midweek Herald. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Midweek Herald