“Some of the players look like different men to when I first started! It’s surprising how much psychology has to do with football at this level.” – A Q&A with Gareth Evans, Kidwelly Town Reserves Manager.

After fourteen years a senior player in the Carmarthenshire leagues, Kidwelly Town centre half Gareth Evans decided to look for something else from the game, a new challenge- but remain at the club that has been close to his heart. 
The vacancy arose at the west Carmarthenshire club following a run of poor results for the reserves, with Evans grasping the opportunity to give back to the club that has given him 25 years of playing, from junior through to still leading from the back now. He has instilled the same passion he has for his club upon his players, and they’re currently relishing the challenge set to them.

Last Saturday, they recorded their first win of the season, a 5-1 away victory at Llangenech in division 4 – and as such, climbed off the foot of the table.

YPCD decided to chat to Gareth, to get some insight into what has been a tremendous turnaround…

 It’s been coming, how does it feel to get off the bottom?
As a new coach I wasn’t sure how well I would adapt from playing to being “the coach” so on a personal note I am over the moon with our first win. On a collective note I am chuffed for the boys as I know how hard all of them have worked in training. After a disappointing start to the season with some big losses it feels outstanding to finally get off the bottom and reap some rewards after all the hard work. It’s surprising how one win can change a mentality of the team completely.

 It must be difficult to motivate players after all the near misses, what was key?
The motivation aspect of coaching is something I enjoy and find natural. I remember the good and bad experiences I had as a player and recall how I reacted to different managers and managing methods and basically try and cherry pick what worked with me. I admire hard working players and I don’t want any of my players feeling too scared to try anything. It has been a tough start to the season and when I was appointed I wanted to change the lads mindset and instil a positive feeling into the squad. The score lines gradually became closer and now our first win of the season has been amazing. Some of the players look like different men to when I first started! It’s surprising how much psychology has to do with football at this level.

What was the difference last weekend?
Last weekend we had a few boys back in and the entire day had a good buzz about it. I knew there was a lot riding on this fixture and all week to diffuse any pressure I promised the lads a pint each on me if we won. The what’s app group was on fire all week. As an amateur reserve team our available players fluctuate with lads working shifts etc but on Saturday about 8-9 of the starting 11 were regularly training every week.

It made a massive difference. We had a great start and went 3-1 up at half time. We had a big chat at the break and I warned my players of complacency as this was unchartered territory for us this season. The boys all responded well winning 5-1. A hat-trick for Chris Paul and a brace for David Thomas our two strikers. Just what the doctor ordered for the team but a heavy dent in my bank balance after all the beer.

Where can you go from here?

My main objective is to get these lads to gel not just as players but as friends. I’m hoping all of them at some point will progress to experience first team football and I’m hoping I can help them. We have some really talented lads at the moment and some are on the brink of first team football. I regularly keep my mate the 1st team Gaffa, Gwynfor Edwards updated 👍 Now we’re off the bottom the objective for the team this year is to stay off the bottom and climb as high as we can. Realistically as it’s our first year I’d be really happy to achieve a mid table finish but next year my objective will be far more outlandish 😂 (possibly not correct word). As a club things are looking bright for Kidwelly town AFC on and off the pitch. There is a buzz about the club. Gwynfor has got the 1st team to gel and adopt his own style of football and we are trying to emulate this positive ethos in the reserves! Up the town!!!

To keep up to date with Kidwelly Town AFC- the twitter handle is @Kidtownafc

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