Tony Reid - First Team Manager 2016-2020
An appreciation of the Gentleman who contributed so much to Westfield's recent success
Former Walton & Hersham striker Tony Reid joined Westfield in April 2016, after spells at Eastbourne Town as player-coach (and later manager) in 2013, and Walton & Hersham as manager from March 2014. Tony brought his own management team including Louis Calder-Walcot, Lee Morris and later Martyn Lee.
That first game on Good Friday 2016, a 2-0 victory at Epsom & Ewell, proved to be a milestone. From mid-table in March, Tony’s team won 5, drew 5 and lost just 2 to finish 9th in the table. Players who were to be key to Westfield’s future success arrived in that period, Max Blackmore, Aaron Watson, Karle Carder-Andrews and goalkeeper Gary Ross. The backbone of a solid team was already taking shape, with Shaun Elliott, Adam Bellmaine, Dale Burnham and club captain Matt Steer taking the lead.
Season 2016-17 proved to be an exciting adventure as Westfield attempted to chase down run-away league leaders Hartley Wintney, scoring 106 goals (Max Blackmore with 37 league and 8 cup goals) and accumulating 93 points from 44 games, but still ending 18 points short. The League Cup brought further expectation, as Westfield came through 4 rounds to reach the final at Stag Meadow, Windsor in May, where they came out comfortable winners 4-1, their first cup triumph in many years.
The following season saw more of the same, but Hartley were now promoted. 145 goals scored in 42 games and 106 points saw Westfield crowned champions in April 2018. The trophy was presented four games from the end of the season, after the 1-1 draw with nearest challengers Bedfont Sports, leaving behind the Combined Counties League after nearly 40 years of continuous membership, and a first ever rise to Step 4 of the non-league pyramid.
With Max departing to Met Police at the start of the 2018-19 season, others needed to rise to the challenge of a stronger, quicker and more skilful level of play. The spine of the team was still there, and in came a few more key players, Julius Mngadi and Greg Haydon in defence, Arsen Ujkaj, Harry Carter and George Frith in midfield. We didn’t need to doubt Tony’s ability to motivate and produce results. It took several months to find a settled side, but then after Christmas a wonderful run of 13 wins, 4 draws and 4 defeats saw Westfield finish in fifth place, to gain a play-off place and our highest-ever league finish. A close semi-final play-off defeat to Bracknell Town did little to detract from a remarkable achievement.
2019-20 started better than the previous year, steady progress, more consistent performances and not slipping out of the top eight places all season. Max had returned. Some teams took heavy beatings, Ashford 4-0 and 5-0, Chalfont and Ware 4-0, and more remarkably, in the space of four days, 8-0 and 9-1 victories over FC Romania and Hertford. Form slightly dipped after New Year, but Tony’s team were still poised in fifth place, a play-off place again, when the games were suspended.
We will never know how that second attempt at Step 3 might have turned out, but we do know for sure that Tony has given us a memorable few years. His full game statistics are detailed below, and we thank him for his undoubted passion and commitment to Westfield Football Club, and wish him well.
*Tony Reid pictured in April 2018 holding the Combined Counties League Premier Division trophy. Images Copyright Andy Fitzsimons at Woking News & Mail