Further to my posts on UK Football Finder, I spoke with their Chairman Adam Parry recently about the club in order to find out more about it and the challenges facing the club as well as their plans for the future:
AK: UK Football Finder FC is not a club which many people would have heard of, yet among other clubs it is quite unique. Can you tell me more about how the club operates?
AP: Certainly - the club was founded in Summer 2012 by Darren Irving of UK Football Finder and on our staff we are lucky to have the services of some fantastic coaches in Ewemade Orbator, Dennis Booth (former Carlisle United and Watford Assistant Manager), Kyrie Donnelly, Theo Scott, Joel Samuel and Carl Samuel.
We currently run three squads - an Elite Squad, a 1st Team playing in the Surrey SE Combination and a Reserve Team playing in the Surrey Juniors. Our Elite Squad is the one which you saw at Leatherhead FC recently..
AK: Yes, and I must say I was very impressed. I gather that you are growing a relationship with 'The Tanners?'
AP: That's right. Leatherhead were one of the very first clubs to take us seriously and we've developed a good relationship thus far. We have sent a number of players to either train with them or play for their Reserve team with the view to them hopefully playing for their first team. It benefits Leatherhead and it benefits us, because we know that we can move quality players on and that the 'conveyor belt' doesn't get clogged up; we are always recruiting new players and so we will need to move players on.
AK: You spoke about the club being 'taken seriously' - has this been a problem?
AP: In some cases yes, in others no. We had been looking for a 'gateway' club for a while, but a chance email by a friend to Leatherhead's management mentioned us and we managed to get a friendly sorted between Leatherhead's Reserves and our Elite Squad which we won 4-2. That victory made people take note of us and realise that we're not some ten bob outfit and that we do have a lot of good players playing for us who would complement most teams at between Steps 1 and 6 of the game.
Where it's not been a problem is that UK Football Finder has been around, as an organisation, for five years and is tried, trusted and respected. Players have used the site to find new clubs since the 2007/08 season, and over 250,000 players have found a new club by using the service. That, for me, speaks volumes. The only other problems we get is when people look at our name and go 'eh, who are you?', which in a way you'd expect but it's not a major cause for concern, and when players looking for a club fail to acknowledge us when we try to help them. I hate to say it, but when you need something you cannot be choosy - you wouldn't see a homeless man, for example, refuse a bag of chips because there wasn't enough salt and vinegar on them. Therefore if somebody is trying to help you get a club, you should at least have the respect to acknowledge that and reply to phone calls and emails when an opportunity presents itself. It's harder for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than an unknown get into a football club - isn't that what the Bible says?
AK: So which players have stood out for you so far?
AP: Most of them! No kidding there. John Kamara is a player who springs to mind as he has been looked at by Brighton and Cardiff City - God only knows why he is not at a league club at the moment. Joseph Kamara too is a fantastic defender and was unlucky not to have been given a pro deal by Crystal Palace. One player I have to mention is Aaron Bufton - an amazing 'keeper who would be a 1st choice at most Step 1-4 clubs, he has been unlucky to have been overlooked but isn't grumpy about it and he is studying hard at Brunel University. I did hear that Woking were looking at him in the Leatherhead game, but I haven't heard anything back definite from them.
Anil Bugday is a great striker, and with a bit of work he could be a Football League standard player. He is an all-action striker and I have heard that Woking and Dartford have been looking at him but again nothing definite. Jerome Kaganwa too is an amazing prospect, having joined us from LOSC Lille. He is a 22 year old full-back and easily a Football League player as is Bradley Diallo who played 15 times for Oldham Athletic last season.
Away from the EDS, Josemar Gomes and Ass-Malik Niane Deng are phenomenal strikers; Ass-Malik reminds me of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink when he was playing for Leeds United and Chelsea and Josemar's goal-scoring record is 1 in 1.5. Together with his friend Joel Ramos they would scare the hell out of most defences in Steps 1 to 4 of non-league. Ben Jackson and El-Hadji Drame (both wingers) would also easily complement most Step 4 sides and upwards, and our youngest player Alex Lever (16, midfielder) would fit in at Step 4-6 sides quite comfortably.
AK: Is it hard for these players to get taken seriously?
AP: It is, unfortunately, but it's part of life. Most managers and chairmen have been quite 'cold' towards us, or they aren't interested in talking with us which is a shame because they are missing out on some very good players. We have been extremely fortunate with Leatherhead though, and as they will testify we aren't full of the smelly brown stuff! However, when clubs do put faith in us they are rewarded with good honest players - Amin Ibrahim to Hitchin Town, Ishmael Camara to West Ham United and now Richard Brindley to Hull City on trial.
AK: What plans do you have for the future, taking the club forward?
AP: Well, our manager recently put together a dossier with my permission and instruction, and our main objective this season is to get players in, train them and then move them on. At the same time, we must have three efficient sides running and also 'replenish stock'. The trouble is that some of 'the stock' either won't be very good or will not turn up or just generally be snotty about playing for us - and that is no good to man nor beast.
Ultimately, we want to move the EDS team to compete regularly at Step 6 or Step 7, and we are working hard on this to make this a reality as soon as possible.
AK: That sounds great, so you are evidently a club going places. One final thought on where you'd like the club to be five years from now?
AP: Easy - winning the FA Cup and FA Vase at Wembley and sticking two fingers up to our detractors and people who think we're a joke side. We've already beaten a decent Leatherhead side and are doing well in our domestic leagues, so that should be proof that we mean business.
A lot of changes may, of course, happen between now and then - nobody knows what's going to happen tomorrow, for instance. However, I am confident that very soon we will become a house-hold name just as Yeovil Town became one all those years ago when they were causing shocks in the FA Cup. We have something very special at UK Football Finder FC and we want the world to know about us - we're half-way to making sure that becomes a reality.
AK: Adam, Mr. Chairman, thanks very much for your time.
EDIT: This recent Pitchero article should hopefully be of interest: http://nonleague.pit...g-a-mark-17001/
It explains in more detail who UK Football Finder FC are and their coaches/players etc.