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Bromley boss Woodman intent on kicking on after National League play-off heartbreak and backs Charlton loanee for ‘great career’


Bromley boss Andy Woodman says that Charlton loanee Deji Elerewe had shown “all the signs” he has wanted to see since the defender scored an own goal and received a red card in the National League play-off semi-final defeat to Chesterfield.

The Addicks academy graduate joined Bromley in March on loan until the end of the season, making 12 appearances and helping the club secure a spot in the play-offs.

Centre-back Elerewe scored the winner against Woking in the elimination round, setting up the semi-final tie at Chesterfield.

But the 19-year-old scored an own goal and was issued a straight red for a foul on Liam Mandeville in the 75th minute, with the hosts winning the tie in extra time to knock Bromley out of the play-offs.

“I have spoken with Deji a couple of times since,” former Crystal Palace and Newcastle goalkeeper coach Woodman told the South London Press. “Deji has shown all the signs that I have wanted him to show – he is resilient, moved on quickly, and he will learn from it – similar to all the young boys.

“Mitchel Bergkamp will look back at the game and think: ‘Maybe I should have done something different’.

“It’s all part of the journey and the progression. We have to accept they will make mistakes, you just hope it’s not at a critical time.

“It’s part of making them the players that they will end up being. Deji will be fine – he’s a great lad. I reminded him that we wouldn’t have gotten to that game if it wasn’t for him.

“He will have a great career. I was more impressed with his maturity around the group. When someone comes into the group – especially one like ours, which is a strong group of players – you hope they bond and take to that person.

Bromley’s Ayodeji Elerewe is shown a red card during the Vanarama National League play-off semi-final match at Technique Stadium, Chesterfield. 

“Deji was one of the main men – the lads loved him. That was a really nice sign for me. He’s a lovely young man from a lovely family – he’s a great professional. I was very impressed with him in every aspect – one as a human being and the other as a footballer.”

Bromley have continued their progression under Woodman, who picked up the club’s first major piece of silverware last season when they won the FA Trophy at Wembley.

This time around was a record-breaking season for the Ravens in terms of coming within touching distance of a shot at the Football League.

“I’m very proud of what I have achieved at the club in the short space of time that I have been there,” said Woodman, who reached 100 games in charge of Bromley in April.

“In two-and-a-half years, it’s been two play-offs and an FA Trophy in the cabinet.

“This one was just one game too far. But I’m very proud of how far I have come as a manager and how far the club has come.

“There were question marks when I got appointed and there have been question marks throughout my tenure.

“But to be the most successful manager in Bromley’s history and achieve what I have so far would hopefully have answered some of those doubts in people’s minds.

“For us to get through the first stage of the play-offs and only just get beaten by Chesterfield, it’s an amazing achievement.

“I just went into my office and wiped off all the notes from the last game – it was a painful reminder.

“We have to move on quickly in football. You win or lose – it’s the business we’re in. If anything, I have learned certain things from that game which will only make me better going forward.

“We have still got to keep pushing the club forward.”

Picture : Keith Gillard

The Ravens recruited shrewdly throughout the course of the season, landing the likes of Besart Topalloj from Millwall permanently, Ryan Stirk from Birmingham on loan and picking up goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook on a free transfer.

“It’s a bit of my armoury which other clubs didn’t realise I had,” explained Woodman.

“I worked at a good level for many years, and I can pull on these favours from people.

“It’s going to be important for us going forward – getting the loans right. I don’t think we have got too many loans wrong at our club.

“We had players come in at the right time this season to bolster the group. We will be doing the same next season – it’s how we operate. We have to have loans because the financial restraints and budget I work under does not give me the ability to sign whoever I want.

“We will be tapping into the loan market again next year. Hopefully we can bring the right quality, as we have previously, and two, help that player on the journey of their career.”

Midfielder Jude Arthurs, star forward Michael Cheek and experienced defender Byron Webster have all signed new deals throughout the season to commit their Bromley futures into next year.

“I always felt that it was important,” said Woodman of having foundations in place already heading into the summer.

“When I first came in, this club was dealing year to year. You would get a team, you would get to the end of the season, and then you would be scrambling around to keep that team.

“If we’re going to put some foundations down, we have to make sure these boys are on longer contracts and feel a part of something. It allows me to build something on top of their foundations.

“We have the core of the team tied down for next year. We have just got to add some bits around the outside. Hopefully, we will be able to compete at the top end of the table again.

“We have to get the key positions signed, whether it be loans or permanent deals. Then make sure the team is competitive and challenging.”

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