Non-League FootballSport

Welling United boss Rod Stringer on last season, committing his future, David Kamara and the foundations for next season

Rod Stringer believes he and assistant Kevin Watson are building good foundations at Welling United as they gear up for their first full season in charge.

The ex-Braintree boss has signed up for the 2024-25 season after guiding the Wings away from the relegation zone by some distance after arriving at Park View Road with demotion to the Isthmian Premier Division looking a certainty.

Stringer suffered just two defeats in 18 National League South outings after taking over from Danny Bloor and took Welling from seven points adrift to eight points clear of the bottom four by the time the final ball was kicked at the end of the campaign.

“When we went into the club, it was very difficult,” Stringer admitted to the South London Press.

“There was lots going on, off the pitch and on it. We had to overlook that and concentrate on trying to keep us up.

“We didn’t have time to understand what had been going on with the club. The way that we felt we could take the club forward was just by concentrating on the football.

“We went in the Monday and had Hampton & Richmond on the Tuesday – we had no time to prepare.

“Every point was so important to the club. They were in the play-offs and we were fortunate enough to pick up three points there, and we continued that journey.”

Stringer’s side beat promotion-chasing Worthing and eventual league winners Yeovil on their run towards securing safety.

“As the games were going on, we were gaining more belief,” added Stringer.

“Results were going for us and teams, who you wouldn’t have expected, were getting sucked in.

“We knew that if we kept picking up points, it would give us every chance.

“It looked like it was doable eventually. The more we found it was doable, the boys were thriving.

“It was virtually impossible at one stage, but we gave ourselves every chance with our form.

“I did quote when I arrived that, if we would stay up, it would be as good as winning any league. 

“Relegation is a terrible thing and can put a club in a bad place for quite a few years. The league below is a very tough league with a lot of money and good players.

“We knew going down would have been a disaster for the club in many ways.

“Staying up and to still be in step two has given us a great base to try and build on now – that’s what we would look to do.”

Sonny Fish joined on loan from Crawley and netted six goals in 10 games under Stringer.

Midfielder Jason Adigun, who joined from South Londoners Charlton, and Riccardo Di Trolio from Coventry, both signed on a short stint and made an important impact in the climb towards securing Welling’s National League South status.

“We were fortunate enough that we got some really good loans,” he added.

“They were all a major part in us turning the corner. 

“I don’t want to start next season off with loans. There are plenty of players out there who we should be able to recruit within the budget.

“The loans, with where we were at the time, with so many players out through injury, we had our hands tied behind our backs.

“The loans were fantastic at that stage but it’s not something I want to build a team on. They’re there for a reason. If we want to go into the loan market, fortunately, we have plenty of contacts.

“We have given ourselves a good reputation out there now. Every club we had a loan from was very impressed with the way we worked.”

David Kamara made his first team debut for Welling under Bloor and also scored his first goal for the club in the 2-1 win over Hemel Hempstead in late January.


The 17-year-old striker has been out of the squad in the second half of the season, with Peterborough United director of football Barry Fry confirming to the Peterborough Telegraph that Kamara will become their first signing of the summer window.

Stringer said: “Unfortunately, our youth system was taken away from us when we got to the club by the previous regime.

“They only work under our banner – it’s a separate eternity under Welling United.

“When we arrived, that was another issue we had to face. We had no depth at all to use the likes of David Kamara.

“I’ve heard he’s at Peterborough on trial. I think he went to Gillingham as well – he’s obviously a decent player.

“We never had the chance to work with him because that was taken away from us.

“I believe the club are looking to start their own academy. It would be great, because every club has to have a pathway.”

The Wings will be coming up against the likes of Dorking Wanderers, Boreham Wood, Torquay United and Hornchurch as they look to win promotion back to the National League for the first time since the 2015-16 season.

“We haven’t got the budgets of old,” said Stringer.

“Welling has been known to throw around a lot of money in the past few years.

“I think Howard [Prosser, chairman] has realised that doesn’t work. We have a sensible budget to work with.

“We’re going into the new season with a sensible outlook, knowing that if we can get ourselves halfway up the table or around the play-off areas, we would deem that as a really good season.”


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