Darren Spong confirmed as Tavistock’s new assistant manager Changes have been made to the management structure

December 23, 2022 News

TAVISTOCK AFC have confirmed changes to their coaching set-up ahead of our festive fixture at Willand Rovers on Christmas Eve.

Manager Stuart Henderson had been working with former Tottenham Hotspur and England Under-21 international Calum Davenport as his assistant manager and Darren Spong as his first team coach. But with Davenport taking a back step due to other commitments, Spong has stepped up to be Henderson’s number two at Langsford Park.

“Darren has had a good impact since he’s been at the club and I have built a good relationship with him on and off the pitch,” Henderson said. “He’s probably struggled in terms of being there for every game because of things he’s had to sort out since moving back here from America, but that’s now done.

“The information he gives the lads is good, he’s popular with the boys and it seems a logical step to support me. We are now looking to bring in a third person, but Darren does a lot of the sessions at the moment and will continue to do that, but obviously there’s an opportunity for a coach to come in and I can lean on Darren more with the management side of it.

“Calum is still involved in the background, but he has other commitments and can’t be there on a regular basis. I’ll be honest, I miss having that support whether it was with Ken (Ord) or Calum, just to run ideas off.

“Sometimes, you want your opinion or ideas validated or challenged. It’s healthy to be challenged and there have been times where Darren hasn’t been there and I am on my own. Although I back myself, I’m pleased that we have managed to appoint Darren, he’s a good guy and he’s done well in the short space of time he’s been with us.”

Henderson will openly admit that having someone with such tactical nous has benefited him. Spong has a number of coaching badges and experience from his time spent in the United States, even if his qualifications are not recognised by the Football Association.

Up until the summer, Henderson had his trusty lieutenant Ken Ord with him in the dug-out, but the charismatic Scot decided to call it a day to spend more time travelling with his family. However, he remains a regular face at Langsford Park.

“We will always miss someone like Ken and I was disappointed when he said he wanted to leave the club, but he had his reasons for doing so,” Henderson said.

“Darren is more from a coaching background whereas Ken was a huge personality and I have always said that if Ken wanted to come back in any capacity, the door is always open and that will always remain the case because, a lot of the time, it is just me and Niamh (Curtin) the physio and sometimes Darren. There will always be a place for Ken at Tavistock.”

Henderson takes his players to Willand Rovers on Christmas Eve, a match that has been brought forward from the traditional Boxing Day date at the request of the mid-Devon outfit.

“It’ll be interesting, this is the first time I have ever been involved in a game on Christmas Eve and I don’t know if many of our players have, so it will be a different experience for us all, Henderson added.

“I can totally see why they’ve done it and the logic in doing it, because you have Tiverton and Exeter City that are playing on Boxing Day, which would affect the crowd, so I am hoping it works for Willand and everyone there, really. Let’s hope for a big crowd and a good spectacle and it’s something that might be done again in the future for Christmases going forward.

“If I am honest, I am a bit of a traditionalist and I really do like Boxing Day football – and sport in general – but it will mean the lads can have a few drinks and enjoy Christmas Day with their families without having to worry too much about playing a game on Boxing Day.”