Bircham relishing the 'learning curve' at Hemel

It was an eventful first season at the helm for Lee Bircham at Hemel Hempstead Town

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 9:24 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 9:26 am
Lee Bircham

Lee Bircham insists he is enjoying the “learning curve” after a strange first season in charge of Hemel Hempstead Town.

A year ago, Bircham was in charge of Berkhamsted and had them sitting at the top of the Southern League Division One Central when the 2019/20 season was halted and subsequently declared null and void after the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

He was later appointed as the new boss of the Tudors along with his assistant Steve Bateman.

What followed was a season that will go down in history, although not necessarily for the right reasons as the Vanarama National League South campaign also ended prematurely due to ongoing pandemic and the financial problems facing some clubs as a result.

After a tough start, Bircham put together a more settled squad at Vauxhall Road and had them sitting in 10th place when the season came to a head.

Hemel were one of a number of clubs who were hopeful that the season could resume with some sort of supplementary competition, an idea which was rejected by the Football Association.

It means clubs can now only look towards what everyone hopes will be a full and normal season, which has now been confirmed to be starting on Saturday, August 14.

But Bircham insists Hemel will continue to offer training to their players until the end of May to ensure the gap between the end of last season and the start of the next isn’t as big as it looks at the moment.

“It’s been an incredibly weird season and for me, as a manager at this level for the first time, it’s been a great learning curve but it’s been really tough,” the Hemel boss said.

“The football is one thing but the off-field things we have had to deal with have made it tough.

“It’s all a learning curve, I have really enjoyed it and we will keep training and maybe keep playing a game or two here and there.

“We need to speak to the boys to see what they want to do because no-one gets paid for it.

“Whatever we do will be totally voluntary but any fitness coach including our own at Hemel now will tell you the four-month gap we have got is far too big.

“And, for our players, we will give them the chance to train every Tuesday and Thursday until the end of May and there will be no need for anyone to go and train elsewhere unless that’s what they want to do.”