Eric Kinder says he has had a fantastic time at Exeter City and backs the club to go on to success after departing the club to take on the role as academy manager with Carlisle United.
Eric, who has vast coaching experience, arrived at St James Park prior to the 2018/19 season as assistant manager to Matt Taylor, and Eric reflects on his time with the Grecians positively.
He explained: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, it’s just a shame that we couldn’t push ourselves into the play-offs. I think we deserved it, others may say that our home form against the lower sides cost us, and it did, but if I look back on it overall I’ve had an absolutely fantastic time.
“There’s lots of good people both at the club and away from the club. Fingle Glen, where I stayed and when I was around the town everybody was so friendly and helpful. It made it a really good year.”
Having worked with Matt when the City manager was a youngster, Eric brought a great deal of experience into a relatively young coaching setup at St James Park, but having spent a year alongside the coaches Eric is backing the likes of Matt, Dan Green and Wayne Carlisle to bring success to St James Park.
He continued: “Our relationship got stronger; Matt is his own man but he’s a good listener. He’ll still do his own thing, but he’s got two really exceptional coaches alongside him. Dan is very very good and he’s going to only get better. Wayne thinks about things and goes through everything so I think the three of them will take Exeter to the next level, I’ll be amazed if they don’t because they are three very talented people and I’ll miss them. I hope I’ve helped a little bit, being a little bit older than them, I hope I’ve helped them, and I hope they’ve taken something from me because I’ve certainly taken a hell of a lot from them.”
Eric was also keen to pay tribute to other members within the football club that he had grown close to over the past 12 months including staff that work behind the scenes at the club alongside, Chairman Julian Tagg.
Eric said: “Adey (Saunderson) and Jess (Preece) who have left, Chris Weale I got on really well with and I had a really good relationship with Julian and Justin (Quick). Lynn (Travis) and Nicky (Perryman) down at the Park were always very helpful and I know that if I’ve got any problems then they can help me and I can always pick up the phone and ring them. I’ve made a lot of friends, both at the club and away from it.”
Having missed out on the play-offs last season, Eric believes with a couple more additions to the City squad he sees no reason why the club can’t be challenging towards the top during the 2019/20 campaign.
“I think we still need a couple of players, and Matt knows that, and I think we need to strengthen a bit up front,” said Eric. “We had Donovan (Wilson) and Tristan (Abrahams), Jonno (Jonathan Forte) isn’t here so we don’t know what that situation is like, but he’s going to need a little bit more strength up front. I still think we’ll need another defender somewhere and we probably need another goalkeeper. Marcus (Flitcroft) has moved up and does most of the recruitment, he again is another amazing guy, he works so hard at everything he does so that coaching room is only getting better.”
Looking back over the past year the Grecians had many highlights over the course of last season, but Eric says the last-gasp win at Notts County when Nicky Law headed home late on despite City only having 10-men was his favourite moment.
He explained: “The one that stands out is Notts County away, we’d had it done to us twice when we had to suffer at Port Vale, and Lincoln was an absolute disaster for us. For one of them to go our way, I’ve never had that feeling before when I’ve been in a first team environment. To win the game, I don’t know what happens to you, you’re an alien for about two minutes and it was an amazing feeling.
“The opening day win against Carlisle, that was special, my first game here and the fact it was them coming down, but the Notts County game I would think (would be favourite.)
Eric also highlighted the final day of the season as one of the toughest moments during his time here as it was confirmed that the Grecians would miss out on the play-offs by just one point following a goalless draw with Forest Green Rovers.
He said: “The Forest Green game, the way that I felt when that final whistle went, I don’t think I’ll ever lose that. Some say that people don’t care about it, but that feeling I had when I walked around after the Forest Green game, I don’t want to ever feel like that again.”
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