Saturday, February 15, 2014
Norman Wanderers are fast becoming known as ‘The Invincibles’ in the Norwich & District Sunday League.
Eighteen months after Dave Freeman and Luke Durrant took charge of Wanderers they are yet to taste defeat in the league and are well placed to follow up last season’s promotion from Division 1A with the Premier Division title.
Freeman and Durrant took charge of Wanderers after leaving Marlborough in the summer of 2012 and the pair have masterminded a run of form that any fledgling management team would be proud of.
After cruising to the Division 1A championship during their first season in charge, they currently sit top of the Premier after 14 games, scoring 56 goals and conceding just eight in the process.
“It’s gone better than we could have imagined,” said Freeman, a detective sergeant with Norwich CID. “To go unbeaten for 18 months in the league is some record.
“It’s been built on our defensive record but this year we’ve managed to add more striker options and I think that’s why we’ve been able to take our game up a notch.”
After being part of an all-conquering Marlborough side that had won the league and got to the Norfolk Senior Cup final the pair decided to strike out on their own.
They managed to attract some players to join them in taking the leap into the unknown and they haven’t looked back.
“It’s worked really well the two of us together,” said Freeman, whose side have tasted defeat twice under his stewardship in the Norfolk Sunday Senior Cup against Chilvers and Dog House. “Getting players to come with us obviously helped but the main thing for us all is to have fun. No-one is going to turn up every Sunday if you just criticise them all the time.
“Myself and Luke are best friends and, in the 18 months we’ve managed together, there have been very few disagreements on team selection. I think it works because Luke is probably our best player and leads by example on the pitch, managing the game. I’m the one shouting on the sidelines! Somehow it seems to work.”
Despite an impressive start to their managerial careers Freeman and Durrant, Chris Hughton needn’t worry at Carrow Road as the pair have no designs on taking it any further.
“We’re happy with what we do,” said Freeman, who still believes AFC Wanderers are capable of challenging his side for the Premier Division title. “It’s just about being a group of mates and having fun really.
“A lot of us came through together at Old Catton at under 11 level and we still all enjoy our football now.
“We just want to get stronger - if we win the league this season, and it’s still an if, then we would want to do it again and maybe get to a cup final.”