Rocks man Robbie is out to entertain you

Robbie Blake coaching at Pompey / Picture by Sarah Standing
Robbie Blake coaching at Pompey / Picture by Sarah Standing

Robbie Blake says he can’t wait to get stuck into helping the Rocks recover from relegation.

The former Bradford and Burnley striker, who has been appointed first-team coach at Nyewood Lane, is less than a month away from leading his first Bognor training session.

He says his own football philsophy is exactly the same as Bognor’s – he likes teams to play attacking football on the deck and create plenty of chances, the sort he was regularly putting away in a Football League career than spanned nearly 20 years and brought 145 goals in 580 games.

Blake, who has switched to Nyewood Lane after his coaching contract at Pompey was not renewed, told the Observer he was looking forward to using the experience of a life in football to help the Rocks have a successful season in the Bostik premier.

“My contract was running out at Portsmouth but I was really enjoying life down here in the south coast so was keen to find something else to move on to in the area,” the 42-year-old told the Observer.

“I’d been to a couple of friendlies at Bognor while coaching at Pompey so I know a little bit about the club. I know they like to play football the right way and I know Jack Pearce is passionate about football and knows such a lot himself about the game.

I’d been to a couple of friendlies at Bognor while coaching at Pompey so I know a little bit about the club. I know they like to play football the right way.

Robbie Blake

“I did almost three seasons at Pompey under first Paul Cook and then Kenny Jackett, and before that I’d coached at Chesterfield when Paul Cook was there.

“Hopefully my contacts and experience with that sort of club and with good managers will stand me in good stead for my work at Bognor.

“My philsophy is to get the ball down, get it forward and play good attacking football. I like to play at a high tempo.”

Blake said the difference between players at the top level of football and non-league was often the ratio of good decisions and bad decisions they made, and coaching in non-league could focus on trying to improve that ratio over time, for individual players and teams.

Blake will lead the Rocks coaching regime – with the possibility of a new assistant coach being brought in to help him and the existing backroom team – but Jack Pearce will still have the final say on team matters.

Blake said he was aware of work already done to mould next season’s squad but hoped to be involved in bringing in other additions once pre-season training got under way.

The Rocks return to training on Monday, July 2 and their first friendly is scheduled for Tuesday, July 17 at home to Brighton under-23s.

Since midfielder Tommy Block put pen to paper on a new Rocks deal last week, there’s been no further news of squad members leaving or staying.

Pearce is talking to players including Jimmy Muitt and Ollie Pearce about them staying, while news is awaited of whether keeper Dan Lincoln will be back for a third season.

STEVE BONE