Football

Published on February 8th, 2013 | by Danny Butterwick

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Long takes reins at Charlton ladies on short-term basis

Bill Long in charge at a training session [Jon Durr]

London College of Communication staff member Bill Long has been named caretaker manager of Charlton Athletic ladies’ team until the summer.

The LCC widening participation officer, who previously coached the club’s reserve team, has taken over until the end of the season after former boss Paul Mortimer decided to move into the men’s game.

Next year Charlton are looking to gain entrance to the lucrative Women’s Super League, where they will be able test themselves against top sides such as Arsenal and Birmingham.

In order to join the Super League, they will have to put forward a monetary bond and according to Long, the chairman is willing to back the south London club’s cause financially.

However, the former Chelsea academy player feels he will not be able to continue as manager, as Charlton enter an exciting new period. He said: “There would be no way that I could do both jobs if the club get Super League status.

“I’d love to take it on. My heart would say ‘yeah, go and do it Bill and get back into football full time’, but my brain tells me family and mortgage are more important and I have to let my head rule over my heart on this occasion.

“At the moment, it’s lovely. We train a couple of nights a week and we play at weekends, so it fits in perfectly with the job that I’ve got here at the LCC.”

The Addicks currently sit comfortably in mid-table in the Premier League and were boosted by their victory over London rivals Watford in the League Cup at the weekend.

Despite being 16 points behind league leaders Sunderland, Long feels that there is no need for him to make any drastic changes that could work to the detriment of his players.

“What I was trying to do at the beginning is just steady everything down and just keep it nice and stable and just make sure the players felt that there was someone there that they can trust. We brought some young players in and they have done fantastically well, but there’s been no fundamental changes that will make a difference to the new manager when he comes in,” Long explained.

As a youngster at Chelsea, Long suffered heartache when he was released from the club, without real warning, due to a bad knee injury.

After experiencing at first hand the cut-throat environment that can surround footballers, he feels that he can offer players a more compassionate approach and hopes he is seen as approachable by the players.

“It makes you think more when you are dealing with players and individuals and they have feelings, they’re not just footballers who play every week. They do go home and think about the things that you say to them. In my eyes, you have to be a bit more considerate in the way you talk to each other.”

For Long, being manager of a women’s football team means being a male in a female world. This leaves him on the receiving end of much of the changing room banter, but he insists that it is nothing he has not dealt with before.

“They’re girls, they are going to give me a hard time. There’s banter and it’s a different sort than in the men’s changing room, but there’s still banter and sometimes I’m the butt of the jokes, with me being the only man in the room, but that’s okay, I can live with that.”

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