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  • Writer's pictureRob Stevens

Paul Abbott and Matthew Holiday take the reigns at Virginia Water F.C. Reserves

PICTURE: Paul Abbott and Matthew Holiday are the new joint-managers of the Virginia Water F.C. Reserves team and now preparing their side to face Stoke Poges in a Showcase Match at Burnham F.C this Friday night. You can pre-order tickets here: - PHOTO: Marcus Rashid

Virginia Water F.C. have confirmed both Paul Abbott and Matthew Holiday as the new joint-managers of the Reserve team.

The duo take the reigns moving forward in the East Berkshire League Premier Division after it was announced during the Winter Break that Russell Taylor and his team had left the club.

Both Abbot and Holiday are already senior players at The Timbers, and have been tasked with consolidating the team’s position within the division and to continue to nurture young talent within the club.

Russel Crome is Secretary and Virginia Water and explained: “The decision to change the Reserves’ Management Team was made with a first focus on stability of the team for the future.

“We appreciate everything that Russell Taylor and his team contributed to Virginia Water F.C. and wish them all the best with their aspirations to manage and coach at Step Six level football.

“The change brings fresh perspectives to the table, greater alignment with the first team and the future direction of football at the club. It’s an exciting time for all at Virginia Water F.C. as we strive to complete the construction and move to our new ground to continue our development and success.

PICTURE: Virginia Water Reserves take on Stoke Poges, Division One champions of last season, in the first edition of the Showcase Match series in 2024 this Friday night. You can pre-order tickets here: -

“We’ve decided to promote two senior players, Paul and Matthew, as the newly-appointed Management Team. Both are Virginia Water through and through, and know the aspirations of the club both on and off the pitch.

“Their immediate focus is to continue to build a cohesive unit that plays to the clubs strengths and style, with the longer-term ambition to nurture young talent to create a pathway to the first team. The aim for the remainder of the season is to consolidate our position in the league and enjoy a run or two in the Cup competitions.

“As a club, we’ve seen first-hand how the E.B.F.L and its Premier Division offer a competitive and challenging environment. It’s evident that since the League’s management re-set at the beginning of this season, the League is ambitious and aiming to be recognised as a Feeder League as well as to raise the profile. It’s a good platform.”

Abbott and Holiday made a fantastic start to life in the dugout when beating Southcote 3-0 at The Timbers on their return from the Winter Break but, just two weeks later, Southcote gained a manner of revenge with a 2-0 success in the Quarter Finals of the League Cup competition.

Crome commented: “Starting the year with a 3-0 win was crucial. It set a positive tone and boosted morale, especially important under a new Management Team. Such a win reinforces our strategies and builds confidence among the players, crucial for the challenges that lay ahead in the rest of the season.”

The Waters will however, have to step up on their performance if they are to beat an improving Stoke Poges side in the E.B.F.L Showcase Match and leave with all three points on Friday night. Virginia Water were held to a goalless draw at Stoke in their previous meeting just before the Christmas break but, Crome suggests their second match, this time on an artificial surface, will be more of a benefit to his team.

Crome commented: “The 0-0 draw against Stoke Poges was a steep learning curve for the team. We weren’t at our best on that day and had to adapt to the playing surface and change the way in which we usually play to accommodate for the pitch which didn’t suit us at all.

PICTURE: Virginia Water Reserves (yellow) suffered a 2-0 defeat to Southcote in the Quarter Finals of the League Cup competition on Saturday. PHOTO: Marcus Rashid

“It’s evident that Stoke Poges have a solid defensive structure and are very resilient however, we did make a few observations in that game which we will look to exploit on Friday. And, of course, playing on the artificial surface at Burnham will also be a good leveller for both sides used to playing on a heavy, muddy pitch at this time of the year.

“The Club is thrilled about participating in the E.B.F.L Showcase Match. It’s a unique opportunity for our Reserve Team, especially under the lights and playing in front of a decent crowd. This experience is invaluable for our new and young players, offering them a glimpse of senior level football, which will hopefully spur them on to become a part of the first team set up.”

To enter the East Berkshire Football League ahead of the 2024/25 season, or for further information about the league, or an entry form for the upcoming season, please email the team at


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