Dedicated Danny Determined To Keep Concord Soaring

When you’ve served behind the kiosk on matchdays, washed the kit as well as been a player and a manager, you’re always likely to take the set-backs to heart that little bit more.

Quite simply, Danny Scopes is Concord Rangers. The man they just can’t seem to get rid of.

Even when his time as a player and a manager came to an end, he refused to stay away - cheering the team on from the terraces, or pouring the bovril for the fans from through the hatch.

He’s a year into his return to the Beachboys’ dug-out, but there’s something on his mind and he just can’t shift it.

When Covid-19 hit, not every mid-table club had so much to lose.

As the plug was pulled on all football in March, the National League South side were busy preparing for their FA Trophy semi-final against Southern League Division One Central side Halesowen Town.

While the FA Cup returned last weekend, the next best thing is still up in the air.

“We’re still no clearer,” Scopes told us in our latest summer special club spotlight.

“I think if they’re going to do it, they’re going to do it early next season.

“It’s not every year clubs like ours are one tie away from Wembley. It would be brutal if we got this far and didn’t get the chance to complete it.

“We take inspiration from the likes of Brackley Town, who won it at our level two years ago. We felt we had such a wonderful opportunity to create history.

“The FA have told us they are looking into potential dates, but you just don’t know. We would be devastated if we couldn’t.

"For clubs like Concord and Halesowen it’s once in a lifetime stuff.

“We’ve just got to keep our fingers crossed. I got to the FA Vase quarter final as a player here and know what it’s like to get so close to a huge final and miss out. For the integrity of the competition I really think the FA Trophy should be concluded.”

If they get the green light and do get the better of the campaign’s big underdogs then they could find no-one prouder to lead the team out at Wembley.

“The place is close to my heart,” he said. “I left the manager’s post originally because my business was growing. You have to be able to dedicate time to the job or you just can’t do it.

“I have pretty much done everything from serving the drinks to managing the team twice. Washing, cleaning I have done it all here. Well, you’ve got to, haven’t you?

“Even when I wasn’t involved I would still go home and away when I could, cheering on the team. That’s what happens when you have a close affiliation with a club.

“It’s been great being back as manager and it’s been a good season, but one we hope can still get better.”

Although there is clearly unfinished business, Concord are already looking to the next campaign.

This time last year, fans were facing up to watching an almost entirely new team take to the field. That won’t be the case when football finally returns.

“We’ve already agreed to keep seven or eight of last season’s squad which is great news,” the manager said.

“We’ve signed four new players so far. Alex Wall, Tyrone Sterling, Tosan Popo and Sam Blackman.

“They’re not new players as such - every one of them have played at Concord before. So already they’ve got a strong connection to the club. Last year we had to make a lot of changes, but we want a group who know what the club is all about - the good bits and the bad bits!

“Most of the squad will know how we operate, there’s nothing to hide.

“To be so far down the line already is pleasing. I’ve spoken to other managers, they are happy to wait. They think it could be a managers’ market this year. I’m not so sure.

“We’re in a good position and we also still want to give some talent from the lower leagues a chance to impress as well.”

Of course Concord are still waiting for the full list of clubs they will be facing next season.

So with the play-offs now weeks away, who does Scopes fancy to earn a National League place?

“It will be very interesting - the situation means it’s even more of a lottery,” he predicted.

“My heart says Slough Town. I would love to see them do it as Jon (Underwood) and Neil Baker have been an incredible help to me. And I feel bad as we’ve beaten them twice!

“But my head is going for Havant & Waterlooville. They’ve got a strong squad. Don’t count Dorking Wanderers out of it just yet though.”

Where next?

National League Statement | Financial Contribution from the Premier League The National League is delighted to have received confirmation of a financial contribution from the Premier League.
Clubs Return to Training Ahead of The National League Play-Offs The play-offs are fast coming into focus so there is no better time to check in with Vanarama National League clubs as they get ready to go to battle.