INTERVIEW: Director of Football Martin Ling discusses the Head Coach position

access_time 4 years ago

Steve Davis was yesterday relieved of his duties following four months in the role and the O’s sat 19th in the National League, and having received a high level of interest in the position Ling spoke about the process that is now underway.

“This is not a decision we want to rush, and we are currently in the phase of receiving a whirlwind of emails and phone calls with people showing their interest in the position,” Ling told

“At this moment in time that list is continuously growing, but after a few more days we will be at the stage where every interested name will be in our thought process and we can start to whittle that down to a shorter list before an interview procedure.

“I’m not going to put a timescale on the next appointment, but we will most certainly do our due diligence and look to see where we may have made any mistakes in the previous appointment.

“As is the case in any walk of life, you have got to look in the mirror and see where we are held responsible rather than passing the blame over to somebody else. I am very much about the collective, and collectively we will come to the right decision by ensuring that no stone is left unturned.”

Whilst admitting that the process will be thorough, Ling also explained the decision to sack Davis was an extremely difficult call.

“I had only known Steve personally and professionally for four months, but within that time we built up a good friendship.

“Steve was a good work colleague and friend but I had to turn my head to be a professional to the role that I am doing and knew it was the right decision to make. We spoke about it at Board level and decided it was the right thing to do given the run of results,” he added.

“Steve’s appointment ticked all the boxes we wanted it to tick, but unfortunately it didn’t click for us on the football pitch.

“As a collective we win together, and we lose together. I accept that I take part of the blame for our recent run of form, as I am responsible for employing the people to get us to where we all desperately want to be. Unfortunately, the fight was at an end with Steve and we had to do something about it.

“For the second time in four months we are going through this process, and I did not foresee or want this to happen, but we have to look forward. The process will take as long as it needs to take, but it will be a person that is the right fit for the job.

“There is no profile as such, and anyone who has declared any interest in the role has been asked to submit their CV for us to look at. We have got to make sure we got it right, and we very much did believe that we had got it right with Steve in the summer.

“If there is anything that we missed out on we want to make sure that does not happen again. Steve also had terrible luck with losing three key players in Charlie, George and Josh through injury but even though that was partly to blame, we know that three points from a possible 33 in the league was not good enough for this Football Club.”

Ross Embleton has stepped up to the role of Interim Head Coach during this process, someone who Ling is confident can do well with his wealth of coaching experience.  

“I’ve worked with Ross at three different clubs, and what a lot of people forget is that he has been coaching since he was 16, so for 20 years now. That is only one short of myself, as I didn’t start until I was 30. His coaching knowledge is very good and he knows the game inside out,” the 51-year-old added.

“Whilst he has never been a Manager or a Head Coach, I have got an awful lot of confidence in him doing a fantastic job during this interim period and I had no hesitation is asking him to take on the role. Ross will of course also be assisted by Dean Brill who will be working alongside him, but also each and every member of staff that is here.”

With league leaders Dover Athletic set to visit E10 on Saturday, the O’s Director of Football finished by calling for togetherness and encouragement at the Matchroom Stadium this weekend.

“I have talked quite a lot here about being collectively to blame, and that is because we are in this together. It runs all the way through the Club and I firmly believe that I had success here previously due the fact that every unit of the industry was pushing in the same direction.

“That included the fans, and you have all got a massive role to play for us. I know it has been extremely frustrating of late and that we are in a dreadful run of league form, but your encouragement and support can help turn this around from a season that has seen us underperform. If everyone could give us another one per cent of what you usually give, it would make a huge difference collectively.

“This is a Club that has a huge heart, and we all need to be together starting on Saturday if we are to be successful moving forward.”