Why would a former football league player who scored more than 170 goals across the leagues, and is a club legend at Reading where he holds the all-time goalscoring records, choose to manage a club in the Western League where players are paid travelling expenses only, not thousands of pounds a week?
And why, six years into his current spell in charge of Bridport, is he so comfortable here despite indifferent results this season, that he would probably only be lured away from a role he clearly loves if Reading FC came calling?
Because Trevor Senior was born and bred in West Dorset, and the footballer’s come home, to stay, because he loves the club and the people of Bridport.
Just as importantly, Bridport loves Trevor, according to club president Dave Fowler, who says: “Players buy into his ethos of the club as a family, a big part of the community and have total respect for man and club.”
Born 53 years ago in the old Bull Inn at Stratton, living most of his childhood in Fordington and educated in Dorchester, Trevor began his career as a teenager with the Magpies before the lanky (6’2″) striker was lured to the professional ranks at Portsmouth. Despite also playing at Aldershot, Watford and Middlesbrough, his career centred on Reading where, in two spells, a goal every other game in more than 300 appearances made him so revered that Bridport has an annual invasion from Royals’ fans who travel to Dorset for the “Trevor Senior game”.
‘It swells the club coffers and is possibly our biggest bar take of the season’
— Dave Fowler
Yet he confesses to being a little shy, almost embarrassed, at the acclaim. “It swells the club coffers and is possibly our biggest bar take of the season”, says Dave Fowler (pictured above), who, after 32 years there including a period as chairman, is one of many officials with many years of voluntary service with the Bees. Dave describes Bridport and Trevor as a “good fit”.
Trevor combines the role of manager with his own business, running soccer schools during school holidays. He’s a familiar figure to youngsters in West Dorset with courses at Easter, half-term and summer breaks.
But what about Dorchester Town, a bigger club in a higher league where supporters always mention his name when the Magpies’ managerial merry-go-round sees another first team boss depart?
“I will never take the Dorch job,” Trevor curtly replies, revealing previous behind the scenes activity during his first spell at Bridport, in which he says he was tapped-up and then promised the Dorchester job. Trevor said his goodbyes to his Bridport players, but then, a Sunday morning phone call told him that, in a late change of mind, Dorchester had offered the job to someone else (a move which saw director Peter Aiken quit in protest).
Dorchester’s loss is Bridport’s gain. During his current spell in charge, Trevor’s seen them promoted back into the Toolstation Western Premier League. And he is building for the future.
Next season he will have previous leading striker Ryan Dovell, who missed so much of the 2014-5 season with a medial knee injury, as player coach. Shaun Annetts will be the new reserve team manager and there will be an improved relationship with Bridport Youth FC, which is affiliated to, but not controlled by, the seniors.
In keeping with the family theme, Trevor’s son Chris will again be in the first team squad. Chris began his career alongside such talents as Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Adam Lallana in the 12-16 age group teams at Southampton, but it’s at St Mary’s Field rather than St Mary’s Stadium that the 27-year-old defender plays first team football.
“I’m possibly slightly harder on Chris than the others,” admitted Trevor. It’s a dilemma faced by many father and son combinations in lower level football. “But he’s a good lad and often comes up with ideas, some of which I haven’t seen before,” he added.
Nothing about Bridport football club is flash, but they have survived more than 125 years, moving up from the Crown ground, where Groves Nurseries now stands to their current home next to the River Brit.
Occasional flooding has resulted in games postponed, putting pressure on finances, but local firms and the club’s volunteers have always rallied round in times of need. Now, every Thursday, a group turns up to help out and do whatever jobs are required, and new helpers are always welcome. President Dave Fowler is also keen to hear from anyone willing to serve on the club committee, under the chairmanship of Adrian Scadding.