FORMER Southend United winger Steven Clark has revealed regrets from his playing career are spurring him on for success in management.

Clark has guided Sporting Bengal United to back to back promotions.

But the 42-year-old remains determined to secure more memorable moments from the dug-outs as he aims to make up for the disappointment he felt as a player.

“I had opportunities, like playing for Southend and I’ve got a lot of regrets about them,” said Clark.

“There are things I should have achieved and I didn’t.

“My managerial career so far has been about putting those things right.

“I never take the opportunity to manage for granted and will never ever become complacent about it either.

“The two promotions mean nothing now and I’m not entitled to anything but I enjoy it.

“It’s a real passion for me and if I took my playing career as seriously as I do my management career I would’ve done a lot better.”

Clark scored twice in 60 appearances for the Shrimpers between 2001 and 2004.

But he remains disappointed by his stint with Southend. “I look back at my time there, what I was doing and how I was living and I have a lot of regrets,” said Clark.

“I feel like I let myself down and let the club down too.

“They invested a lot of money in me and there’s no way I showed my quality in my time there.

“When it was all over at Southend my career was just a bit all over the place, just like myself.

“It was a few years later I really realised, settled down and began to appreciate what football has done for me.

“That experience in failing to achieve what I should’ve done means I’ve got a lot of things I want to put right.

“Management gives me that outlet to do that.”

Clark has grabbed his opportunity with both hands at Sporting Bengal, leading them to promotion from the Essex Senior League last season.

But longer term he is keen to take charge of a team far higher up the footballing pyramid.

“I’m hugely ambitious,” said Clark.

“I’ll take my time but I’ve certainly got ambitions to manage in the league one day.

“That’s something I want to do when the time is right.

“I want to keep learning and do all the things I didn’t do when I was player.”

Despite his Roots Hall regrets, Clark remains extremely fond of his former club.

And he is full of praise for the job his ex team-mate Kevin Maher continues to do as Blues boss.

“Kev’s doing an outstanding job there,” said Clark.

“With the restrictions and limitations on the club to almost be in the play-offs last season was astonishing. “I think this year will be slightly more difficult but it’s nothing Kev won’t be able to deal with.

“Southend is actually the first result I look for and I want to see them do well.

“There’s a big place in my heart for them and I’m hoping they can reach the play-offs next season.

“They’ve certainly got the manager to do it.”

Clark knows only too well himself the drama the play-offs can bring.

And he remains delighted to have led Sporting Bengal to promotion after beating Romford 3-1 in the final.

“I’m exceptionally proud,” said Clark.

“To do it the way we did in the play-offs away from home was brilliant.

“There’s always pressure in those games and to win them like we have two years in a row is just an incredible feeling.

“It’s one of the very best things you can experience in football.”

But a lot of hard work went into making sure Sporting Bengal came out on top.

“The players really bought in, they listened and worked hard,” said Clark.

“We kept things simple, the experienced players were ever present in the spine of the side and I did have a strong feeling we could do well again.”

And Clark also found this season’s promotion far more enjoyable.

“Step 6 was a lot of pressure and I didn’t really enjoy it if I’m honest because there was a lot expectation we could do well,” said Clark.

“It was slightly different coming into Step 5 but everything was embedded in terms of patterns of play and it was just about putting the results together.

“We added better players when needed but just continued from where we left off and just got better.”

But Clark is still hungry for more.

“Expectations will be lowered next season but we remain hugely aspirational,” said Clark.

“We want to remain in Step 4.

“The quality of the opposition will go up drastically but I’m sure we can do well.

“We know it will be tough but we’ll take it a day at a time.

“I’d love to go and win a cup competition and that’s another target alongside staying in the league.

“If we stay up that will be as successful as getting promotion from Step 5.”