By Jacob Greenwood
When you talk about years in football, it is usually looked at in terms of seasons and not calendar years, but as 2017 comes to a close, it’s hard not to look back on what has been an interesting 12 months at Kingfield.
It took an unbeaten last month of the season to ensure our place in the National League for the following season – but what a run it was. From having our hearts in our mouths watching York’s long-throw go into our box over and over again to the scenes at Chester on Easter Monday, it was certainly a nervy period but ultimately a very positive one. The Cards were staying up. Never mind the players, the supporters needed a summer break to get over it.
What was to follow was far from relaxing. Within days news filtered out of Kingfield that Garry Hill and Steve Thompson had left, and by the sounds of it (and Non-League Paper interviews) it wasn’t on the best of terms. It’s this period of time that is worth looking back on in hindsight.
Only days before, Garry had scaled the advertising boards at Dagenham and roamed the crowd thanking the fans, they chanted for him to stay on. So it’s no surprise that his departure was met with disappointment and in some parts anger. It would be easy to put together a list on Hill’s memorable moments at Woking but simply put, he took the club from drifting in the dour depths of the Conference South back to where many believed it belonged. A great period in the club’s history and for me, he left a club legend. I think it’s also clear we had a lot of love for Woking.
What many couldn’t see at the time was that, this was probably the perfect (or as perfect as it could get in the circumstances) ending. This was clouded by statements about ‘investment’ coming into the club and Woking not being able to offer a contract to the management team – “the Board are not in a position to offer a new contract to the present management team.” Plot twist. Investment in Woking? A wealthy sheikh probably had millions ready to spend on getting us into The Football League – it all makes sense!
I’m not sure anyone except those very close to the club will understand what happened in that period. All we do know is at the time of publishing the investor never materialized. But let’s save that for another day.
What we do know is that Anthony Limbrick joined the club and there was a fresh lease of life around the place. It’s easy to write this blog just days after he masterminded a win over League One side Bury – but this was a very good appointment. Only time will tell where Limbrick can take this club but one thing is clear, all this happened at exactly the right time.
Garry Hill, who would have left a legend whatever happened in my eyes, went out on a high. It’s unthinkable to imagine us playing in the second tier of non-league again and as we experienced last time, it isn’t easy to bounce back. He saved us from that, got his chance to thank the fans and he was on his way. There are so many great memories from his reign at Kingfield and I think we might see a Anthony create a few more. Credit where credit is due to who made this call – the board? An investor that lost interest? I don’t think we will ever know. One thing is certain Garry and Thommo’s mission was a success, they are both legends and now we have a bright young prospect in the dugout who has the potential to take us far. The time was right.
Come on you Cards!
Photos by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk