It was confirmed last night that Woking are planning to play a testimonial fixture for Giuseppe Sole.
The 28-year-old left Kingfield in the summer after spending ten years at the club and is set to return once more for his final bow. At Monday’s meeting with the supporters, director of football Geoff Chapple told fans Sole’s match could take place this year with Bournemouth being a possible club that would visit Kingfield.
Sole, who now plays for Hampton & Richmond Borough and Leatherhead on a dual registration deal, made 352 appearances for Woking, scoring 111 goals.
For the first time since late April, Woking welcome a National League outfit to Kingfield as the top tier of non-league gets underway for the 2016/16 season.
Cards fans will see a new-look side as only five players from last term are still at the club with notable names departing. However, with signings such as Delano Sam-Yorke, Max Kretzschmar and the loan signing of Dennon Lewis, the Kingfield faithful seem to have a positive outlook on the much changed squad.
Saturday’s visitors, Lincoln City, have also seen big changes this summer and most notably this saw Danny Cowley join as manager. Cowley took Braintree Town to the play-offs last season and this has lead to the bookies putting The Imps up there as one of the favourites for the title.
We talked to Lincoln fan Jack Mulhall to find out more about what has happened over the summer and what we can expect from Saturday’s guests.
It’s been a busy summer at Sincil Bank with a new gaffer coming in. After a great season with Braintree Town, what do you expect to see from Danny Cowley?
For me, Danny is the perfect appointment at absolutely the right time for Lincoln. His methodical approach is something I’ve never seen from any manager we’ve had. Preparation is important. His model is next-generation stuff, taking a huge interest into the sports science side. It’s clearly worked on a part-time basis and I, and most others, are excited to see how that transforms into full time.
He has already made some signings, can you take us through those?
Danny was quick to bring in the trio from Braintree (Habergham – Left back. Woodyard and Miles – central midfielders). They’re clearly players he knows and trusts and from what I’ve seen they are real ‘ball at the feet’ players. Nathan Arnold has signed and that’s a great addition for me having featured heavily in Grimsby’s promotion. We missed flare last season and he should bring that. We have strengthened in attack with Adam Marriott and Jonny Margetts coming in. Both have found the net in pre season, both with points to prove having had tough seasons last year. I expect one more to be brought in before opening day, and I’m hoping it’s a centre half to partner Jamie McCombe.
Matt Rhead bagged 18 in 31 appearances last season so it is no surprise that there are clubs interested in him. How important will he be if you can keep hold of him?
For me, Matt is hugely important to next season, albeit if I don’t expect him to feature as much. He offers so much in both boxes. Last season, he scored with his left, his right, his head and an overhead kick. You sense it’ll be whether Matt wants to be here or not rather than whether a club can tempt us with four Yorkie bars and a KitKat. Barrow seems the most likely option with Paul Cox keen on his former player. I’d be disappointed to see him leave. (It seems that Matt and Lincoln weren’t interested in the chocolate bars as since talking to Jack, Matt has signed a new deal at Lincoln)
What is your expectation on for the season?
Like every year, I’m full of optimism. Like every year, this one feels different. I think we’re good enough to mount a promotion challenge and expect a top seven as a minimum..but who really knows!
Lincoln will come up against Delano Sam-Yorke on Saturday. How do you reflect on his time with yourselves?
He initially came on loan. A player I rated heavily. Signed on a permanent deal and never really got going. I think the style was negative to his game. I wasn’t disappointed to see him depart and sense his heart is always down south. He will score goals though, there’s no doubting that.
Finally, how do you think Saturday’s game will play out and what is your score prediction?
There’s something about Kingfield I really don’t like (maybe because our only win there comes against Hayes and Yeading). It’s a real unknown challenge too, opening day is always tough to call. That said if you can’t be confident on opening day, you’ll never be confident again. 3-0 away win!
Images by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk
Woking’s newly promoted academy graduate Charlie Carter has admitted he is ‘buzzing’ for the new season to get underway next Saturday when Lincoln City visit Kingfield.
19-year-old Carter’s impressive form in pre-season, which included goals against Watford and Luton Town, saw the youngster earn a contract with the first team. Looking back on warm-up games, the midfielder believes that it has been a successful pre-season for himself and the rest of the squad, who have been helping him progress in training.
“It is going positively for me and the squad. We have had a good pre-season and we just need to take it into the season.
“In training they (Keiran Murtagh and Joey Jones) are always trying to help me out and help me progress. They’ve been great to me.”
On his position in the squad throughout the season, Carter is remaining upbeat, even if he doesn’t secure a starting place straight away.
“I am just happy to be in the squad right now. I will just keep working hard and if I get into the starting XI then that is good. If I don’t, I will still be positive because I am young and still learning.”
Charlie was talking to BBC Surrey’s Gary Smith and the full interview can be heard here.
Photos by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk
After being elected Woking chairman on Thursday, Rosemary Johnson has given her first interview in which she has confirmed the club is in a stable position.
Johnson appeared on The Non-League Football Show to discuss her recent appointment and the ex-mayor of Woking aslo confirmed she was happy to be in the role and will still play a part in The Cards Trust.
“I have been around the club for a long time and I thought I had the some of skills to become the chairman. I am very happy to have been selected by the board.
“I am still involved in the trust (Cards Trust). I still do Boost the Budget, the 400 Club and all the other things that the trust members do.”
When asked about her relationship with manager Garry Hill, Johnson confirmed that the pair know each other well and agreed a good working relationship is important.
“I have sponsored Garry’s kit for three or fours years and I know Garry very well. I have also been travelling on the team coach in the last few seasons so I would agree (the relationship) is important.”
When looking towards the 2016/17 season, Johnson confirmed that, as always, safety is the first aim.
“The first aim is to get to 50 points and then we will build on that.”
The full interview can be heard on the BBC Radio 5 Live website.
Woking have today confirmed the departure of commercial manager Nicky Banger.
Banger, who came to Kingfield from local rivals Aldershot Town, has departed the club following a ‘restructure’ announced by board member Peter Jordan.
It is already looking like it will be a busy summer off the field for The Cards following the resignation of chairman, Mike Smith, on Saturday. Smith’s announcement came just hours after the final home game of the season and means Woking are on the hunt for a replacement.
Smith had been at the Kingfield helm for five seasons and he oversaw a very successful spell which included The Cards returning to the Conference National.
Playing staff have also said their farewell’s this week with loanees Matt Butcher, Matt Robinson and Cameron Norman thanking the club and fans on social media for their time at the club.
It is also expected that player of the season John Goddard will depart the club after reported interest from several Football League teams. The midfielder received a great send off during Woking’s 2-1 victory over Eastleigh where he appeared to wave ‘goodbye’ to the fans.
A row has broken out at Kingfield over alleged bonus agreements.
The news emerged shortly after a Liam Dickinson goal saw the The Cards lose 1-0 to Guiseley on Saturday. Neither Woking players nor management talked to the press following the defeat fuelling speculation over the row.
BBC Surrey broke the news via Twitter stating that:
“@bbcsurrey understands @wokingfc management and players are in dispute with club board over bonuses. (The board) told players they were promised bonuses at end of season, now players told only if finish top 5.”
The club appeared to confirm the rumours early Sunday morning with director of football, Geoff Chapple, stating in an official statement:
“It is never helpful when matters such as these are discussed outside of any club.
This issue will be resolved, and in the meantime the club will not be making any further statements.”
Woking manager Garry Hill has confirmed that he is still looking to sign players in the January transfer window to strengthen his playing squad.
The Cards boss told BBC Surrey after Saturday’s win over Maidenhead United that he was still in the market for a handful of players as Football League teams keep an eye on members of the Woking side. He told reporter Gary Smith:
“We are still light on bodies, I need to get three or four in. There’s one or two players being mentioned to league clubs, we will control that. The players are aware of that and they just get on with their jobs.”
Woking overcame The Magpies to progress to the third round of the competition but didn’t have it all their own way as the visitors took a first-half lead.
“To be honest I was quite pleased to come in at half-time only one down. They were certainly the better team in the first 45 minutes.”
However, The Cards hit back strongly with goals from Giuseppe Sole, Joe Quigley, Chris Arthur and a brace from Keiran Murtagh to win out comfortable winners, impressing a relieved Hill.
“From the time we equalised until the final whistle we played some good football and scored some good goals.”
Picture by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk.
The Surrey FA has announced that for the third consecutive year Kingfield will host the Surrey Senior Cup final.
Last year’s final at Kingfield saw the Metropolitan Police run out 2-0 winners over Merstham in front of 270 fans. Previous to this, Woking ran riot against Met Police in the 2013/14 season, winning 6-0 in front of a ‘home’ crowd.
The 2015/16 final will be the eighth time that the trophy has been decided at Kingfield with the first final being held in the 1972/73 season when Walton & Hersham were crowned champions.
The Cards travel across the road from this year’s final venue to face Westfield on Tuesday evening for a place in the quarter finals.
Picture by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk.
Woking manager Garry Hill has brought back midfielder Matt Robinson on loan until the end of the season and has also captured the signing of ex-Fulham youth player Alex Smith.
Robinson returned to Kenilworth Road following Woking’s 2-1 victory over Aldershot Town but has re-joined on loan until the end of the season. 21-year-old Robinson found his form at Kingfield playing in central midfield and even found himself on the scoresheet in Woking’s 5-1 win at Gateshead.
The Cards have also signed 24-year-old Alex Smith. The ex-Fulham youth player, who can play in defence or midfield, made one senior appearance for West London side in the Premier League. Smith has since been at Swindon and most recently Yeovil town before being released at the end of last season.
Picture by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk