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Getting To Know Lincoln City

By Jacob Greenwood

The wait is over, football is back!

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.

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Sam-Yorke Celebrates a Pre-Season Goal

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

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Carter Looks Ahead To Season After Positive Pre-Season

By Jacob Greenwood 

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

New Chairman Confirms Woking In A Stable Position

By Jacob Greenwood

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.”

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Manager Garry Hill and Chairman Rosemary Johnson

The full interview can be heard on the BBC Radio 5 Live website.

Image by David Holmes.

Banger Follows Smith Out Of Kingfield Door

By Jacob Greenwood

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.

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Mike Smith and Nicky Banger have both left Kingfield this week. Picture by David Holmes. 

 

 

Bonus Row Erupts at Kingfield

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.”

 

Hill Looks To Bolster Squad

 

 

By Jacob Greenwood

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.”

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Sole Strikes As Woking Win

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 full BBC Surrey interview can be heard at – 

 

Kingfield To Host 2016 Surrey Senior Cup Final

By Jacob Greenwood

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.

 

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Woking Celebrate Becoming SSC Champions At Kingfield

Picture by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk.

 

 

Woking Sign Smith As Robinson Re-joins

By Jacob Greenwood

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.

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Robinson Stabs Home At Gateshead 

Picture by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk

 

Getting To Know The Opposition – Aldershot Town

By Jacob Greenwood

Woking welcome Aldershot Town to Kingfield on Saturday as bragging rights are once again up for grabs.

The Cards took all three points in the corresponding fixture last week with John Goddard’s goal proving the difference.

Both teams come into the game following draws on Monday and will be looking to sign off from the hectic Christmas period with a win.

We caught up with Shots fan Tommy Anderson to get his views on last week’s game and Saturday’s tie.

Woking took all three points on Boxing Day thanks to a John Goddard goal. What were your thoughts on last week’s game?

Ultimately I left the ground very disappointed! I didn’t feel Aldershot did enough to get anything out of the game and the first half performance in particular was disappointing. Second half we huffed and puffed a bit more but just didn’t have that creative spark to break down a determined and dogged Woking defence. I thought Woking played some good passing football and overall deserved the three points.

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Barry Smith told the media after the game “you can’t tell me that Woking were the better team today”. Do you think he was right and that Aldershot deserved more out of the game?

Those were certainly interesting comments from Barry and ones I disagree with, I think Woking were better than Aldershot on the day, Woking played a high tempo game throughout looking to counter when appropriate knocking the ball about really well. Aldershot resorted to constantly pump long balls into the box which is something we haven’t done all season, so I think you have to give Woking credit for utilising a winning game plan.

The Shots got a good draw at Eastleigh on Monday. What can they take away from that game?

A very good draw I must say and a much improved performance to go with it. We all went to Eastleigh thinking the worse but come out in a very positive mood. Eastleigh got awarded a controversial penalty early on and at that point you’re thinking we could lose this game by 3/4, but Aldershot picked themselves up, got the ball on the floor and certainly matched Eastleigh’s play, won a penalty ourselves which was duly taken by Sam Hatton and possibly given the chances in the second half could have gone on to win it. However, all season we haven’t been clinical enough where it matters but we certainly earned a deserved point.

Brodie didn’t take part in Monday’s game, was this tactical or was this due to injury?

The initial feedback was because of an injury. It was reported that Richard had suffered a back spasm so missed out. When you look back at how the game panned out and how Charlie Walker come back into fold it suited the system much better, I think tactically going forward I would consider given Richard a bit more rest because he seems to have completely gone off the boil in recent months. When he arrived at the club, he instantly won over the fans for his effort and goals scored, but recently that has dropped significantly and doesn’t look like coming back anytime soon. So personally speaking I think Richard could do with a brief spell on the sidelines.

Finally, what is your prediction for Saturday’s game?

Now that is the question! Given the complete change of performance from Boxing Day to Eastleigh 48 hours later, who knows how this one will pan out! I think Aldershot will raise their game again and come out once again as 2-1 winners at Kingfield putting a miserable and disastrous 2015 behind them. Goals from Sam Hatton and Charlie Walker will win us the game and give us a positive start to 2016!

Picture by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk

 

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