Whether your jam is more Aretha Franklin or Erasure, this week we want to talk about respect.
Fives games into the new season and other than the early loss to Aldershot Town, Woking haven’t put a foot wrong. Dowse admitted that The Cards were somewhat of a ‘surprise package’ after wins against Harrogate Town, Chestfield and Fylde, who were all strongly tipped for promotion. But are Woking getting the respect they deserve?
It’s not hard to see why managers and teams are being caught out by Woking when you listen to their post-match interviews – they just can’t comprehend losing to a newly promoted, part-time outfit.
Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver told their local paper, The Harrogate Advertiser, after their 1-0 loss:
“We absolutely annihilated Woking in terms of football and chances created”
Centre back Connor Hall added:
“The whole team know that we had chances in the first half and chances in the second half. We should have won by quite a few”
I’m not going to pretend Woking didn’t ride their luck in that game. Harrogate did miss two chances that seemed harder to miss than score. But Woking had chances too, most notably when Meite couldn’t get enough on Johnson’s cross, otherwise it was 2-0. Clearly this was all forgotten on their coach ride back to Yorkshire. The sides certainly weren’t too far apart on the day and to say Woking were annihilated is a case of sour grapes for me.
Moving on to Woking’s 4-1 win at Mill Farm. AFC Fylde boss David Challinor spoke to the club’s official site after the game and looked just as bemused by the fact Woking had rocked up and taken the p*ss. Somewhere between calling his team’s performance terrible, repeating that he would be looking to bring in new players and blaming the ref (he claimed an assessor was at the game and agreed with him), it didn’t seem he made much of Woking. The only bit of praise they got was: “Credit to Woking, they did a job”. I’m not expecting managers to heap praise on us, but maybe one of the reasons they lost is because Dowse & co have put a good team together that can more than match teams in this league, and we were the better side over 90 minutes?
The last week has been an incredible one for The Cards – but will it be enough to earn the respect of the league and make people sit up and take notice? It’s hard to say, and whilst most Woking fans won’t get carried away and will see it as nine vital points in our bid for survival this season, you’d hope some of the established names might be more humble when playing Woking. Underestimate us at your peril!
Images by David Holmes. Find a full set at wokingfc.co.uk
Football is officially back, and it hasn’t been a quiet week for The Cards. In fact, the highs and lows of football were summed up in the last week.
Curtain Raiser In East London
Dagenham away has become somewhat of an important stage, and a happy hunting ground, for Woking in the last few years – and so it should be if we are paying £21 to get in! Between staying up on the last day in 2016/17 season, finding (what we thought was) a new lease of life in Jason Godliffe’s first game as caretaker manager and now an opening day showdown – it’s always memorable. It was no different this year, as everything went right for The Cards, from the new 5-3-2 formation to Joe Quigley missing a shot that would have been easier to score, it was a brilliant way to lay down a marker and send out a message to the rest of the league.
It’s always a buzz when unfancied, part-time Woking are spoiling the big boys’ party and being one of the hundreds of Cards fans singing at full-time as the squad celebrated, I can safely say that’s why we stick with the club through thick and thin.
Most Notably: -Good creativity for Gerring’s new song – “Stands at 6ft3, f**ing hates Torquay” -Moussa Diarra/Manny Parry partnership was outstanding and the new song to the tune you Kolo/Yaya Toure wasn’t bad -Perfect away performance, utilising our strength and height -If you charge away fans £21, you don’t deserve home wins
Death, Taxes and Losing To Aldershot
It was of course only fitting, that in true football style, we came crashing back down to earth only a few days later. Although there are plenty of forum posts about how and why we lost, I can put it down to three things – the 5-3-2 being anticipated and countered well by The Shots, our hit-and-hope approach and a voodoo curse being placed on the club when we play our neighbours. I’m starting to think the third reason is the most valid!
However, a crowd of just under 4,000, the home kit not being as awful as everyone made out and knowing if we took our chances we might have been okay, gave fans a few things to cling on to that night. Still, truding out of Kingfield as the opposition wildly celebrate a derby win will always be a low-blow.
Most Notably: -The home kit was ready in time and was surprisingly nice -The Shots fans didn’t break the barrier -Jack Cook as a RWB outlet, not the best tactic
Bouncing Back To Blow Harrogate Away
Okay, we didn’t blow Harrogate away, but there was an opportunity to use a weather-related pun. However, after a shaky first 15 minutes, what a performance! Harrogate reached the play-offs last season and after winning 3-0 away at Barrow on Tuesday, it was clear this was going to be a tough game. Tactically I think Dowse got this one spot on and once we got into the game, we more than matched Harrogate. They squandered good opportunities and we got a bit of luck in the winner and keeping them out, but don’t underestimate some great performances across the park. Poku and Meite took their chances as they both got started their first games of the season and Johnson’s pace and skill look like they will be an important outlet this season.
A battling performance was exactly what Woking needed after Tuesday’s defeat and if our luck was out against The Shots, it was in yesterday and we made it count.
Most Notably – Donnellan proved if you don’t shoot, you don’t score -Johnson gave their left back the run-around and will be more than a handful this season -We’ll be no pushovers this season -Jon Stead is still playing at 38
A week is a long time in football, and the first of the season was a rollercoaster ride, but there’s a long way to go yet, so hold on tight!
Images by David Holmes and can be viewed at wokingfc.co.uk
Woking welcome Hartlepool United to Kingfield on Saturday as they look for their fourth win on the bounce.
Saturday’s game sees two form sides face off. The Cards came from behind to beat AFC Fylde last week with goals coming from Joe Ward and Jamie Philpott to put themselves top of the form table. Whereas Hartlepool, who had a tough start to the season, find themselves third in the form table following a 2-1 victory over Bromley.
With the exception of Cheltenham and Bristol Rovers, teams relegated from League Two have struggled to bounce back to the The Football League. We spoke to Pools fan Kate Simons to find out more about how fans in the North East see the season so far and what their expectations are for their first season in Non-League’s top flight.
Nobody likes to be relegated, but for some clubs that have been in the bottom third of League Two for a few seasons, dropping down and rebuilding can turn into a positive project. How do most Hartlepool fans see life after League Two?
Although it was heart-breaking to get relegated, I think most fans are optimistic for life after league two and everything that goes with life in the National League – new teams to play, visiting new grounds etc. I think lots of fans just want to see the team playing with passion and with fight again.
How have you found the standard of National League football since dropping down from The Football League?
It’s different, that’s one thing for sure! I think it’s a faster paced and a lot more physical compared to The Football League.
After a tricky start to life in non-league football, Hartlepool have found some form, winning four of the last six. Has this just been a case of adapting to the league?
I think it has been a case of adapting to the National league, but also adapting to the different style of play in this league. A lot of new faces were brought into the club too, so it takes time for people to gel.
Hartlepool manager Craig Harrison has been very successful in Welsh football, what do you think he can bring to non-league’s top tier and to United?
Craig was a very successful manager at TNS and I think he can bring that to Pools, he knows what it takes to be successful and he can instil that into the team. Being from the North East, Craig knows just how much this team means to the fans! He seems a vocal, hardworking and passionate manager!
A lot of teams now qualify for the National League play-offs, will getting one of these spots be a minimum expectation for the majority of fans?
I think the fans just want to see the team play well, after spending the last couple of seasons fighting relegation and then eventually being relegated, we just want to see the team playing with passion. Of course, being promoted/qualifying for the play-off’s is on everyone’s mind but people are realistic and know just how hard it is to get out of this league!
Who will be the danger men that Woking have to look out for on Saturday?
Jonathan Franks, he’s just re-signed for the club and he can’t seem to stop scoring!
Michael Woods, he plays with his heart on his sleeve and he’s not scared to put a challenge in!
Finally, what is your score prediction?
Think it’ll be a tough game, but I’m saying a 2-1 to Pools. Up the Pools!!
Photos from David Holmes. For a full set visit wokingfc.co.uk
Garry Hill has spoken for the first time since leaving his position at Woking last week and told reporters that there is no animosity from himself towards the club.
Hill spent over six years at Kingfield and during that time took The Cards from The National League South to The National League and reflected on recent developments prior to watching Dagenham & Redbridge face Forest Green Rovers. He told The National League’s social media team:
“I’ve had six and half wonderful years there and I wish the club all the best. There is a change going on which I think every club on and off the pitch needs at times. Hopefully it is for the right reasons for the players, supporters and volunteers.
“There is no animosity from myself and I wish them all the best.”
Hill has been replaced by Anthony Limbrick as new investors pursue a fresh start at Kingfield. Limbrick has worked with youth teams at both Southampton and West Ham as well as at an International level for England. Cards fans will get a chance to hear him speak at a fans forum on Wednesday which is being held at Kingfield.
Image by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk
Woking travel to local rivals Aldershot Town on Boxing Day and will be hoping for a repeat of last season’s success against The Shots.
After recording wins against Gateshead and Bromley, Woking fans would have hoped that Garry Hill’s side would have pushed on. However, Cup and Trophy disappointment followed and with Woking failing to beat Guiseley last time out in the league, Cards fans are again looking at the shrinking gap to the relegation zone (just goal difference is keeping Woking above the line).
If you listen to football folklore then form goes out of the window in derby games. This statement will be music to the ears of both Cards and Shots fans as both sides have been struggling of late. We caught up with Tommy Anderson, Chairman of The Shots Trust, to find out what we can expect on Boxing Day.
It’s been a while since we played each other and since we last met there was quite a big summer for The Shots off the pitch with Gary Waddock returning to the club. Fans must have been delighted to see him return?
There were big changes at Aldershot back in the summer both on the playing side and of course the return of Gary Waddock as manager which was just what the club needed! Season ticket sales rose dramatically following Gary’s return, a good, competitive squad was assembled and our start to the season was extremely encouraging. Our recent form has dipped and cup exits in the FA Cup and FA Trophy at the hands of lower opposition was disappointing, no question about that, however I think we need to be realistic and honest and say if 10th position was offered to us back in June at this present time, we would have had accepted it. From a personal point of view, I am content overall with how the season has panned out. I expect the squad to bounce back from recent disappointments and improve as the season goes on and put pressure on the teams above.
A few other additions included Scott Rendell and Jake Cole from Woking. How have both players settled in at The Rec?
They’ve done ok. Jake Cole in particular has significantly improved us in the goalkeeping position. Earlier on in the season, he made some crucial saves at key times in games to preserve our lead, he offers big assurances to the defenders ahead of him with his talking and direction, a real leader. Scott Rendell for me is slowly getting better and better, the goals haven’t produced what he had done previous, this is down to mostly being played in a deeper position and also people need to realise that this season he came back from a cruciate ligament injury that put him out of action for all of last season, arrived at Aldershot and played lots of games in a short space of time and was clearly shattered! However, Scott has now really worked on his fitness and is looking sharper and sharper and I’m fully confident that the goals will flow in the not so distant future.
It has been an up and down season so far for yourselves with disappointment in the FA Cup and Trophy (similar to Woking!) but a steady mid-table position has been maintained. There have been a few big results in there too. How do you think things are working out and are the play-offs the aim?
Overall, I’m fairly content with how the season has panned out. Major disappointments in exiting both cup competitions early and for clubs like ourselves, there is a lot of financial gain to be had from a decent run in both competitions, however our league campaign has been a vast improvement on recent years, we are playing an entertaining, attacking style of football which we long sought for at the a EBB Stadium! Early doors, we started in superb fashion scoring plenty of goals and putting good sides under the sword! However, like all clubs, we are currently on a disappointing run of results and that needs to be addressed quickly. We now have a perfect chance with the next two fixtures to get our season back on track and to make an almighty push for the play-offs which for me has to always be the target, despite the fact it would be an overachievement on our budget for that to happen this season.
Who will Woking have to watch out for on Boxing Day?
Jake Gallagher – A tenacious, hardworking player who now plays in a further forward role since Gary’s arrival and has an attacking edge about him that not a lot of people would expect him to have. A player that always gives 100% and from speaking to him in the week, he is completely fired up and ready for the festive fixtures!
Idris Kanu – A highly rated youngster who is attracting plenty of interest higher up the football pyramid certainly has the game to create and muster chances and goals out of nothing. With the TV cameras circulating the EBB Stadium on the 26th, Idris will see this as a fine chance to impress and put a statement out to the interested suitors.
Scott Rendell – Scott will be relishing coming up against his former side and will be really chomping at the bit to get his goalscoring boots firing. A natural finisher who certainly has plenty of goals left in the tank and always one for any team to watch out for.
Finally, what is your score prediction?
I’m predicting Aldershot Town to get back to winning ways, after last year’s disappointing matches against Woking. It’s time for us to attempt to get the double crown back! Woking will certainly cause problems and come with a game plan but I’m backing Aldershot to win 3-1!
Photos by David Holmes. For a full set go to wokingfc.co.uk.
On-loan striker Matt Tubbs was pleased following a debut goal during Woking’s 3-3 draw with Eastleigh and believes The Cards have enough to get out of trouble.
Second half goals from Dealno Sam-Yorke and Luke Kandi saw the home side battle back from 3-1 down to draw against Ronnie Moore’s promotion chasing side. After the game Tubbs, an the ex-Spitfires player, told BBC Surrey it was a tough fixture but that Woking fought well to come back into it and take a point:
“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but the lads dug in today and showed character. To be 3-1 down against a team who could win this league (and get a draw), the character was unbelievable.”
The 32-year-old kept Woking in the game when his glancing header made it 1-1 and despite being happy with a point, he believes Woking could have taken all three.
“If the game went on for ten more minutes I think we would have won. It is a good point and it will be an even bigger point if we can beat Bromley on Tuesday. The second half performance was great and if we can take that into Tuesday, get a result there, then we can go in to Sutton with confidence.”
Speaking on Woking’s chance on survival, Tubbs believes he has already seen enough from the team to suggest that they won’t be facing relegation this season.
“I saw it (that Woking have enough quality to move up the league) on my first day when we played Bournemouth U23s (in a friendly), it was a really good performance. I came away from that game thinking the league position was false, there are some really good players here and we showed that today.”
Imagea by David Holmes. A full set can be viewed at wokingfc.co.uk
Woking head to Merseyside on Saturday as they go in search of their first away win of the season at Tranmere Rovers.
Garry Hill and his Woking side are likely to be in high-spirits after back-to-back wins against Torquay United and Wrexham lifted them out of the relegation zone. However, The Cards will visit a Tranmere side who will be looking to prove a point after the departure of manager Gary Brabin last weekend.
Tranmere narrowly missed out on a play-off spot last season and had made a good start to the 2016/17 campaign until defeats at Aldershot Town, Lincoln City and Sutton United saw the club dismiss Brabin.
We caught up with Rovers fan Kenny Orr to find out what is going on at Prenton Park and what Cards fans can expect.
Gary Brabin – named manager of the month (for August) on September 2nd, out of a job by the 18th of the same month. This seems weird from an outsider’s perspective, but the fans seemed to have lost faith after a good start?
I can imagine from the outside looking in, it must seem crazy, but I’m relieved Brabin has gone. Last season we setup not to get beat rather than going for wins and we didn’t reach the play-offs which was a failure in the eyes of the supporters. We were told that a more positive approach would be taken this season and it never came, even when we won. Games were becoming laborious and extremely frustrating.
Who would you like to see come and take over the vacant management position?
There is a strong rumour about Nigel Adkins, who is an ex-player/coach, as well as being a Birkenhead native. He’d be a hell of a coup but part of me just can’t see it happening. If not, I’d like to see Tony Grant (ex Everton/M.City & now coaching) given a go as he apparently has a good reputation.
Want I want to see us avoid is a long ball merchant. I’ve had enough of it after Micky Adams and Gary Brabin.
Tranmere ended last season well and just missed out on the play-offs but were damaged by a difficult start. What did you make of the standard of football and what were your highs and lows?
The standard of football is ok and not too distant from League 2. The frustration for me is how many teams will automatically go for a physical approach to most games. It’s prehistoric and unnecessary in my eyes, it would be good to see more individual skill and nous on show.
Highs – beating Chester at home with a big crowd and solid performance was great.
Lows – Losing to Wrexham at home towards the end of the season killed our faint playoff hopes. Our home form was woeful for most of the season.
A good start to this season means Tranmere are still up the right end of the table. Would fans be happy with the play-offs or has the aim got to be automatic promotion?
Most fans expect a good crack for the automatic place, settling for the playoffs now would be seen as a major lack of ambition. The playoffs are always a lottery and we haven’t won one of them since 1991!
Who will Woking have to watch out for on Saturday?
James Norwood is always a threat and our most exciting player. He’s scored a few already and it would be good too see him played up front rather than being exiled out wide now that Brabin has gone.
Finally, what is your score prediction?
1-1. I can’t see a great change under an assistant manager being given control. Our players seem very low on confidence too, so you’re visiting at a good time.
Images by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk
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