Vanarama National League South fan preview: Mark Hyde talks us through a big ten months
League sponsors Vanarama have been getting the fans’ perspective ahead of the new season - which kicks off this Saturday.
Just like that the new season is nearly upon us - what have Stones fans got to look forward to?
Plenty. Pre-season is always exciting for football fans but with a new management team and a large influx of exciting looking players, I think it’s fair to say we are as positive a bunch as we have been in recent years.
It was oh so near last year. Dean Brennan is now in the hot-seat, so can you put up another big promotion push?
The play-off semi defeat in such a cruel last few minutes was only half the story to be fair. Our home record last season, like the previous three or four years, was poor. Dean has done his homework, he has a points target in mind - though not telling us what it is! He is talking confidently.
What’s been the best bit of business done over the past few months?
It’s difficult to say to be honest. Getting the correct management team in place was probably the most important bit of business the club has done. We like stability in Ruislip, Dean and Stuart are only our third management team in 25 years. Listening to Dean his knowledge of teams and players at this level is amazing. He looks to have identified the weaknesses the fans saw last season and looked to rectify them in a sensible and financial sustainable way.
So what will be different this season from last?
We were a little short of firepower last season. So based on our pre-season so far I would say goals. That said, my pre-season judgments are often a little sketchy!
Which player will be your one to watch coming August 3?
Again tricky but most of the new signings look good so far. One thing I can assure you is that Jonathan North in goal will as always prove a match winner on a number of occasions this season.
Who are the other sides to watch out for and could be in the promotion mix?
Havant & Waterlooville - top manager, finance and big signings. Billericay - not necessarily for their league form but they will undoubtedly keep us entertained. Dulwich look like they have made some good signings. The incredible crowds they are attracting and being such a well-run club can only benefit them long term.
What ground are you most looking forward to packing your bags for?
We love a weekend away at Wealdstone - past invasions of Truro and Torquay look likely to be replicated on a Bank Holiday Monday in Weymouth this season.
And what game would you like to win more than any other?
Well if we are beating Havant, Dulwich etc. then we would presumably be in a good place so let’s say them!
Let’s end with a big one. Where do you predict your team will finish next season?
Not getting involved in predicting placings but play-offs would be nice... as well as a cop out answer! We would love to see an FA Cup run to at least the first round however and most importantly to win our first FA Trophy game! Wealdstone fans take the FA Trophy very seriously and really don’t like going out early. A Middlesex Senior Cup win is also long overdue, we last won it in our double winning season of 1984-85!
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