“To quote a number of our fans, the Camrose is a loveable old dump”.
TT ASKED MATT WARMINGTON ABOUT HIS TEAM BASINGSTOKE TOWN (AND THEIR GROUND!) BEFORE THE TROPHY GAME ON SATURDAY:
Hi Matt tell us a bit about yourself what’s your connection with Basingstoke Town?
I’m Basingstoke born and raised and currently work for the local council. I run a Scout troop locally and play a bit of village Cricket in the summer. I am a sports nut and for some years held season tickets at both Basingstoke Town and Hampshire Cricket. I volunteer with British Blind Sport and was lucky enough to be selected to work at London 2012 and Glasgow 2014.
I first came to watch Basingstoke Town with my Dad when I was six and have been a regular ever since. It’s very easy for someone for Basingstoke to follow any number of Premier League or Football League sides but, with the exception of the odd game at Portsmouth (the family club), I wouldn’t want to watch my Football anywhere else.
What’s your recent form been like heading into the Trophy match?
Not brilliant, our last league win was over a month ago away at Staines Town and we’ve lost the last 3. Our two previous Trophy wins were pleasing but we haven’t followed them up in the ‘bread and butter’ games.
What have been your highlights of the season so far?
Last minute wins against Wimborne in the league and Enfield two weeks ago in the Trophy are probably the highlights of the season.
Which Town players should we look out for and why?
Sam Smart, who got a brace in the last round against Enfield, is a quick and skilful winger who switches wings on a regular basis and has scored some brilliant goals. My personal favourite was his winner at the Camrose against Hereford last season, pushed close by a 40 yard volley at Farnborough. Jack McKnight has had an exceptional season in central midfield.
Who’s the man in charge and what tactics does he employ?
Terry Brown took back the reins a couple of weeks ago after club legend Jason Bristow departed for Eastleigh. Terry took charge of the last two seasons but had moved upstairs to be Director of Football until Jason left. Terry needs little introduction to non-league fans, he got AFC Wimbledon back into the Football League and also had a decent spell at our local rivals Aldershot Town. He is the most attacking manager I’ve known at Basingstoke and I’ve enjoyed watching what he has brought to us in recent years.
What’s the Camrose like for visiting fans?
To quote a number of our fans, the Camrose is a loveable old dump. Some away fans like it, others say its dreadful. There is a lack of cover and the clubhouse being outside of the ground vexes some but there is plenty of room.
Where’s best for the Yellow Army to head for pre-match refreshments?
Come and see us at the Community Club beer tent outside the clubhouse. We sell local beer and lager for £3 a pint and all proceeds go towards ensuring the future of Basingstoke Town when the Community Club takes ownership. We are a friendly bunch, we like a chat with the opposition fans and finding out more about the challenges they and their club face.
What sort of crowds do you get and how’s the local support for the club?
Local support for the club is a constant source of discussion. I’ve already mentioned how easy it is to support any number of professional clubs from Basingstoke and hundreds do. We are a London overspill town so many people’s loyalty is to London clubs. We also have Reading and Southampton on our doorsteps. Many Basingstoke supporters are people who have a long family history in the town and its one of the few places in the town where you’ll hear a proper North Hampshire accent. The result of all this is crowds of around 300-400 despite being a town of nearly 200,000.
What are your memories of the last time the two teams played in 2015?
The game in 2015 was a bright spot in a dire season for us. It still baffles me how we went from play-offs the season before to relegation. Torquay were clearly a club in turmoil at the time and so, while it was nice to get through, it wasn’t a win I took a huge amount of pleasure from.
And finally, what’s your prediction for Saturday’s game?
I’d obviously love for us to pull off a shock but to be honest I’m struggling to see it happening. Torquay will be a completely different proposition to 2015 and I’m just not sure we have the experience and tactical nous to get anything out of the game. Sadly I will have to go 2-0 to Torquay. I have to agree with you Matt, I think we’ll win!
Thanks for talking to us and hopefully plenty of the Yellow Army will make the visit to the Community Club tent, all the best – Dom
* Photos courtesy of David Bauckham