“The 5-0 at Concord to demolish their 100% home record was spectacular”.
We asked season ticket holder Mark Doig about his team Welling United, as we approach Saturday’s top of the table clash at Plainmoor:
Hi Mark thanks for chatting to TorquayTalk, before we go on tell us a bit about yourself and how long have you supported ‘the Wings’?
I first went to Welling in the 1980s when a group of us used to watch a friend, John Bartley (Welling’s record goalscorer). When I bought my first property, I still supported a what would now be called a Premier League side and couldn’t afford to go to away games so Welling visits became more regular.
When my first daughter was born it became a matter of going and watching my local team for my football fix. From the early 2000s I started being a regular home and away supporter. I missed my first home game for nine years this season, and first away for three years one week later.
What were your expectations heading into the 2018-19 season and are you surprised at just how well you are doing?
When an almost entirely new team is put together you never know, but from having spoken to manager Steve King in the summer, I was hopeful that Welling would finish the season in the play-offs so although I hadn’t expected to be top (as we were last Saturday) at this stage, I’m not surprised that Welling are in the play-off zone. However the league is so tight that two defeats in the row would push a team down the table.
What have been your highlights of the season so far?
The 4-1 win at Chippenham was good but the 5-0 at Concord to demolish their 100% home record was spectacular.
Which Welling players should we look out for this Saturday and why?
Nassim L’Ghoul has been a revelation down the wing. Defenders kick lumps out of him but he gets up and battles on. It’s a team game, though, and there’s no obvious weak link.
Have you got the right man in charge and what sort of tactics does he employ?
How could I say no? If Welling win on Saturday they go top. He (Steve King) likes to play a passing, play it on the ground style of football but the team won’t go hiding if an opposition team tries to mix it up.
Your owner and chairman is former Crystal Palace man Mark Goldberg, tell us about how he became involved with the club and what’s his future plans for Welling United?
I don’t know all the facts about how he first became involved but his long-term plans are the redevelopment of the ground including using the area in the surrounds to build flats. As a former manager he understands the game and is giving Steve King tremendous support.
Tell us some interesting facts about Welling United?
In fifty-five years Welling have only ever suffered relegation twice, since first reaching step two in 1981. When Paul Heaton (Beautiful South, Housemartins) played a London gig two years ago, he had a Welling shirt up at the back of the set.
Are you confident of maintaining your tremendous form into the second half of the season and which teams do you think will be your main challengers for promotion?
Yes. The main challengers will be Billericay, Torquay and Woking. They are full-time and that is a big advantage. I saw Torquay at Dartford on Tuesday and the hosts probably shaded the first half. However, Torquay wore them down and were very good value for the win.
What’s Welling’s away following like and will you bring many down to Plainmoor this weekend?
It’s difficult to predict in December. I’d think about sixty but they won’t all be in the segregated away section. There was some dissatisfaction with the facilities on offer when Welling visited Plainmoor in August against Truro City.
What do you make of Torquay United dropping down to the NLS and what’s your match prediction for Saturday’s game?
The way things had been going over the previous few seasons it seemed only a matter of time before relegation. I don’t know if all the ownership issues have been resolved now but I would guess that the uncertainty must have been a contributory factor. It’s sad but no club is too big to be relegated or too small to be promoted.
As for Saturday’s game, I don’t make predictions and I never will. I’m just happy to be here on a Saturday as our last two visits have been mid-week. Good to speak to you Mark. It should be an entertaining game this Saturday – have a safe journey down to Plainmoor. Dom
Thanks to Dave Budden for providing the photos.