“Harry Wheeler and Jamie O’Hara have done a great job since returning to the club”
Billericay Town season ticket holder Ian Parkins answers our questions about the Ricay boys, as we build up to Saturday’s blockbuster game in Essex:
Hi Ian, thanks for answering our call – before we talk about your team tell us a bit about yourself and how long have you supported Ricay?
I’m a bit of a newbie supporter having attended my first game in October 1993 when I moved to the town. I therefore missed our heyday in the 70’s when we won the FA Vase three times in four seasons. I bought shares in the club, along with a number of fans, a few years ago when the club needed a cash injection to stay afloat. I have a season ticket and travel away regularly.
How’s the team’s recent form been approaching the United game?
Our form since Harry returned has been excellent. Beaten only once in the League in 8 games at the hands of our bogey team East Thurrock who played the conditions far better than we did.
Life never appears to be dull at Ricay! What’s been your highlights of the season so far?
Highlights of the season so far include the two games at Plainmoor against Truro where we beat them 4-0 and the great comeback against your good selves where it finished 2-2. Bath away was great too on a Tuesday night with a backs against the wall victory.
Who are your key players and why?
Key players for us are Joe Kizzi at right back, pace, goals and solid defensively too and Sam Deering our pocket-sized midfield maestro who unfortunately has been suffering from injury this season but is class when on the pitch. With the departure of Jake Robinson, both Adam Coombes and Moses Emmanuel have admirably filled the gap from a goals perspective.
How are the current managerial team doing and what tactics do they employ?
As mentioned before Harry Wheeler & Jamie O’Hara have done a great job since returning to the club. They have fired up the players and got them to believe in themselves even if we are losing. The squad has been drastically reduced but the players left have responded well and the play-offs are a possibility.
We can’t do a q&a without mentioning owner Glenn Tamplin, what is the latest in regards to his ownership of the club?
Glenn took some time out in the US and has come back refreshed. He is much more in the background now, but appears to be as committed as ever. After spending over £2m on ground and pitch improvements his legacy is permanent. The club was literally falling to pieces and we were in danger of dropping into Step 4 on the non-league ladder. Four trophies in two seasons and a trebling of average gates, plus national recognition whether positive or negative is some achievement.
Can Ricay achieve promotion this season and what are your thoughts on the animosity the club receives from opposing supporters?
I think we have a strong chance of reaching the play-offs and after that it could be any one of six teams although I feel that both Woking and Torquay will be promoted as they have the strongest squads. Football is a funny game though. I feel we have received less abuse than last season simply because we are a smaller team in a big pond. It was fun last season though being the centre of everyone’s vitriol. We took the piss out of ourselves with t-shirts etc. and hopefully you will hear us singing 1-0 to the circus boys. This year we have focussed on staying in the division and quietly going about our business. The last and only time previously at this level we were immediately relegated on 41 points. This season has been a massive improvement on that and we have been mostly competitive.
I’m not sure about the quietly bit Ian! What’s the AGP Arena like for visiting supporters and how’s the atmosphere at home games?
Billericay is a historic town and has a football team to match. The stadium is a pleasure to visit and we often get compliments in that respect. The game on Saturday will be segregated and depending on how many you bring you will have the pleasure of sharing an end with the vocal home support for one half. The supporters have a large repertoire of songs and love to banter with the keeper and defence. The ends are very close to the pitch making interaction with the players very easy. I think your fans will enjoy it especially as they will be able to drink on the terraces….proper football.
Where’s best for the Yellow Army to grab pre-game refreshments?
Billericay high street is blessed with many pubs, some historic, some brand new. Go for a pub crawl and try them all. The ground is walking distance from the high street.
It’s a big match this Saturday, give us a match prediction?
Tough to call. Going for another 2-2 draw. Thanks Ian I’m sure it will be a cracking game, with a cracking atmosphere – we need those 3 points though! Dom