“I don’t think even the most optimistic Woking fan would have predicted the start we’ve had“
The opposition interview series reaches number 9. It’s the turn of Josh Boulcott, who answers our questions on Woking FC:
Hi Josh, we meet again! Before we go on, remind readers a bit about yourself and your love for Woking FC?
Hello again! Born and bred in Woking, I’ve been supporting the cards since the age of 6, with my first match being back in 2001. I’ve been following Woking ever since, having been a season ticket holder for a number of years.
Just how satisfying was it winning the NLS play-offs and what were your hopes and expectations heading into 19-20?
With the way we ended the season in pretty poor form, it was extremely satisfying and a huge relief to win the play-offs, especially after being 2-0 down to Wealdstone with 14 minutes to go in the semi-final! With the NLS looking a competitive league this season, it was important to bounce straight back to the NL, otherwise we could have found ourselves stuck down there for a while.
Like most Woking fans, the main target for this season is simply staying up. Being one of the only part-time teams in the league, and on a small budget, staying up would represent a good season for us. A decent run in the FA Trophy or FA Cup would also be good, as last seasons run to the 3rd round was fun and great for the club financially.
The Cards have started with a bang, what do you think have been the main reasons for your success so far?
I don’t think even the most optimistic Woking fan would have predicted the start we’ve had. To have 21 points from 24 in the first month of the season is simply incredible and a testament to the players and manager. We signed on a lot of last season’s squad and they have all made the step up to this division very well, not looking out of their depth at all. We’ve also made 3 key loan signings, all of who could easily be playing at a higher level. The defence has been very solid so far, and the likes of Tarpey and Hyde up top make for a very balanced squad. Praise also has to go to the manager; Alan Dowson who’s tactics so far this season have been spot on.
How did you do at the weekend, confidence must be high heading into the game against the Gulls?
On Saturday we beat Barrow 3-2 at home, coming back from 0-1 down at half time. It was a fairly even game, with a terrible defensive mistake from Barrow gifting us the winner. Confidence within the squad will be very high after winning 6 in a row, against some fancied sides too, but the team will know that Tuesday nights match won’t be easy.
Which key players should we look out for and why?
Striker Jake Hyde is in very good form currently, having scored 6 goals in his last 4 matches, so he’ll be dangerous, especially from crosses. Arguably our best player is Toby Edser, a central midfielder on loan from Nottingham Forest who is very composed on the ball, and works hard. Dave Tarpey has also been very impressive so far this season, using his pace effectively and he has a great work-rate.
Ben Gerring’s name always crops up when this fixture comes around! How’s he doing for you?
To be fair to Ben, he’s really stepped up this season and has had a great start to the campaign. He’s barely put a foot wrong, and been our best defender. He lost a couple of stone over summer, and is certainly much fitter this season. However, he got injured on Saturday and had to get subbed off in the first half, so I’ll be surprised if he’s fit enough to play any part on Tuesday night.
The club remain part-time, is there any plans to change this – especially if the club cement their position in the NL?
I don’t believe there are any plans currently to turn the club into a full-time set up. The funds aren’t really available to have a full-time squad, so for the time being we will remain part-time. With a lot of focus on plans for the new stadium, I can’t see the directors being too keen to change to full time just yet. We turned to a more full-time model two seasons ago, and that wasn’t beneficial as we ultimately got relegated, so opinion among Woking fans is that being part-time isn’t such a bad thing.
Where’s best for the Yellow Army to find pre-match food and drinks?
There are several pubs and food outlets near the train station including a spoons and O’Neill’s and a decent newly refurbished pub called The Junction Tap. En-route to the ground from the town centre is The Sovereigns which has a large range of real ales and craft beers. Right by the away entrance there is a Snooker club that has a bar, and away fans are usually allowed in there.
What are your main memories from last season’s matches between the two sides and why do you think the Cards usually do well against United?
The three matches played last season were all close affairs, with the FA Cup win being a real smash-and-grab 0-1. The 3-3 draw was a game we really ought to have won, however we threw it away a bit at the end, not helped by a needless sending off for Gerring. We certainly have a good record against Torquay in recent years, however last season shows just how closely matched the teams are.
And finally, it may not quite have the importance or big crowd to match last season’s matches – but give us a prediction for Tuesday’s night’s meeting?
Again, I think it’ll be a closely fought match, with not too much to separate the sides. Ben Gerring will be a big miss for us, as we looked weaker defensively without him. However we look strong going forward and create chances. I’m going for a 1-1 draw.
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