“I think we’ll definitely finish in the top half and maybe even push for play-offs”
Media man Tom Cresswell talks about Eastleigh FC
Hi Tom so tell us a bit about yourself and what’s your role at Eastleigh?
I’m currently a third year Sports Journalism student, studying in Southampton at Solent University and for the 2019/20 season and now the 20/21 season, I’ve been working as part of the media team at Eastleigh FC. I work in a fairly large team of volunteers and you can often find me on the side of the pitch filming for ‘Inside Eastleigh’ or up in the press box running the social feeds.
How have the club coped with the strange circumstances this year?
It’s certainly been a strange summer due to the pandemic, with a lot of uncertainly that has only recently been resolved. There were some fears that without the return of football the club could be in trouble like many others, but the directors have planned the finances superbly and so we’re in a strong position off the pitch to move forward with confidence. Launching a live-streaming service and opening up more revenue streams has certainly helped and we’re all looking forward to a hopefully successful season.
What are your expectations for the team this season?
My expectations for the team this season? I’ve been very impressed with the recruitment and we’ve also been able to keep the large majority of last season’s squad. Combining this with our big win over Barnet on Saturday has made me very optimistic for the season and I think we’ll definitely finish in the top half and maybe even push for play-offs if we can get a good run of results going.
What signings did the club make before season start?
The signings we’ve made so far are, in my opinion, fantastic. We’ve been able to bring in players in every area of the pitch, creating more competition for places and having more cover in key areas, something we lacked last season. Joe Tomlinson and Abdulai Baggie join us after superb seasons in the National League South last season, as well as Dan Smith joining from Bognor Regis, another young player hungry for success. We also brought in two lads from Notts County, defender Pierce Bird and Number One goalkeeper Joe McDonnell.Ben House joined from Reading, adding to a front line which is now full of quality.
Our key players? I look at our top scorer last season Tyrone Barnett, who is easily the best aerial player I’ve ever seen play. Sam Smart is a tricky winger with a wicked cross so he’s definitely up there too. Jack Payne pulls the strings in the middle and can pick out any pass at any distance and make it look easy.
Who is the gaffer and what tactics does he like to use?
Our man in the dugout is former player Ben Strevens, who’s been in charge for nearly two years. He and assistant Jason Bristow are superb man managers and get the players really motivated for each and every match and with matches behind closed doors, you can really hear much they push the lads on the pitch.
It was some start for you guys at Barnet, what was key to that win?
I think that the key to the win at Barnet was the togetherness the squad has. They’re all good mates and that’s reflected in the way they play and subsequently celebrate. Strevs knows each players strengths and looks to play each and every player in a role that he knows they can flourish in, and that was certainly shown at The Hive.
What clubs do you think will be challenging for promotion this season?
I think that the clubs challenging for the top spot this season will be Stockport and Notts County. Yes both lost on the opening day, but they’ve both done very well with their signings over the summer and when they get into the groove, they’ll be the teams to beat. I think the other play-off bound teams will be Hartlepool, Yeovil, Halifax and Solihull (or maybe us sneaking in there too!).
Plenty of TUFC supporters will stream the game on Tuesday night, what should they expect from the coverage?
This will be the debut for our streaming service, so first and foremost, please be patient with it! It’s worked well in our preseason matches so there shouldn’t be too many issues. We’ve got a new high-quality camera to match our high-quality commentators, Henry and Mat, who will be making their live debuts.
And finally, what’s your match prediction for the game?
I think that the result will be close like last season’s matches. I think it’ll be a 2-2 draw, or one side may just edge a narrow win, but I predicted a 1-2 to us on Saturday so I could be very mistaken!