Ed from 1912 Exiles Podcast discusses Newport County
The 1912 Exiles is about to enter our fourth season, and gets stronger every year. We try to offer an informed fans’ perspective on all things County as well as looking at the wider issues facing clubs in the lower leagues.
PRE-SEASON SO FAR
Unlike previous years, we’ve got our transfer business done early, which bodes well and reduces the accusations of us panic-buying as the season approaches. On paper, the signings look good: Adam Lewis (LB, on loan from Liverpool), Aaron Wildig (MF, free transfer from Morecambe) and Declan Drysdale (DC, free transfer from Coventry) are probably the names which have got people most excited – but we’ve also signed some young talent in Sam Bowen (MF) and Chanka Zimba (SC) from Cardiff City. But until they play some competitive games, it’s hard to tell anything for sure. They did thrash local non-league side Undy Athletic, but that aside it’s hard to gauge with any certainty yet.
EXPECTATIONS FOR 22-23
After a shaky start and the departure of Mike Flynn as manager, many of us expected a season of mid-table mediocrity, only for new manager James Rowberry to fire a rocket up the team and get us flirting with the automatic places in the early months of 2022. In the end, a dip in form from a tired and stretched squad saw us fall to an 11th place finish, but along the way we played some exceptional football with goals galore at both ends. Another entertaining season like that, perhaps with some cup runs to boot, would represent progress – especially after an exodus of good young loan talent.
Of the established players about whom we know a bit more, Cameron Norman at right-back (or wing-back) creates an awful lot down our right-hand side and represents a key threat. In midfield, the diminutive James Waite can be a bit of an ‘angry wasp’ in the centre of the park, full of energy and covering a lot of ground; it doesn’t always lead to something, but he has proved capable of scoring eye-catching goals.
James Rowberry has generally played a 5-3-2 with wing-backs, but occasionally has played a 4-4-2. Either way, the key last season was having a dynamic and energetic midfield who would press high, force mistakes and then counterpunch by surging forwards. We can expect more of the same this season, but it may take a few months for that to bed in with so many new faces. We keep the ball well on the deck, which makes a refreshing change from a few seasons back when we played a much more agricultural brand of football.
VISITING AWAY SUPPORT
A trip to the seaside in the middle of a heatwave – what’s not to like?!? Torquay is only 90mins or so from Newport, and represents one of the shortest trips we’ll face over the coming months with most of the teams in Div 4 hailing from the north of England – so it wouldn’t surprise me if a few hundred go down, especially as we’ve not played at Plainmoor since 2014.