Stuart discusses the Beavers ahead of the Cup game at Plainmoor
Actually, I’m a relative ‘Newbie’. This is my third full season with the Beavers – although my first was the COVID majorly disrupted one (behind closed doors!)
I was previously 35 years with near neighbours Staines Town, where I was part of the Management Committee for two decades, performing several roles and doing my bit during the Swans most successful period of the late ‘noughties’. However, I cut all my associations when the new (last) owner took over and then watched from afar as the club sadly died over the course of those three seasons – unforgivable mis-management, I’m afraid!
I chose Hampton, having ‘flirted’ with a few Clubs and following half a season of topping-up my non-league ground ticks – Plainmoor this weekend is my 272nd new ground. It’s such a friendly, homely and humble club who’ve managed to sustain football at a serious level and everybody made me feel very welcome from Day 1. I love it.
FA CUP SO FAR
We drew Bognor Regis Town away in our opening round, on the day I ended up in Bangor – and, no, I didn’t misread the fixture! We were instead delivering my daughter to Uni, so I had to follow our game via Twitter and was delighted when we scored a 2-0 win. In the last round, we defeated Bristol-based Paulton Rovers, at home, 6-1 (honestly, it could’ve been 10!)
Not bad to be honest, we’ve only lost one (narrowly, 1-2 at Dartford) out of the last six. The season has been a little frustrating in that, personally, I feel you could have made a case for us to have won every single game! It’s been really fine margins. But, we’re a young side and I’m confident we’ll keep on improving.
This season’s squad was a bit of a rebuild and the players that came in have all made a good impression to be fair. New signings like Tommy Wood and Stefan Ilic have looked very promising. But for me, two of the established, longer-serving players Jake Gray and Ruaridh Donaldson have been consistently excellent and they’re my two favourites.
Gary McCann was well known to me before I came to the club – I used to watch him in play in goal for both Hendon and Aylesbury United. He’s a terrific manager with excellent knowledge and experience of the game on many levels. He’s also so approachable and always willing to chat and chew over stuff..anytime! As for the set-up, well…I leave that down to him, I’m keeping schtum!
That’s actually a tough question, as we have a much deeper squad this season with plenty of quality and options all over the park. But, if you’re asking me, here goes:
Salamon, Block, Donaldson, Inman, Davis, Miller-Rodney, Vincent, Shokunbi, Wood, Gray, Ilic. But, I’m still leaving out two or three that I’d be more than happy to start here.
I know a good amount are letting the train take the strain today and we have two minibuses coming, along with several others making their own way down the A30/A303. Hopefully, we’ll be approaching a couple of hundred once we’re all assembled. We’ll make some noise!
STRENTHS OF THE TEAM
Hard work and team work. I do get a really good vibe from the boys, they’re beginning to hit their stride.
You know, I went strong immediately on a draw here at Plainmoor and I’d be delighted to bring you guys back up to the Beveree on Tuesday! Prediction: 1-1