What a season eh? Concord Rangers fourth year in the National League may not have been as successful as our previous ones, with no cup runs and a low finish in the table, but when you look at the grand scheme of things, the club can go into the summer with their heads held high.
It’s been said before, Concord Rangers are punching well above their weight in this league, and securing another season at this level is a spectacular achievement, especially when you consider the size of our club and the support we have compared to a number of the more established NLS clubs around us.
Our high moments were few and far between, a key example being the fact we had to wait a month before getting our first win of the season away at Weston-super-Mare, then over another month before our next one came away at Margate. Of course, during those early months of the season we also saw our three cup campaigns come to an end at the first hurdle, with AFC Rushden & Diamonds beating us in the FA Cup, Welling doing the same in the FA Trophy, and our quest for a fourth Essex Senior Cup ending against Chelmsford City.
The returns of players like Jordan Chiedozie, Leon Gordon (since left) and of course former club captain Tony Stokes buoyed the side late last year, and three league wins on the spin came with victories against Poole Town, Gosport Borough and Hampton & Richmond Borough. That mini run helped push the side back up the table and could ultimately have been the difference between safety and relegation even then.
There was a 3 wins in 4 games run as January moved into February, including home wins against St Albans City (who we’d lost to on the opening day of the season) and Eastbourne Borough (who we fell to back in August). But a long, unbeaten run couldn’t be established, and inconsistent form plagued the next couple of months. It wasn’t until Easter Monday and a dominant 3-0 win over Whitehawk that our place in the Vanarama National League South for 2017/18 was confirmed.
An 18th place finish was the teams reward for a season of hard work and struggles, now we look to the summer and a time to rest, recover, and rebuild ready for another year! It’s not been easy this season, many a cross word has been said both on and off the pitch from players, officials and fans alike, but when it all comes down to it, we are all Concord Rangers and we continue to punch above our weight. The club continue to prove that they are the best club on Concord Island, and will fight through thick and thin to maintain our league status.
You Are My Concord!
Alan Jessup-Peacock – Concord Rangers Programme & Website Content Editor