Welcome to View From The Opposition. This is our website feature that we will be putting out every week ahead of our upcoming matches this season. Tomorrow afternoon sees the Beachboys welcoming the ‘Crusaders’ to the Aspect Arena to take on Hungerford Town for our 5th Vanarama National League South game of the season and we’ve two fan interviews for you all to read.
The ‘Crusaders’ managed by former Forest Green rovers, Swindon Town and Eastleigh player, Ian Herring currently sit in 20th place, apart from draws against Promotion chasers, Wealdstone and Hemel Hempstead, there’s little to be too happy about, a loss to St Albans and thrashing by Chelmsford City (6-0) wouldn’t have been the start the ‘Crusaders’ would’ve wished for.
We spoke with ‘Crusaders’ fans, Gavin Davis and Chris Allen to find out a little more about the club:
1 – What has it been like supporting Hungerford Town over the last few years?
GAVIN: “It’s been brilliant really. Supporters know that for the size of our club we’ve been punching well above our weight for the past 5 or 6 seasons and year after year we price the doubters wrong.”
CHRIS: “Missing the play offs on goal difference; losing in the play off semi finals; winning a play off final. This is our third season in the Vanarama South, survival might be the biggest achievement yet. Our first season resulted in us failing to make the play offs because lack of seating. Turmoil followed and last season we lost our main financial backer, manager and core of senior players. This exodus continued through the summer. Manager Ian Herring is now rebuilding with a young side.”
2- How Do Think Pre-Season Went For The Club?
GAVIN: “We almost had to rebuild the squad from scratch in pre-season after a mass exodus of players. Results and performances weren’t anything to get excited about. Lots of trialists came and went but the management team did well to bring a squad together in time for the start of the season.”
CHRIS: “Preseason was concerning because some senior players agreed to stay then changed their minds. This made the manager’s job even more difficult. Trialists appeared throughout the preseason programme which in my eyes was too brief anyway. Coming away from Winchester City having lost 6-0 was the low point. But what do preseason results actually count for? Three of our first four performances have been very encouraging. We were delighted that James Rusby & Ritchie Whittingham stayed with us. Signings such as Ramone Rose & loanee, Harvey Bradbury will help youngsters who have graduated from our academy or been brought in.
3 – What Are Your Hopes For The Season Ahead?
GAVIN: “The supporters’ hopes are to stay up – simple as that. The club has been through massive turmoil over the last 12 months. We know our budget is tiny. We know that the players are only here because they want to play for HTFC. We’ll be happy with another last day escape.”
CHRIS: “Our hope for this season is survival. We know this is as high as we can realistically go. Is our true level a division or two lower? We like it here and we are not ready to leave yet. Even if it goes to the last day as it did last time round; what a great day out that was. We are widely regarded as relegation favourites and the disrespect that goes with that can sting a bit. But it can also be a motivation, to prove people wrong. We are used to being underdogs, its a role we are comfortable with. Lads that play for Hungerford Town this season can really make a statement to enhance their playing futures. We are still looking for that first win but have taken points off Wealdstone and Hemel. All their respective moans about the state of our admittedly threadbare pitch and resting of players for tougher tests can’t disguise the fact that they thought they were entitled to turn up and roll little Hungerford over. St.Albans beat us with the last kick of the game. Chelmsford caned us but we bounced back so well at Hemel, we were proud of all the players. The manager ended up in goal for 75 minutes; adversity made us stronger.”
4 – Who are the key players that we should be looking out for this Saturday?
GAVIN: “Can’t tell you who the players to watch are – we need the element of surprise!!”
CHRIS: “Harvey Bradbury has impressed me, he is prepared to work tirelessly up front and has a bit of fire about him, we like that. Alfie Whittingham who joined from Havant is bedding in well, has a few tricks and works hard. At the back Marvel Ekpiteta in the centre of defence has been something of a revelation, coming on leaps and bounds. We have not seen much of another signing Tommy Ouldridge yet but he looks full of potential. Player manager Ian Herring could literally turn up anywhere on the pitch, played 75 minutes in goal at Hemel without conceding, talk about leading by example.”
5 – What Is Your Predicting Starting 11 For The Game?
CHRIS: “My line up for Saturday :
Goalkeeper – honestly no idea following injury to Jokull Andresson on Tuesday night . ME if necessary.
Defence – Marcus Johnson-Schuster , Marvel Ekpiteta, Ian Herring, Tommy Cooney
Midfield – Ramone Rose, Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis, Ritchie Whittingham, Alfie Whittingham, Alex Fragata
Striker- Harvey Bradbury”
We would like to thank Gavin and Chris for being the contributors to this feature that we will be posting ahead of every Concord game this season. We would also like to wish him and all of the Hungerford Town fans all the best this season, except on the return match, haha!