Following the likes of Hull City for the years I have, it has sort of left me suspicious and a little wary of any success. For a long time, the supporters of the Tigers’ level of expectation was to be mid-table, win a cup game or two and not have financial issues! Their first promotion to the Premier League were giddy heights for sure, but the appearance in the FA Cup Final topped all that, but recently, its all become a bit meh as I’m further and further removed from the action.
But this season, my other club, the mighty Hampton & Richmond Borough, well they are within touching distance of something that will be far more amazing.
Last season, they were within 4 games of a possible relegation before dragging themselves up to 15th on the back of 4 straight wins as new manager Alan Dowson had had to grab whoever he could to keep them in the Ryman Premier League. Pre-season didn’t look to be that inspiring as many of the fans wondered if we’d score enough, but at least the defence looked sound. Play-offs? Well ok, then, that would be nice.
Not score enough? Oh my stars, how wrong we’ve been proved to be and how right Dowse was. Not enough goals? Its turned out that this season will be one of the club’s most prolific. So much so, that with two games to go, they’ve racked up over 100 goals, and even the defenders are getting in on the act, as 6′ 4″ centre back Moussa Diarra has 13 for the season!
The Beavers are on the cusp of a possible Ryman Premier League title and all is well in the world. The dressing room is full of energy and is really buzzing pregame as the tight-knit squad have shown their mettle. Teams we’d had struggled against before have been overcome and Dowson has backed the players all the way. He’s espoused an attacking philosophy, which he expanded on after a recent victory, “People pay good money to be entertained. I know I’ll get criticised when it doesn’t work, but I want my teams to attack; that’s always been my philosophy and I’m not going to change now.”
They are now just possibly one win away from the title, depending on results this week for Bognor Regis Town. Although the Rocks are third, they have enough games in hand due to a great FA Trophy run to get close to the Beavers theoretical points haul and keep us looking over our shoulder. If they should drop any points, then one win will be enough for the boys from TW12.
The team in second, East Thurrock United, are four points behind Hampton and will have to hope we get nothing from the two remaining games.
Some outsiders have already likened the Beavers’ season to that of Leicester City in the Premier League. There’s no doubt there’s similarities but its going to be more than that for the fans. The immediacy of the squad and the manager, a lovely bloke from Gateshead (Alan was manager at local rivals Kingstonian, and he never achieved this level of success with them), means that to the person on the terraces, this is a great time to be a Beaver.
Only problem might be Dowse’s rash words… but we’ll worry about that if it should arise! The final home game of the season, against Enfield Town – who themselves fancy a go in the playoffs – might see the kind of atmosphere and party you only get once or twice in a person’s lifetime. Throw in a likely generous sprinkling of media, both broadcast and print, and there’s no doubt it may be a day to remember.
However, my hereditary suspicion over success remains. I’m not really used to it, but I expect I will manage to get used to the idea.
Shame about Hull City though.