Staying up, staying up, staying up...?

Discussion in 'Hampton and Richmond Borough FC Unofficial Forum' started by SteveM, Apr 16, 2019.

  1. Adam

    Adam Member

    Nice one! When Dowson left us my hope for this season was to just not get relegated. Even when we had a goodish start and I remember speaking to Dave Smalley at one point and he said we’re after the playoffs. I still thought a good season would be retaining our place in this division. Was always going to be a transitional season in my opinion. The Cup run made it a better one. Here’s to next season.
    Anyway I knew we’d be safe at this point that’s why I’m off on holiday on Friday!! Nothing but boring end of season games to miss...
    SteveM likes this.
  2. tony

    tony Member

    Mathematically safe but I had no concerns after beating Wealdstone. Like Adam I felt a lower half finish was most likely given the squad we opened with. Talk of competing for the play offs looked a bit fanciful although I was pleasantly surprised when we got ourselves into second place early on with a good run of consecutive wins. However, the home defeat by Billericay seemed to be a bit of a turning point as, Cup aside, we hit hit an equally bad run of defeats conceding early at one end and goals drying up at the other. Confidence ebbed away and it looked as if management were struggling to find a way out of the downward spiral. There were some truly hopeless performances particularly at home but we seemed to find it a little easier on the road where we managed good performances at Oxford, Dartford and Billericay which saved our season. Consistency was a real problem. Resort to the loan market became inevitable with the usual mix of some good some bad. Only four players from the first league game appeared in the Wealdstone line up and two of those, McLaren and Sprague spent much of the season out injured so can hardly be counted as regulars. It is hard not to compare with Dowse’s squad and given a not too dissimilar budget, it has to be said that few players staked a claim to be viewed as good as we had under Dowse.

    Dickson started brilliantly then faded. Lovelock made some unbelievable saves but ended up out of form and out of the team. Will he be given another chance next season? Ruddick had a steady season and rarely let us down. Downer was clearly a cut above the rest when he played but missed far too many games to build a future around. Others showed occasionally they might have a future at this level but lacked consistency and were in and out of the line up such that getting a settled side proved difficult.

    Much for the manager to think about as he looks to build the squad for next season. It will be a tougher league with some bigger and better funded clubs joining us. Getting the right sort of players will be a challenge as ever. Gary McCann has a bit more time to assemble the squad with the knowledge of what is needed. Whether he can land the players needed to avoid a repetition of the last two thirds of the season only time will tell.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  3. Lord Elpus

    Lord Elpus Member

    Nail on the head. And well done to Gary and his staff for achieving safety with three games to go.
    However I am a bit concerned that after such a season of struggle we're clearly facing yet more rebuilding and we're going to be a tough sell to the type of player we really want to see, i.e. those of a standard like Kiernan, Wassamer, Diarra etc and we end up with Bostik League journeymen. If that happens then it's another hard season in store. Pre-season is going to be vital then but in my view we need to be 100% sure of our line up from the very first league game and not still tinkering. I very much hope that a lot has been learned this season and we are at least competitive next year.
  4. Very good summary Tony.
    Always felt possible playoffs was very unlikely, perhaps illustrating the lack of appreciation of the requirements at this level. As you wrote, the key will be to bring in players who can play at this level and have been regular starters at this level in the past. Even Dowse got it wrong when he bought in players from Isthmian Premier, for example Moss and the Romanian centre back.
    Not many of the current squad would be first choice next season based on what we have seen, some regulars this season might spend more bench time next season, but might allow more rotation within the squad.
    Understand planning is progressing for 19/20 so wait with interest.
  5. Whoryer

    Whoryer Member

    I was going to say alot of what Tony has already said.Next season the league is looking likely to be even stronger with the clubs coming up and down.Gary said the 1 thing that has surprised him about the league is it's more physical and less football is played than the league he is used to,so hopefully he has learnt from this,and he will sign bigger stronger athletic types players that do well in this league not the lighweight injury prone players we've had this season.Then hopefully we will have a more settled team and squad.
  6. Adam

    Adam Member

    I see that next season this league will only relegate 2 teams as the league grows to 24 for the following season. This will allow 4 teams to be relegated in the future so 2 teams can be promoted from each of the 4 divisions below.
  7. Larry

    Larry Member

    Ideally we need Woking to stay and join the teams with the larger attendances to come down and put many pennies on our gate!
  8. Hampton mad

    Hampton mad Member

    IMO Woking will not get promotion. Dowson has a terrible record in League Play offs. Also they have not won in there last five games. I expect Welling to beat them in the final.
    SteveM likes this.
  9. SteveM

    SteveM Member

    So everyone happy to stick with Gary and confident that he can assemble a better squad for next season then? Amazing what a difference a couple of unexpected wins makes.
  10. hrbfc__fan

    hrbfc__fan Member

    No one has said that, but you cannot really sack a manager for keeping you up but just because we got two fluke wins doesn’t all of a sudden make him the man for the job but like some have said securing a national league safe place was vital so I guess you have to give him one more chance next season however if he produces the same season as this years next year then there may be questions asked of him
  11. hrbfc__fan

    hrbfc__fan Member

    Brendon Kiernan winner 90th minute to silence Dowse
    SteveM and Hampton mad like this.
  12. tony

    tony Member

    It’s not our choice of course. Some credit due to Gary for turning it around in the end but that should not deflect from the need to analyse why we fell away so badly and flirted dangerously with relegation. It will be for Gary and his team to convince / reassure the club directors and the Supporters that things will improve next season but of course that depends what financial resources he has to play with. There has been plenty of comment on here as to perceived shortcomings of the squad, so I for one am hoping to see a fair bit of churn in players. Better players is the easy and obvious answer. Bit more difficult in reality with plenty of competition and bigger budgets.

    If we start off badly then the pressure will build quite quickly as no one wants to see a repeat of last season. If the budget is reduced then there has to be acceptance that it’s not all down to the manager and we may need to find our level.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  13. Lord Elpus

    Lord Elpus Member

    I think one of the key things to remember is that the last time we were relegated, some of the decisions about players who started were frankly just clueless, for example, playing tall defenders up front in games we had to win, when there were perfectly fit forwards on the bench. McCann has never made calamitous decisions like those at least, which gives a lot of credence to the idea that the whole season this year has been a learning curve. Fair enough. I suspect the time to judge will be around the end of September/mid October when whatever kind of start we have made will be evident. This season we were OK up until we won at Eastleigh in the Cup and then the form fell away pretty quickly. The Oldham game papered over the cracks somewhat but it was downhill after that. I still think the attacking style of play Gary generally tries to play is good but it needs a different type of player in this division where strength counts for much more.
  14. SteveM

    SteveM Member

    Anyone else planning to go to their play-off semi-final to support the away side in Hampton garb?
  15. One slightly random thought.
    Last season Hendon just missed out in the playoffs whilst Leatherhead were in mid table . Both managers moved up, Sammy Moore went to Concord and look where they are this season. Would not think Sammy’s budget is much greater than ours.

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