We asked supporters of our Isthmian League clubs to preview the new season, reflect on the old and predict the final outcome. Their predicted 1-20 (or 22) will be worked into a final table which you will see just before the big kick off.
We’re heading North, where it’s jam today and jam tomorrow for Maldon & Tiptree. David Garwood chases away the wasps.
1. How do you feel about the return of football?
I can't wait for the season to start and see some football. It really has been a long time. I don't think at our level there will be any problems with social distancing or any of the other protocols as there are not enough spectators to give any problems.
2. The world has changed enormously since you were last able to watch a live football match. Will the pandemic change your approach to watching the game- will you attend as many matches as you used to, and spend as much time at the ground/in the clubhouse, etc?
I don't think the pandemic will change my approach to the games. As I am a committee member and take the money at the gate, I am committed to attend all the matches and will probably visit all the away games.
3. Last season had many exciting moments before its premature end. What was your favourite moment?
Last season will live long in the memory of everybody associated with Maldon and Tiptree. We had made good progress in the FA Cup before being drawn at higher level Royston Town in the final qualifying round. The lads played really well to come away with a 3-1 win. The following Monday saw us proudly hosting the First Round draw on BBC television. We were drawn away to Football League Division Two side Leyton Orient. What a wonderful day that was with a 2-1 win to us the outcome to delight our 670 odd supporters who celebrated with a traditional pitch invasion. The magic of the FA Cup certainly shone on us that day . We featured strongly in the BBC highlights show that evening and Jorome Slew's goal, when running from one penalty area to the other. took the goal of the Cup award. Things were not over yet as the next round saw us at home to another Football League side, Newport County, with the game being shown live on BBC Television. It was almost like a scene from War of the Worlds with masses of satellite dishes, enormous pylons topped by additional flood lighting, pitch perimeter adverts flashing round the ground, numerous famous faces and a full house of enthusiastic supporters. Unfortunately, we could not reproduce the previous result and fell to a narrow defeat although the team had done us proud with a once in a lifetime performance that is unlikely to ever be repeated.
4. And what was your worst moment?
Having the season called off when we were well in front in the league and looked almost certain to at last gain promotion.
5. How will you do this season?
It's into the unknown a bit this season as we have lost virtually all of last season's side which means we will start with a completely new team. I am hoping for a play off place but the league looks just as strong this season and it's going to be very difficult to replicate last season's successes.
6. Which matches are you most looking forward to going to- and why?
Going to play Romford at Barking to see their new 3G facility.
7. What is your favourite away ground?
AFC Sudbury for the good spectator view, the catering and welcome given.
8. Who do you consider your biggest rivals- and why?
Heybridge Swifts as they are only a couple of miles down the round. They will be ultra-keen to get back at us as we held the upper hand last season
9. What advice would you give to any away supporter visiting you for the first time?
It's only a short walk down to Maldon Promenade so get here early and visit the moored-up Thames Barges There is hot food and drink available in the ground and the bar is open well before the game starts. A new stand is now available on the club house side of the ground.
10. Who is your favourite player of all time (for your club)- and why?
Charlee Hughes ran him close with his performances last season, but although he has been gone a while now I've not seen anyone better than Billy Roast- who exuded class and always seemed to have time and space with his ball distribution excellent.
11. Who will be in the top five at the end of the season?
Canvey Island, Aveley, Romford, Maldon & Tiptree, Cambridge City.
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