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.
This time we’re in the North Division, where we head down to the docks and get the views of Tilbury fan John Heath. After the fabulous performances he witnessed from his side last season, he’s every reason to be confident heading into 2020-21.
1. How do you feel about the return of football?
Very pleased indeed.
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?
The way I approach games home and away will not alter, but we must all remember the pandemic has not gone- and for the sake of yourself and the safety of others, we must go forward with extreme caution.
3. Last season had many exciting moments before its premature end. What was your favourite moment?
Being the first side to beat Maldon and Tiptree 2-1 at their place. It was a fantastic feeling and well deserved.
4. And what was your worst moment?
After Tilbury had a great season and more than a good chance of making the playoffs, the premature end to the campaign was both sad and disappointing. I’m sure that many other football supporters, not just at our level, felt exactly the same way.
5. How will you do this season?
After maintaining most- if not all- of last season's squad and our ambitious management team, I am expecting a playoff/title challenge.
6. Which matches are you most looking forward to going to- and why?
Grays Athletic home and away. It's always a good day for both clubs and fans and normally results in some good attendances.
7. What is your favourite away ground?
Maldon and Tiptree is always a good day out and we have always been given a good welcome. This has been the case for a number of years now. I do prefer the longer away days with fellow supporters, and this adds to the atmosphere of non league football.
8. Who do you consider your biggest rivals- and why?
Grays Athletic. Although they have achieved far greater heights than us, I know some of their fans see us as rivals- and so they should, as the clubs are so close to each other. Over the years there have been many "El Chavicos" -win or lose. With the game attracting high attendances, both fans look forward to the fixture release and it’s the derby day we all look out for.
9. What advice would you give to any away supporter visiting you for the first time?
Take no notice of the negativity aimed at Tilbury. When you visit Tilbury you will be made very welcome. and many of us are available to have a beer and a chat in the clubhouse before and after a game.
10. Who is your favourite player of all time (for your club)- and why?
I have always been an admirer of goalscorers, and over the years we have had some very good ones, Chris Stowe being one of them. His goals were a strong contributing factor in winning our last piece of silverware, the Isthmian League Cup. I also admired Alex Reid during his short time with us.
Currently it has to be Lewis Smith. When he has the ball at his feet it’s normally under his complete control and will end up in the net. A bad injury last season cost him most of it, hopefully he's fully recovered and makes a successful return to scoring goals for us.
11. Who will be in the top five at the end of the season?
Maldon & Tiptree, Aveley, Tilbury, Bury Town, Heybridge Swifts
Would you like to represent your club? Get in touch now and we'll send you the details. Email Ian on firstname.lastname@example.org.