We asked supporters of our Pitching In 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. Adam Best is a certified Tooting-aholic, and is showing no sign of shaking that addiction.
1. Thinking about last season- what there was of it- were there any highlights for you?
Bognor away in the cup was a brilliant day. We woke on the morning of the tie to news that we were about to enter another lockdown and that it would likely be our last game for a while. Turned out to be a LONG while. As it was, the Bog End travelled in numbers and enjoyed a great away day by the coast, in first the driving rain and then lush autumn sunshine. It was also good because it showed that Tooting are a club that’d be comfortable at a level above. We lost after missing a penalty that might have changed the course of the tie. As it was, we had a brilliant day out and filled the good time coffers for a while.
The major highlight, of course, was the run that took us to glory in the London Senior Cup. In particular, the semi-final vs Hanwell at Haringey. It was an absolutely incredible football match that ended after 11pm. Our names were on the cup once that result was secured. Winning the cup was an amazing way to round off an excruciating period for the club and its fans, testament to the vision Ash and Cornelius have and testament also to the will of the players. Much to be proud of.
2. Moving on to your current squad- which players do you think will make a big impact during the 2021-22 campaign?
There are a number of players at the club for whom, if it isn’t disturbed, this season could be huge. It’s hard not to imagine we’d have lost some young men to steps above us had consecutive seasons not been curtailed. Akheem Belford is a defender of real quality whose form has been brilliant since his return from serious injury a year or so ago. Kyrique Garvey-Williams has had dreadful luck with injuries but a run of games could cement him in our midfield. The glimpses we’ve seen have been hugely promising. Mark Waters has quickly become a favourite since arriving through trials last year and Jake Rose probably belongs somewhere closer to the full-time game than he is. But please don’t tell anyone. If you’ll forgive me one more name- Dontai. He is capable of giving centre halves up and down the division an absolutely horrible time. I think he probably will.
3. Realistically, how do you think you’ll do this season?
Realistically, I think we have to be looking to get promoted. Of course the league has been shuffled about and there are new unknowns, but I think we should be aiming to finish at the top of the league, or as close as possible to it. I hope this is the target for the management. This is not to say I *expect* it, but I think the squad and the spirit Ash and Cornelius have put together are *capable* of achieving it.
4. Which matches are you most looking forward to going to- and why?
Sutton Common Rovers aren’t rivals as such as we’ve got no history with them, but it’s good to have something akin to a local derby to look forward to. And EVERYONE fancies Guernsey away. A good few of the Bog End have been before. Got to hope for the fixture there being on a Saturday in the spring, as a Tuesday in November seems less possible.
I’m looking forward to Imperial Fields the most. I love matchdays at home.
5. What is your favourite away ground?
I was looking forward to Whyteleafe. Been before for a cup game and really enjoyed it. That whole situation is gutting for the supporters of that club. As a relatively green fan for aways, I’ve not been to the same away ground twice, I don’t think. I’ll always have fond memories of Haringey’s ground because of our win there in the London Senior Cup.
6. Who do you consider your biggest rivals- and why?
Dulwich. Because it’s Dulwich.
7. What advice would you give to any away supporter visiting you for the first time?
It’s a CLASSIC answer that I’m sure has been on these pages before- but get jerk chicken from Shak.
Don’t get off at any Tooting station and expect to walk to the ground.
Be sure to chat to some of our celebrities- Hackbridge Harry is one of the nicest lads in non-league. Again, this is a well-worn answer, but we’re genuinely a good bunch on the Bog End. A broad church. Come say hello.
8. Who is your favourite player of all time (for your club)- and why?
I’ve only been attending for 3 or 4 years and arrived when Billy Dunn was in his pomp. He was my first TMUFC hero. Dominic Morgan Griffiths took over that mantle until his departure last year.
9. Who will be in the top five at the end of the season?
Tooting and Mitcham Utd, Hanwell Town, Chertsey Town, Bracknell Town, Basingstoke Town
Right, who’s next? If you’d like to represent your club, email Ian on email@example.com
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