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 South Central and we’re off to Hertingfordbury Park, where David Laws takes us on a guided tour of Hertford Town.
1. How do you feel about the return of football?
Great. Hopefully we will all appreciate it more and local clubs will benefit from increased interest and attendances. Fans back from step-3 and below makes perfect sense as the reality of the situation is that even at 15% of ground capacity – this is more than most clubs achieve. I think Hertford’s new capacity will be around 400 – Most attendances last season were around 150 except for the 600+ against Ware. Hopefully more fans will buy season tickets as well …
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?
Will attend pretty much all home games – perhaps less away as my preference is usually to go by train and make a day of it. Will avoid lingering in the clubhouse if over-populated. One of the positives at this level is being able to take drinks outside (except for the FAC for some reason).
3. Last season had many exciting moments before its premature end. What was your favourite moment?
The 3-3 draw away to local rivals Ware. Even the most loyal of Hertford Town fans were expecting a heavy defeat against ‘well financed’ rivals and at 3-1 up probably should have won – but it was the most inspiring game of the season
4. And what was your worst moment?
Most Hertford fans would say the 1-9 home capitulation to Westfield. But for me it was the 6-0 away defeat at Chipstead. A midweek game- torrential rain, flooded roads. Chipstead looked like scoring with every attack. We didn’t look like we really wanted to be there (which was fair enough) so I left after 70 mins due to the performance and the state of the roads. Special mention to the great pitch at Chipstead.
5. How will you do this season?
Tough to call. Last season we became (pretty much) a no paying budget club, mainly using players from the Manager’s academy. We played some nice passing football at times and had some notable wins. But overall we struggled as our final placing suggested.
We still need further announcements on the squad. I’m assuming that there will be less money around generally so perhaps that will even things out a bit. Think some clubs will do better. Staines were the whipping boys last season but they were Conf/Nat-S a few years ago so would expect them to improve. Will Ware still be well financed ? Who knows … I’m gonna go for a modest improvement and 12th place with 46 points. Think that’s being fairly positive.
6. Which matches are you most looking forward to going to- and why?
All of them. Special mention for the first game – FAC against Maldon and Tiptree – especially after their FAC heroics last season. Also Ware, Harlow who are the biggest local rivals.
7. What is your favourite away ground?
Marlow – Like the ground, the town and the train trip
8. Who do you consider your biggest rivals- and why?
It’s always been Ware. Over the last few decades they have been a division higher for much of that time. But we have been in the same division for the last 3 seasons. Hertford/Ware rivalry is centuries old and extends way beyond football ..
9. What advice would you give to any away supporter visiting you for the first time?
Come early – visit the town first – check the club’s twitter account as sometimes there are reduced booze prices for early birds. Enjoy the experience at the ground – always been a friendly club. Also enjoy the banter with the home (Stable end) fans ..
10. Who is your favourite player of all time (for your club)- and why?
Mickey Fredericks – A menace to defenders back in 1990. Around about the Paul Fairclough era. Recent call outs to Tommy Wade and Charlie Mann. Inbetween these two eras – Kevin Cooper, a great striker
11. Who will be in the top five at the end of the season?
Tooting & Mitcham Utd, Westfield, Chertsey Town, Ware, Marlow
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