FM20 Barrow (Ep 7: January)

So my bad, I didn’t know transfer windows didn’t really apply to the National League, so during those months we were struggling player wise, I could have been signing short term players…

Anyways as mentioned last episode, January we were really just looking for some squad depth. Leeds were no help at all in this. Once again this partnership I thought would really help us sign some quality young players has been useless. We ended up bringing in two youngsters on loan, Neves of Reading is a young left winger who can also play CAM, hes currently a fringe player but his most impressive stat is 18 crossing. (Just imagine the crosses onto Scott Quigley’s head!) We also signed Stephen Wearne from Boro, another young winger who is two footed and can play on the left or right, hes currently not match fit but will be a great signing when we get him up to speed.

Unfortunately we have to pay these players wages due to us not having any links with them, thank you Leeds, they aren’t on astronomical sums but we still had to balance the books. We let young Luca Navarro go, on Β£850 a week we needed a game changing player not a youngster who probably will develop into a decent player but we needed the results now. we also let Mamadou Kone go out on loan, it leaves us a bit short of defensive cover but we will deal.

On the pitch, we had a mixed bag of results this month, We still haven’t been beaten in the league in months, however we are out of both cup competitions. Notts County was always going to be tough and Im just glad we beat them in the league earlier this year. As for the FA Cup, we got a nice little earner of a tie at home to now Premier League Sheffield United, that was always gonna be a massive ask, but as mentioned its probably set us up financially for the rest of the season.

We still sit top of the league, we are now 6 points clear going into the business end of the season, and if we have anything about us and stay clear of injuries etc, maybe automatic promotion is possible?

Player of the Month

Only one option this month really, its keeper Joel Dixon. The big man has been an absolute monster this month, pulling off some heroics to guide us through to 1-0 wins on three different occasions and quite frankily it could have been a cricket score against Sheffield United if it wasn’t for him. He also saved a penalty from Phil Jagielka in the Sheffield United game, what a man.

Getting to know: Chichester City FC

Every year there is a club that makes national and international headlines due to their success in the famous FA Cup. It really is a tribute to the competition that it still elevates clubs into the national spotlight and proves that the magic of the FA Cup is still alive.

Social media also means that we see and hear more from the players than ever before and one club that has taken advantage of this is Chichester City.

The club has recently gone viral, with players and staff posting videos of them partying in a service station after qualifying for the first round proper of the FA Cup. Whilst the FA Cup can provide funding for the next year for a club, Chichester have instead gone above and beyond and made a donation from their earnings to saving another football club in Bury FC.

Since we started writing this article it has also been announced that Chichester have received a bye for the second round of the competition, the club they would have faced Bury FC are currently expelled from the football league due to financial constraints.

The BetVictor Isthmian League side have already won six games in the FA Cup to reach the first round and after receiving a bye will hope to meet a big club in the next round.

So just who are Chichester City FC? The first Chichester Football Club was formed in October 1873 and added the title of City to it’s name in 1948. The club’s original home was at Priory Park but established it’s present head quarters in Oaklands Park in the early fifties.

The current club however, was founded in the year 2000 following a merger of Chichester City and Portfield, originally going by the name Chichester City United. In 2009 they changed to Chichester City.

The last couple of years has been a very successful one for the ‘Lillywhites’, with the club winning the Southern Combination Premier Division in 2018/19 earning promotion to the Isthmian League South East Division.

Since promotion the club have adapted very well to the level and after 6 games sit 8th in the league with games in hand on the clubs around them, mainly due to their successful FA Cup run.

From Everyone here at ‘Climbing The Ladder’, we’d just like to wish everyone at Chichester all the best for the coming seasons and we hope you get the draw you want in the next round of the FA Cup. #UpTheChi

Getting to Know: Wick FC

On the week that the draws for the early rounds of the FA Vase have been drawn, organisation begins for in some cases long distance trips to unknown grounds for ties against teams that in other cases would never usually meet.

If you are lucky you get a home time, so the relatively unknown opposition have to do the travelling. One team that has been lucky is Wick FC drawing a home tie in the FA Vase against Colliers Wood United FC.

Founded in 1892, Wick FC like many other Non-League clubs have a long and eventful past, despite the off the pitch stories though, for a great deal of their history Wick were part of the Sussex County League between 1964 and 2014, a 50 year span where Wick moved between the two divisions of the County League.

It wasn’t until the 2013-14 season following a merger with nearby team Barnham, that Wick moved into the Southern Combination Football League Premier Division.

The merger didn’t last long however and by 2015-16 the clubs had split, with Wick keeping the spot in the Southern Combination Premier Division, a league they would only last one season in before being relegated to Division One of the Southern Combination.

Crabtree Park, Home of Wick FC

Last season Wick had a steady season finishing mid table in Division One in 9th place out of 17 teams, something I’m sure the club will be grateful for after a few unsteady years.

Ahead of the FA Vase kicking off this season, Wick had their best season for a while in the competition and in the 2018-19 season got as far as the first round proper, their best ever run was in 1998-1999 when Wick reached the fourth round proper.

Therefore ahead of the 2019-20 season kicking off we’d just like to wish everyone at Wick FC all the best for the coming season in both the league and their cup competitions.

Getting to know: Whitehawk FC

Despite a disappointing 2018/19 season and suffering a relegation, Brighton’s premier Non-League club are doing everything in their power to make next season much more promising.

The very early signings of 5 new players has given the Whitehawk fans great hope for the coming season.

Founded in 1945, the hawks have had two periods of unprecedented success as they ahve risen up the non-league football pyramid from a team play Sunday League park football to within one game of an FA Cup Third Round tie at Everton in 2015.

Between 1948 and 1952 the hawks won promotion 4 times reaching as high as senior county level, this was where the club remained until 2010, when three further promotions landed the club just two leagues below the Football League, in the National League South,even reaching the play-final for promotion to the top tier of Non-League, unfortunately falling short .

On multiple occasions the club has applied to the FA to be renamed as Brighton City FC as recently as 2015 believing that the new name would “widen the profile of the club”.

Credit: Whitehawk FC. The Ultras celebrating with players.

On the pitch now and historically compared to most clubs, Whitehawk have been very successful, only being relegated four times in their history, in the past couple of years however the team has struggled to have a core of the squad mainly due to have a large number of different managers bringing in their own players and then leaving.

This uncertainty has seen the hawks relegated twice in the last two seasons, something the club will certainly be looking to turnaround this year.

Playing out of what is known locally as the Enclosed Ground but known as the Terrapura ground due to sponsorship, Whitehawk has a group of fans called the ‘Whitehawk Ultras’. The Ultras aim to have fun, as well as espousing a strong anti-homophobic, anti-sexist, anti-racist and anti-fascist stance. They promote local charitable causes, non-league football and togetherness, as an opposistion to what they see as the commercialised world of the Premier League.

The Ultras have links with similar other fans groups such as Eastbourne Town’s Pier Pressure. They have a number of original songs and rituals, as well as a fanzine The Din Monthly.The Ultras also run the club’s shop and sponsor the first team’s tracksuits, doing a great deal of things for their local club.

From everyone here at ‘Climbing The Ladder’ we’d just like to wish everyone at Whitehawk FC all the best for next season as you look to bounce back up the leagues.

Getting to know: Tooting Bec FC

Today’s ‘Getting to know’ is all about a club returning ‘Home’.

Tooting Bec FC are set to return to the Imperial Fields next season, after playing at Ground Drive this season, home of Raynes Park Vale. The return to Imperial Fields means the club will next season be ground sharing with Tooting & Mitcham FC.

The two Tooting clubs already have a long standing partnership, with Tooting Bec having trained and played on the 3G pitches at the ground for the past 7-8 years so its great news that the two clubs will be hosting League Matches, FA Vase and hopefully FA Cup games in the stadium next season.

Despite only being founded in 2004, Tooting Bec have had a very successful history. In their short life, the club have climbed from Division Two of the Surrey South Eastern combination to their current league, the Combined Counties League Division One, Step 6 of the National League System.

It looks as if the clubs success is set to continue in the near future, with the club finishing 3rd this year in their first season in the Combined Counties League. A finish we are sure they will look to push on from next year, and hopefully add another promotion to their resume.

14 years ago the club was started as a group of friends at uni, through hard work and focus they’ve now got four men’s successful men’s teams and a Ladies team that are all competing at a high level.

The club have come along way in a very short time frame, that doesn’t mean that the club isn’t very well established however, having strong links to a number of other clubs, being Charter Standard and linked to the London FA.

Everyone here at ‘ClimbingTheLadder’ would just like to congratulate everyone at ‘Bec’ for their great season and all the best as you look to push on next year.