FM20 Barrow (Ep: 4 – October)

So close to another spotless month in October, but sadly we did have one slip up in the league against Halifax going down 1-0 at home. Plenty of excuses we could use, we dominated the game with a weaker team due to injuries and players unavailable but just didn’t take our chance.

Even fielding a significantly weakened team to save some players for league games, we comfortably came through our FA Cup and have now achieved our targets for the competition. Our reward for defeating Alfreton is a tricky away trip to League Two Swindon in the first round.

On a positive note we do seem to be over the worst our the injury crisis, most of the players that were out are now working back to match fitness which is great as it means we now actually have some options picking the match day squad as some of our players were starting to get a bit jaded.

Something that is becoming an issue however is our team discipline, I don’t know how to solve the issues as the players aren’t instructed to go in hard or anything but yet we seem to accumulate a ridiculous amount of yellow cards per game! we’ve know hard 4 different players suspended for games.

Something we weren’t expecting to be an issue is international call ups, however we have a couple of players that represent island teams in North America and they keep disappearing for weeks at a time and its beginning to get frustrating but nothing we can do.

In the league we now sit second, just one point behind Ebbsfleet, they seem to be a juggernaut of a team and don’t seem to slip up! I just hope our slip against Halifax doesn’t cost us.

Player of the Month

Patrick Brough is this month’s winner. The left back has created 7 goals this month, that’s despite being suspended for the Halifax game and being an unused substitute in the FA Cup tie against Alfreton. 7 assists in 4 games isn’t bad form at all, yes the vast majority were dispatched by Scott Quigley but Brough has been solid defensively also.

FM20 Barrow (Ep 3: September)

Well what a month! The lads have suddenly found form and we’ve gone unbeaten in five games and picked up maximum points.

It wasn’t plain sailing though and after the very tough Notts County game, we had a bit of an injury crisis with six players out injured for the Chorley fixture and right back Bradley Barry suspended after picking up five yellows already. Those injured included star player from last month Lewis Hardcastle who has managed to get a double hernia and is out for the next two months.

Because of this, I dipped back into the free agent market and signed a very promising young ball playing centre back in Mich’el Parker. As you can see by our results we are a bit leaky defensively and I think the addition of more competition (And cover!) will help us plug the gaps.

This great run of games has seen us rise up the table and now we currently sit two points of table topping Ebbsfleet in third on goal difference. With our expectations being top half/play offs the board are currently very pleased with us and hopefully as long as we keep our squad in the majority fit, this can continue.

Next month see’s us appear in the FA Cup for the first time this season and the board want us to reach the first round minimum. We enter in the fourth qualifying round, I think as long as we reach the first round everyone will be happy. I don’t want the additional fixtures as we already have a small squad, but the prize money would be nice…

Player of the Month

The player of the month is fairly easy this time around, its got to be Scott Quigley. The big target man has really stepped up during our injury crisis and has scored in our last four meaning he is now our top scorer so far this season. I was a bit worried where our goals were going to come from this season, that’s why we signed Luca Navarro, but long may this form continue big man!

Non-League Transfers: A Few Statements of Intent.

Well the transfer window is well underway across the footballing world, the vast majority of players have either signed new deals at their clubs, or are on the look out for the next place to call home.

This is much the same in Non-League, clubs fighting each other to sign players that might just bring that bit of magic to their season. Despite the fee’s being much lower than the millions upon millions spent in the upper tiers of the Football League, clubs still have budgets and transfer ‘war chests’, therefore its key to have a manager with one of either two things in Non-League, good connections or be able to pay a few quid more than that lot up the road.

With this in mind we’ve tried to sift through the millions of transfer dealings that have taken place across the UK, and have picked a few that we thought showed great statements of intent by the buying club, whether that be signing a player who should be at a higher level or drastically strengthening their squad.

We aren’t sure whether this is going to become a weekly thing as the transfer window progresses but without further a do, lets get underway.

Charlie Grainger (Leyton Orient to Dulwich Hamlet)

National League South side Dulwich Hamlet have scored a great acquisition in our eyes, signing a highly rated young keeper who has appeared for the England National Youth Teams as high up as Under 19’s.

Now age 23, Grainger will be looking for a club where he can become a number one and continue to develop.

The shot stopper leaves Orient after their promotion to the Football League, the club where he came through the Youth Ranks and made his debut in adult football, against Luton Town in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, which he quickly followed up with his first League start four days later.

Adrian Clifton (Maidenhead United to Bromley)

A player moving from one mid table side to another, is something we often see throughout all leagues in the world. After a 12th place finish last season, Bromley have definitely made some signins that will improve the side.

As well as bringing in signings from Football League clubs, Bromley have made some great signings from clubs around them in the National League such as Micheal Cheek from Ebbsfleet United and the one we think is a great signing, Adrian Clifton from Maidenhead.

Clifton scored 14 League goals for Maidenhead last year, a side that finished 19th in the league. As well as banging in goals, the utility player won all 5 of the end of season awards at Maidenhead, therefore Clifton is a player im sure they will be sad to see leave.

With that, Clifton is a great signing for Bromley a proven goal scorer at this level and the man from Montserrat we are sure will help Bromley push up the table next year.

Nathan Arnold (Free Agent – Altrincham)

After taking 6 months out of the game it can be hard getting back into it, this doesnt appear to be any kind of problem for Altrincham’s new signing Nathan Arnold.

Arnold hasn’t really solidly played football since 2018, after battling anxiety during the 2017 season he appears to be back and looking to get back to his best. Despite his recent battles, Arnold is a player of great quality featuring predominantly for Mansfield, Cambridge, Grimsby and Lincoln in the past.

Arnold also did some work as part of the management at his last club Boston United, therefore if Arnold returns to his best, Alty have got a player who can help them both on and off the pitch as they look to get promoted into the National League after losing out in the playoffs in the 2018-19 season.

That’s three transfers that we feel are great moves for both the player and the clubs, should this get a good response we may look to make this a series, if not we will still probably have another look at transfers later in the season.

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.