We asked supporters of our BetVictor 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.
Whyteleafe weren’t far from success last season, so perhaps this will be their year? Steve Hole is a man with faith.
1. What was your favourite moment of last season?
There are several that stand out. Battering Hastings away in the FA Trophy and the FA Cup replay win against Isthmian Premier side Corinthian Casuals are the big ones. A last kick of the game winner against Casuals. Our ground was rocking.
Also, our young manager Harry Hudson came in and changed our fortunes after we were feeling a bit low pre-season. The evening we got a draw away to high flyers and subsequent champions, Cray Wanderers was a highlight too. Several of their fans were really kind and reckoned we were the best side they’d faced.
2. And your worst moment?
The euphoria of beating Casuals in the replay was quickly shattered- after we got chucked out of the cup just days before our eagerly awaited big awayday and coach trip to National League South, St Albans. The way we were playing at that time we’d have given them a real game.
3. How will you do this season?
A bit early to tell but I hope we’ll build on our eighth place finish of last season. Harry and his assistant Calum seem to have assembled another good squad. We’ll definitely surprise a few of our league’s ‘big spenders’ just like we did last season. We’ve nicked the old Arsenal fans saying and adapted it to suit us - 'HARRY KNOWS’!
4. Which matches are you most looking forward to going to- and why?
With most of the teams in our league based in Kent or Sussex there’s always a few seaside awaydays to look forward to. I like going to Hythe. Neat little town and a cool ground. Going to Herne Bay and Ramsgate reminds me of family holidays when I was a kid! However, the evening games at Church Road are a delight. Indeed, our ground always has a really good atmosphere especially when the big teams are in town.
5. What is your favourite away ground?
There are quite a few - Lewes is great as is Carshalton’s ground but we don’t go there anymore as they are in the BetVictor Prem. Of the destinations, I guess Hastings is my favourite. There’s always a good atmosphere there, although the downside is that if you go in the grandstand you are a long way from the pitch. Neat ground though. I also like Faversham Town. They have a friendly crowd and the burgers are the best in our league in my humble opinion and the lady who runs the burger bar is brilliant. I have to admit that East Grinstead’s ground is always immaculate.
6. Who do you consider your biggest rivals- and why?
Traditionally it would be Chipstead and Croydon although there’s also longstanding rivalries with Walton Casuals and Corinthian Casuals, too, although they aren’t exactly local. They are Surrey-based like us, though. Of the teams in our league I guess East Grinstead would now be our ‘local’ derby as they are about 16-miles down the A22. Generally I like going to away grounds and in the majority of cases everyone is really friendly and welcoming. There are a couple of clubs though where the word’ hostile’ could be used, and I don’t understand that attitude to be honest. We’re grassroots football fans and ‘all in it together’ as far as I’m concerned.
There’s a great song our fans sing to both Casuals which cannot be repeated on here, sadly! It’s to the tune of a well-known Clash song though!
7. What advice would you give to any away supporter visiting you for the first time?
When you look at Google Maps, Church Road is close to the M25, the main A22 trunk road and two railway stations. In reality the ground is a bit remote so if you are coming by public transport allow yourself 15-minutes to walk to the ground. Parking can be an issue too, so park in Church Road, although be careful because there are patches of yellow lines along the road. It’s a lovely little ground though, but I am biased. There will always be a smiling face or three to welcome you to The Leafe on matchdays. We’re a friendly lot.
8. Who is your favourite player of all time (for your club)- and why?
I prefer to look forwards. We have just signed striker Ronald Sobowale and he looks incredibly exciting. If I have to look back I’d say that the destructive force that was Jenson Grant is right up there. He was a rock of a defensive midfielder. I also liked Eddie Dsane our former striker, who sadly moved to Colchester United last October.
9. Who will be in the top five at the end of the season?
Ashford United, Hastings United, Burgess Hill Town, Haywards Heath, Whyteleafe
Right, you've read Steve’s thoughts, do you want to be next? If you'd like to represent your club, then please send an email to email@example.com and we shall see what we can do!