We asked supporters of our Bostik 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.
Ben Newman looks back on a season that began with despair and ended on an enormous high, and expects Worthing to push on from there.
1. What was your favourite moment of last season?
Kieron Pamment strikes- image from Marcus Hoare
For me my favourite moment of last season has to be the Billericay Town game. We went into the game still very much in danger of getting relegated and against a team that had assembled an expensive squad of players with talent aiming to win the title, but from the first moments during the game you got the sense we had a chance. The first goal we scored was a great team move finished off by Kieron Pamment, and then his second goal was a thing of beauty, chipping the goalkeeper from 25 yards out to secure a 2-1 victory. But for me the best thing was the crowd, as the atmosphere was amazing with over 1,000 people in attendance and you could see the confidence it gave the team, as we proved that on our day we could beat anyone.
2. And your worst moment?
The beginning of last season, as the club couldn’t play their home games at the Bibby Financial Services Stadium due to an issue with the pitch. This meant we had to play our first five games away from home and then groundshare with Bognor Regis Town FC’s ground, which as you can imagine hit the club hard financially. However, this puts into perspective the great job that was done by George Dowell, Adam Hinshelwood, the backroom staff and the players to achieve what the club did last season.
3. How will you do this season?
I reckon we can be the surprise team this coming season, as Adam Hinshelwood has brought in some very exciting new signings in Calum Kealy, Ollie Pearce and Will Miles. However, we have seen quite a few players leave as well, so it will be interesting to see how the team performs. Ultimately the fact that there is more stability this season than last season is a massive positive, so I would be happy with a top half finish and if we can be consistent during the season, we could potentially make a run for the play-offs.
4. Which matches are you most looking forward to going to- and why?
I would definitely say the Sussex derbies against Bognor, Whitehawk, Lewes and Burgess Hill, as these games should have great attendances and especially the first two, as it will be interesting to see how Bognor and Whitehawk come back after getting relegated last season from the National League South.
5. What is your favourite away ground?
I would have to say Lewes Football Club, as The Dripping Pan has great character, with fantastic views of the South Downs and the ground itself has a certain nostalgia as you walk through the turnstiles.
6. Who do you consider your biggest rivals- and why?
In this case, Bognor Regis Town FC and Lewes FC would be considered to be our biggest rivals and the fact we have games against both teams this season should make for great watching.
7. What advice would you give to any away supporter visiting you for the first time?
I would definitely say come along and enjoy watching a team that plays football the right way. It’s a very easy ground to get to via public transport- on the train- as well. The town of Worthing is literally a 10-minute walk from the station and at the ground the clubhouse is very modern and impressive under the main stand.
8. Who is your favourite player of all time (for your club)- and why?
Unfortunately, two of the fans favourite players I would say would have been Ben Pope and Harvey Sparks, who have sadly moved on from the club. So, I would have to say Jesse Starkey in midfield as he should really be playing at a higher level given his talent, but I’m very glad he is a Worthing FC player this coming season.
9. Who will be in the top five at the end of the season?
Folkestone Invicta, Bognor Regis Town, Margate, Leatherhead, Carshalton Athletic