By Barry Ward from The Cold End blog
After an eight season break it’s great to see Bracknell Town at step four of the non-league ladder. A town with a population over 80,000 people deserves to have a team as high up the pyramid as it can get and I hope local people get up and out to support their team at Larges Lane.
So, what can The Robin’s fans expect from their new Bostik League South Central Division?
Firstly and perhaps unfortunately they will have to get used to the M25 with teams like Cheshunt, Chipstead, FC Romania, Hertford Town, Waltham Abbey and Ware in the division. I’m sure a few away wins will help those long journeys back to Berkshire over the season.
Bedfont Sports finished second in the Combined Counties League Premier Division with a thirteen point gap to champion’s Westfield who were also promoted.
Sports play at the Bedfont Recreation Ground which is a stone’s throw from Heathrow so if you like spotting planes as well football this is an away-day of your dreams. The Eagles, as they are nicknamed, were only formed back in 2002 and have climbed through the Middlesex County League and Combined Counties League.
They are not to be confused with Bedfont & Feltham who play at The Orchard which is next door to their ground – This is the former home of Bedfont Green who became Bedfont Town who Bracknell Town played when they were both members of the Southern League Division One South and West in 2009/10.
Not at all confusing
Westfield step up to step four of the non-league ladder for their first time in their history. Their Woking Park home is in the shadow of their near neighbour’s Vanarama South side Woking.
Not to be confused with the Westfield FC (of Westfield near Hastings) who play in the Sussex County Football League or Wesfields FC from Hereford who play in the Midland League.
FC Romania had been planning for another season in the Essex Senior League after initially missing out on promotion by just one point to Basildon United who finished in second place compared to their third position.
When Shaw Lane folded it created a gap at step four thus promoting the side whose routes lie in the Romanian community of North London who had the best points per game record.
The Wolves share at Cheshunt’s Theobalds Lane which has been almost transformed over the last two seasons with lots of ground improvements taking place.
Whenever I’ve seen them play they have played a good passing style of football and have some wonderfully gifted skilful players who I expect to have no problems stepping up a level.
You will also hear the dulcet tones of John Adams on their tannoy who is well known in Hertfordshire non-league circles for his strong support of FC Romania, broadcasting his wit and wisdom to the crowds and also being a good sport as he always wishes the visiting team all the best and wants to see good football game.
They only played their first competitive game on Saturday 4th November 2006 when they won 12-2 against a team called ‘Beating Chastards’ in the London Football Saturday Premier Division – it’s been a climb through the leagues since!
In some of their bigger cup matches they attract a good number of noisy fans who are very friendly and like a beer or two.
Hertford Town are another side who have some noisy committed and loyal fans.
Their tenant’s Cheshunt are managed by former Kingstonian and Billericay Town boss Craig Edwards who controversially moved from their local rival’s Ware in January.
He had only been in charge there for 27 days! I expect The Ambers to be challenging up near the top of the table in the new season now the experienced Edwards has had a chance to shape his squad.
Hayes & Yeading United have had an eventful few seasons – they were relegated from non-league’s top division in 2012 and then suffered two consecutive relegation’s from the Vanarama South and then the Southern League Premier Division. Last season they had a much better time of things and finished third in the Southern League Division One East.
They will have their first full season in their new SkyEx Community Stadium which is built on the site of the old Yeading FC stadium in Beaconsfield Road. Expect them to challenge also!
Another team who I think will be challenging is Northwood. They have appointed Dean Barker as boss who won the Bostik Development Division North with Wingate and Finchley under 23s last season and before that got Cockfosters to their best ever finish at step five.
He is a great coach and all his teams always play good football. Look out for young centre-forward Ben Pattie who has moved from Wingate – He will score loads of goals for his new club I’m sure.
Good luck to Bracknell Town for the forthcoming season.
Barry Ward runs The Cold End blog covering the Non League game in Hertfordshire and North London.
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Main image: Dave Hancock leads Bracknell Town out for their first step 4 game of the season by Neil Graham.