Perhaps along with every other footballing cliché, Maidenhead United’s most recent campaign would almost certainly be described as a “rollercoaster season.”
A successful first year in the National League was always going to result in high squad turnover, with Harry Pritchard and Sam Barratt making the move to professional football being no surprise to many.
Naturally, manager Alan Devonshire was required to experiment with his starting XI. Victories were huge when they came, but a run of three games in which 17 goals were conceded meant more signings were needed.
Bristol Rovers’ Alfie Kilgour joined the Magpies for three months in November, forming a formidable partnership with captain Alan Massey. Our form improved, and we eventuallyclimbed the table whilst our rivals diminished.
A goal from Adrian Clifton against Havant & Waterlooville confirmed our status in the league for the 2019/20 season, despite the Hawks crushing us 7-0 just before Halloween. We finished 19th on 54 points, a promising tally considering the nervy start.
The club recently announced that training will be increased for next season the third in the fifth division of English football. This means that many players who live far from York Road will see their tenure as a Magpie come to an end.
The aforementioned Clifton, who scooped up every award at the end of season celebrations, departed for Bromley, while Ryan Bird left for local rivals Slough Town. Harold Odametey, Ayo Obileye and Carl Pentney were among others who left Berkshire.
Off the pitch, Devonshire’s right-hand man Sam Lock left to become manager at Bracknell Town.
An influx of players have joined York Road, with the Devonshire opting for hidden gems in the National League South such as Josh Smile from Chippenham and Freddie Grant from Wealdstone. There’s also former professional goalkeeper, Chris Dunn, and chief scout Lee Devonshire believes there’ll be more to come.
“I would certainly expect some new faces,” said the chief scout.
“We are working hard in a challenging market, but we are positive of some more additions between now and August.
“We have the bulk of the group signed now, but there are a few key areas we still need to address for sure. We still have plenty to do.”