Written By Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – Non-League & EOFL Writer
Hello and welcome the final article of the current series looking back at 2020-21 season from the clubs’ perspectiveand their favourite moments, matches and more. First up is Essex Olympian League side Wakebury, who were battling in the promotion race in EOFL Division Three until the later stages of the season and got the nod thanks to four sides being elevated into Div Two in June.
In this piece, Club Chairman & First Team manager Matt Cardy sheds some light on how they felt the season went, and looks forward to the club having an expanded presence in the Olympian Divisions from August. My thanks to Matt for his time during a busy close season.
SW: Hello Matt, thank you for your time. It goes without saying that the 2020-21 campaign has been disrupted by the various lockdowns, but what positives would you all take from this campaign?
MC: Of course it was challenging for everyone in walks of life but for us in local football it made what is already a tough job, that little bit harder. We are very well prepared and plan well advance for a season so this disruption challenged us to adapt. We’ve taking some really good learning from this season in how we work and do things so although challenging you can always find positives. And naturally being promoted to EOFL Division Two is a fantastic achievement for our club!
SW: What was the favourite match of the season and why?
MC: Very easy. The very first match of the season away to Chingford Athletic in the League Cup. We had 12 players and a few regular starters missing. We were 3 – 1 ahead at half time after putting in a fantastic first half performance. The players following our tactical game plan to the letter and we were able to win a penalty shoot-out and beat a side who in my view should have been in the EOFL Premier after having such a successful 19/20 season. It was bit of a ‘giant-killing’ so to speak so it was a great day for the club.
SW: On or off-the-pitch, what was your most memorable moment/s from this season?
MC: As mentioned, away at Chingford was a great day for us all. This season has obviously been a challenging one but we have continued to develop young players, and positive for us is seeing players such as Billy Bonham – Dare and Will Wheeler join the club and make a real impact, both players have shown great potential and are improving all the time. This excites us as we look to build for the future.
I also enjoyed our last league game of the season against Hullbridge A. I felt this performance was one of our best in terms of the control we had in possession especially in the second half but also, you could see every single player giving their maximum for the club, this gave a sense of pride ad that win probably secured our top four finish which got us promoted.
SW: Wakebury did take part in midweek matches towards the end of the campaign. As an Olympian League club, what are those like to compete in?
MC: Yes, midweek games are always nice. We like to include a couple of mid-weekers into our pre-season schedule as well. For some reason any midweek game always had ‘big game’ feel to it so its always enjoyable to play mid week games.
SW: Having now competed in EOFL Division Three for the last two seasons, how would you summarise the strength of the division?
MC: Obviously in the our first season in the EOFL to actually finish high enough to gain promotion out of the division was a great achievement, this was obviously blocked due to COVID and the league being null & void! But the league this season has improved. The addition of Manford Way Reserves and the improvement Hutton Res and Basildon Town Ressies has made the league tougher in our opinion. I expect all of the promoted sides to continue to progress into Division Two, I’d not be surprised to see a couple of them up the top come next May.
SW: Looking on now to the 2021/22 season, you’ve mentioned in the past that you’d like to get your Reserve side into the EOFL system, will that happen in the near future?
MC: Our new reserve set-up, led by player/manager Brett Deeming will be entering the EOFL next season. This is a great step forward for our club. Having two sides in the EOFL when the club is just five years old is an outstanding achievement and is testament to all the hard work we as a club have put in. We are confident Brett will do a great job in building a competitive side that will look to develop players for our first-team set up.
SW: Finally, what other developments are on the way for the club in the future that you’d like to share?
MC: Well in addition to our new Reserve side, we are working very hard away from the pitch to improve the entire infrastructure of the club. We are aware of what we need to take the club on as we look to climb the EOFL system. Everyone at this club is fiercely ambitious and we have plans in place that will be huge for us and our long-term future. Once everything is in place, we will of course make an announcement via the clubs social media channels. We have also been able to connect with ex Leigh Town & Basildon Town manager Gareth Cleverly, who is going work closely with myself & (First Team assistant boss) Dan Blewett over the next few months, this is a great thing for us as a management team but also the club. Gareth has a wealth of experience and an outstanding managerial CV we are looking forward to working with him [Congrats to Gareth, I wish him well in his new role – Ed]
We are excited about the new season as we enjoy new challenges, Division Two looks to be a really competitive league again, and we are going to work our hardest to ensure we are competing at the right end of the league once again.
My thanks to Matt, Chairman of Wakebury & I wish the club well going into next season. If you’d like to contact the club, a reminder that you can find them @Wakebury_FC on Twitter or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org