Season Review 2013/14
Our first season, and one that has gone fantastically well considering the media predictions which had us finishing 17th and getting knocked out of the FA Cup and FA Trophy at the first hurdle. As we had to sign many players to get the squad depth to an adequate level, I didn’t expect much from them so quickly, but they gelled well and we managed something I never did with Enfield Town – a FA Trophy win, as well as promotion from the BSN at the first attempt!
Blue Square North (stats)
A surprising season! I knew we had a decent squad and that we should possibly make the playoffs, but to win the league with four games to spare was very pleasing! We lacked firepower all season, but we had a very strong defence, and that was proved by us not conceding for 6 games consecutively, as well as our goalkeeper Mirko Ranieri racking up the most clean sheets. We had a lot of draws, and to be fair we were very lucky not to lose many of them, but winners get points where others wouldn’t, and we battled like a side that truly wanted promotion.
FA Cup (stats)
What a run! To get as far as the second round with a newly promoted BSN side was great for both reputation and finances. That we took a League One side to a replay was impressive, but our luck ran out in the replay, where we should have lost by a lot more than the one goal. Again, our defence was outstanding.
FA Trophy (stats)
I never managed to win the FA Trophy with Enfield Town, always going out in the early rounds. So I was both happy and surprised that we won it rather easily. The only side in a higher league were BSP side Ebbsfleet, while Nantwich, Ilkeston and Kingstonian were all in lower divisions. Only Ilkeston gave us problems, due to player tiredness, and it took extra time in the second leg to beat them.
We signed some important players this season, with ex-Tottenham GK Mirko Ranieri, Scottish ex-Bolton midfielder Joe McKee and ex-Liverpool right back Emmanuel Mendy all going straight into the first team as key players. Neil Yadolahi was our rock at the back and Michael Lea was solid at left back. Our best signing, potentially, was poached from Chester for £20,000 compensation:
He has 5* current ability, as well as 5* potential. He could be, according to my assistant manager, a good Championship striker. If we can keep hold of him through the leagues, he could end up a club legend…
The aim for next season is simple. Do not get relegated! Ideally we’ll be chasing a playoff spot, but anything around mid-table is respectable. It all depends on who we can bring in to strengthen what is already a decent squad, and whether we can avoid injuries to key players.