As we failed to win promotion last season by finishing second and losing the playoff final to Harlow, we have another bite at the Ryman Premier. We definitely had the potential last season to win the division, and with it automatic promotion, but we didn’t show it at times, letting good leads slip to draws and draws slip away to losses. This season we’ll do it. We’ll go up to the National League South. Won’t we?
We’ll be moving from Mabley Green to groundshare with Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road which is a pre-planned move I made before starting the career because Mabley Green in reality isn’t a stadium, it’s a caged astroturf pitch in a park. I could have set it to force a new stadium build once we outgrew Mabley but it wouldn’t have the expansion capacity to fulfil our future dream of Champions League football, and would cripple our already delicate finances. Brisbane Road is the closest stadium to Hackney Marshes (as close as London Stadium, but 60,000 capacity is a bit much for us!) so we’ll share with Orient until we have the finances to build our own home.
Following on from my earlier post introducing the real-life club, here’s how it translates into the game.
Just as in the real world, the virtual club begin life at level 12 of the football pyramid, in the Middlesex Football League Division One (Central & East). Home is Mabley Green, an all-weather artificial pitch in Hackney Wick, which in reality has no proper capacity but for the purposes of the game is set at 1000, all standing, with the ability to expand up to 5000 – the required capacity for entry into the Football League. Facilities for youth players and training are terrible. The club in the real world are Amateur, but due to database issues, we will start as semi-pro.
Less than two years ago, Hackney Wick FC didn’t exist. One man, ex semi-professional footballer Bobby Kasanga, formed the idea to create a football club while campaigning to get more recognition for non-league football, where he came across many disgruntled players on Hackney Marshes who complained about the long distances they had to travel in order to play football at a competitive level. Borne from his time in prison and shaped by the rehabilitation he received, he decided his club would be heavily involved in the community. He wanted to bring together the residents of Hackney, especially those marginalised by society and the disaffected youth with nothing to look up to other than the gangsters. Hackney, in times past was known as being a rough place, rife with gang warfare and high crime rates, though somewhat seen now as an up-and-coming trendy area. Of his prison experience he says: “It definitely helped. Before that, it was all about making money and my ego but I became more of a listener and, as I started helping other prisoners, I thought I could continue that on the outside.”