giuseppe sole

GARRY HILL has described Giuseppe Sole’s lengthy injury lay-off as “the worst thing in the world”.

Record-breaking Sole, who scored 15 goals in 11 consecutive games at the end of last season, is out for 12 months after seriously damaging ligaments in his knee against Dartford last month.

And with Hill’s wafer thin squad struggling for goals, losing his star striker for the entirety of the campaign comes as a real kick in the teeth.

LOSS - Giuseppe Sole will be out for 12 months

LOSS – Giuseppe Sole will be out for 12 months

Hill said: “Giuseppe Sole is a big loss and we were very disappointed for him when we heard the news.

“When you talk about losing a player with Gez’s scoring ratio in the second game of the season it’s always going to be a big blow -but that’s football.

“It’s the worst thing in the world when you are working with 17-18 lads to get a major injury to one of your players.

“To lose Gez the way we have is a blow but at the end of the day all clubs get their injuries.

“We knew it was going to be tough for us this year but I’ve got to be upbeat as a manager and we’ve got to try and be upbeat as a club.”

Lady luck has not been kind to Woking on the injury front under Hill’s reign at Kingfield.

Captain Mark Ricketts was side-lined with a broken leg for more than six months last season, while now departed Paris Cowan-Hall was also a frequent visitor to the treatment room.

But the manager is convinced the tide will turn and bring with it an upturn in fortune both on and off the pitch.

He said: “What goes around comes around and hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later.

“It’s been a little bit awkward at the moment but there won’t be any additional pressure on the players.

“We’ve played some lovely football on the road but things haven’t quite gone our way and we are getting punished.

“People can’t forget that we’ve had a real hard start away from home.

“We’ve played three really fancied teams in Wrexham, Hereford and Mansfield and given a good account of ourselves.

“Our other away game was against Forest Green and they are top of the league so we are taking the positives out of those fixtures. “

Though he likes to keep his dealings in the transfer market hushed, Hill suggested his hands could be tied when it comes to finding a replacement.

The manager added: “Unfortunately we are not over blessed financially and we’ll have to have a think about what we now can and can’t do.

“Sometimes setbacks can make you a stronger person and we’ve got to be strong now.

“I’m upbeat about the situation, I’m trying to be positive and we are going to push on.”


WOKING were dealt a major blow late last night as it emerged that Giuseppe Sole will spend at least 12 months on the sidelines.

The Cards’ prolific striker seriously damaged his right knee in a challenge with Dartford’s Nathan Collier in the 1-0 win at Kingfield last month.

He will play no further start this season and will not feature again until the start of the 2013-14 campaign.

Devastated Sole told the Woking News & Mail: “It is a bit of shock as I was expecting to be out no longer than a month.

HAPPIER TIMES - Giuseppe Sole celebrates after Woking wrapped up the league title last season

HAPPIER TIMES – Giuseppe Sole celebrates after Woking wrapped up the league title last season

“But Stuart Douglas picked up on the injury and realised that it wasn’t healing as quickly it should have been. I went for a scan and obviously we got the bad news.

“I can’t really do anything now except stay positive and look forward to next season.”

Sole had been in light training just two weeks after hobbling off against Dartford, but experienced significant discomfort when trying to change direction.

A scan revealed the awkward collision had separated the lateral collateral ligament from the bone.

Specialists confirmed a simple procedure could repair the damage and surgery was booked in for Monday (September 10).

But Sole will require an additional operation after it was discovered that his anterior cruciate ligament had also suffered trauma.

The second operation will push back Sole’s return to action by three months.

Kingfield’s record-breaking cult-hero is doing all he can to stay positive.

He added: “Either way I was going to miss the rest of the season – nine months or 12 months, there’s not much difference when you’re out for that long.

“I’m trying to keep positive and I’ll find myself something to do – I’ll be watching a lot TV.

“But I’ll still be around the club on Saturdays supporting the team, 100 per cent.

“The reaction on Twitter has been fantastic and my phone has been going mad, I’ve had a lot of support from the fans”

He also paid great respect to the club who moved immediately to authorise the funding of treatment.

Sole said: “I just wanted to say a big thanks to the board, the chairman, Garry Hill, Steve Thompson and of course Stuart who haven’t cut any corners.

“I’m in for the operation on Monday and I only had the scan last Wednesday, they’ve really been on top of everything – I appreciate everything they’ve done for me.

“I’ve spoken to the gaffer but there’s not much to be said, that’s just football and that’s life sometimes.”


BRAWL - a fan was ejected from the stadium after entering the pitch

BRAWL – a fan was ejected from the stadium after entering the pitch

Woking 1
Dartford 0

THOUGH he refused to admit it, Garry Hill will be mightily relieved to have escaped this feisty encounter with all three points.

It took a Giuseppe Sole penalty eight minutes from the end to separate ­Woking and old Blue Square South adversaries Dartford at Kingfield.

And even that came from a foul on Loick Pires that looked to be more outside the box than in.

But the late drama of the winner does not even begin to scratch the surface of a fixture teeming with chaos.

Add to the mix the fact Dartford were reduced to 10 men when Lee Noble was dismissed midway through the first-half.

Not that Hill was expecting anything less than a brutal examination from a Darts side that tirelessly chased the Cards for so much of last season.

He said: “There are no games in this league where you can turn around and expect to win.

“What you can expect, whether it is home or away, every game you play is going to be hard.

“Dartford certainly had the upperhand in the first 20 minutes and we knew they were going to be a tough, competitive team.

“We knew that it would be hard – even more so as we were both beaten on Saturday.

“One goal was always going to win it and that’s the dividing line.

“But we got the breaks and I don’t think there is a better man under pressure in a penalty situation than
Gez Sole.

“I’ve said it before, it doesn’t matter who you play, every game in this league is going to be tough – it was a big three points.”

Woking looked all at sea in a woeful opening half-hour as they failed to create any chances of note against a solid looking Darts backline.

At the  other end, the visitor’s decision to go with two target men up front gave them the early edge.

A sliced clearance over his own crossbar was the only way Joe McNerney could relieve the pressure caused by Adam Green’s dangerous ball across the face of goal.

The subdued Pires was hacked to the ground twice in the opening 15 minutes but it was Dartford who were benefitting from Woking’s set-pieces.

Noble was allowed to break from deep inside his own half and threaded a pass to Jacob Erskine down the right channel.

The lumbering forward had the beating of Brett Johnson, but Aaron Howe was more than equal to his tame shot at the near post.

Bradley Bubb eventually tested Louis Wells in the Dartford goal on the half-hour mark, jinking into the area before drawing a smart save.

But it was five minutes of madness from dangerman Noble that turned the tide and handed Woking the initiative.

After scything down Kevin Betsy on the edge of the area, the Dartford midfielder then arrived late on Mike Cestor and was duly dismissed by  referee Dean Treleaven.

On the sending off, Hill said: “It was a big decision but it was the right ­decision – both fouls were bookable ­offences.

“Dartford know they can have no complaints and the boy knows he can have no complaints. He had a mad five minutes where he lost it.”

The dynamic of the match shifted and Woking ended the half in the ascendancy.

Bang on half-time Lee Sawyer travelled almost 50 yards before releasing a shot straight at Wells.

And a minute into stoppage time, on-loan forward Brett Williams produced a gut-busting run of his own before releasing a shot at the keeper.

A reluctance to recycle possession stifled Woking’s progress at start of the second-half.

But when Sawyer’s corner was headed clear by Jacob Erskine, Adam Newton controlled the ball on his chest and unleashed a swerving strike that seemed destined for the top corner until the fingertips of Wells intervened.

Bubb was lucky to see Danny Harris toe-poke well over from a narrow angle after the Woking winger surrendered possession in his own box with an hour played.

And with 23 minutes left on the clock Hill rolled the dice, hauling off Bubb and throwing on last season’s top
goalscorer Sole.

As the game moved into the final 10 minutes, Sole stepped up to demonstrate why a player of his calibre should not be warming the bench.

Pires latched on to McNerney’s incisive long throw and was pulled to the ground as he surged into the area.

The linesman raised his flag and the referee pointed to the spot, although it looked as if Pires had been fouled
outside the box.

Dartford players disputed the decision, none more so than Wells, who picked up a caution for moving the ball from the spot as Sole readied himself.

Unfazed, the classy forward sent the keeper the wrong way, slotting the penalty into the bottom left corner.

But there was more chaos for officials to address after the goal as Wells and Sole squared up before dragging a melee of players into the advertising hoardings.

One fan, who entered the pitch, was ejected from the stadium and play finally resumed.

One sour note was the sight of match-winner Sole hobbling out of the ground on crutches.

Hill will be praying his star forward makes a speedy recovery.

SCORCHER - Woking star Sole has his sights set on the Dragons

SCORCHER – Woking star Sole has his sights set on the Dragons

WOKING kick-off life back in the Blue Square Premier with a glamorous trip to promotion hopefuls Wrexham, but record-breaking striker Giuseppe Sole insists the only thing occupying his mind this summer is getting back on the goal trail.

Cards visit the Racecourse Ground on the opening day of the 2012-13 campaign (Saturday, August 11) before hosting play-off winners Dartford at Kingfield three days later.

But Sole, who finished top of the club’s goal scoring charts as Woking sealed a long-awaited return to the top-tier of non-league football last season, has revealed the Cards camp is firmly focused on their own preparations and making sure they are full equipped to slay the Dragons next month.

He said: “Steve Thompson was brilliant in last year’s pre-season. We worked hard and did a huge amount of running drills but we also did a lot of work with the ball – I can’t wait to get back into it.

“We want to hit the ground running and hopefully the friendlies we’ve got lined up against higher division opposition will prepare us for that.

Luton are favourites for the league and it will be a great experience to come up against them and see how we measure up

“We’ll all be looking to test ourselves against the best players out there and hopefully I can pull on my scoring boots ahead of the new season.

“Last season ended at the worst possible time for me but that’s the way football goes sometimes.

“But I’m more than happy with what I achieved with Woking last season and I’m looking to carry that forward into the first game with Wrexham.”

Wrexham were beaten play-off semi-finalists last term and Sole knows Woking will need adjust quickly to life in the Blue Square Premier if they are to build on last season’s success.

He added: “Wrexham are going to be one of the favourites and it’s going to be great to start the season against one of the big teams.

“They finished strongly last year and they’ll be up there again trying to win promotion but I’m really excited to be playing at a ground I’ve never played at before.

“Dartford at home in the second fixture will be an interesting one, they chased us all the way last season and they’ll want to get one over on us.

“I’m sure everyone will be just as hungry as we are to get off to a good start and it will be interesting to see what sort of side they’ve assembled over the summer.”

Stand out fixtures include a Boxing Day trip to Luton before the title favourites visit Kingfield on January 1 for an immediate return clash.

Sole reckons a bumper festive gate could leave Woking full of Christmas cheer.

He said: “I went to Luton with Newport a few years ago and they had a crowd of around 7,000 on a Tuesday night.

“God knows how many they’ll have there on Boxing Day and obviously at Kingfield on New Year’s day there’ll be another huge turnout.

“They are favourites for the league and it will be a great experience to come up against them and see how we measure up.”

The full fixture list is as follows:

August 2012
Sat 11           Wrexham  (a)
Tue 14          DARTFORD (h)
Sat 18           BARROW (h)
Sat 25          Forest Green Rovers (a)
Tue 28         BRAINTREE (h)

September 2012
Sat 1             Mansfield Town (a)
Tue 4           Hereford United (a)
Sat 8            NUNEATON (h)
Sat 15          Stockport County (a)
Sat 22         GATESHEAD (h)
Tue 25        Ebbsfleet United (a)
Sat 29         TAMWORTH (h)

October 2012
Sat 6            AFC Telford United (a)
Tue 9          CAMBRIDGE UNITED (h)
Sat 13         SOUTHPORT (h)
Sat 20        FA Cup  4th qualifying round tbc
Sat 27        Newport County (a)

November 2012
Tue 6        KIDDERMINSTER (h)
Sat 10      Grimsby Town (a)
Sat 17      ALFRETON TOWN (h)
Sat 24      FA Trophy 1st round tbc

December 2012
Sat 1             Hyde (a)
Tue 4           Lincoln City (a)
Sat 8            STOCKPORT COUNTY (h)
Sat 22         FOREST GREEN ROVERS (h)
Wed 26      Luton Town (a)
Sat 29         Braintree Town (a)

January 2013
Tue 1            LUTON (h)
Sat 5            MANSFIELD (h)
Sat 12          Barrow (a)
Sat 19          Gateshead (a)
Tue 22        NEWPORT COUNTY (h)
Sat 26         Kidderminster Harriers (a)

February 2013
Sat 2            HYDE (h)
Sat 9            Alfreton Town (a)
Tue 12        EBBSFLEET UNITED (h)
Sat 16         GRIMSBY TOWN  (h)
Sat 23         Southport (a)

March 2013
Sat 2           LINCOLN CITY (h)
Sat 9           Cambridge United (a)
Tue 12       Macclesfield Town (a)
Sat 16        AFC TELFORD UNITED (h)
Sat 23        Nuneaton Town (a)
Sat 30       HEREFORD UNITED (h)

April 2013
Mon 1         Dartford (a)
Sat 6           WREXHAM (h)
Sat 13         MACCLESFIELD TOWN (h)
Sat 20         Tamworth (a)

PATIENT - Garry Hill is willing to bide his time in the transfer market

PATIENT – Garry Hill is willing to bide his time in the transfer market

GARRY HILL does not predict any new signings to be unveiled at Kingfield until after the squad reports back for pre-season training.

Hill’s champions are still some way short of a full pack with only 13 players registered with Woking ahead of the club’s return to the Blue Square Premier.

And after completing an incredible hat trick of Blue Square South manager of the season awards, Hill confessed he didn’t expect much transfer activity before the players report for duty on July 2.

He said: “One or two could happen before then but I’m more interested in having my squad ready for the first league game in August.

We’ll pick and choose what is right for our football club, affordable for our football club but the players have got to want to come to Woking for the right reasons – that is very important to me

“What I’ve found out at the present time is that a lot of the players we are trying to fetch in and get on board want full-time football – and if they want full-time football they ask for full-time wages.

“There are only so many players who can get full-time football and I think the middle of July is when players go back to their clubs or go on trial looking for it somewhere else.

“When that doesn’t happen it becomes more of a level playing field where part-time clubs in the conference get a better opportunity.

“I’ve had some figures come back and I don’t think some football players really understand how hard it is out there. Some think the rules apply to everybody else but not them.

“We’ll pick and choose what is right for our football club, affordable for our football club, but the players have got to want to come to Woking for the right reasons – that is very important to me.”

Hill completed his amazing hat trick of manager of the season awards after leading Cards back to the top flight of non-league football following a three-year absence.

He was previously awarded the top honour with Dagenham & Redbridge in 2000 and with Weymouth six years later.

“I feel very proud,” said Hill. “I think someone said I was the first person to win it three times which makes it even more satisfying from that point of view but it’s a team award after the hard work from my staff and everybody at the club.

“Certainly the players and the fans who supported the club and played their part – I’m very pleased to pick up the award again.”

And there was more joy for the Woking boss as Alan Inns, Jack King, Giuseppe Sole, and new boys Loick Pires and Jack Parkinson all made the Blue Square South team of the year.

“There are five Woking players – past and present – in the team and they’ve got noticed for the right reasons.

“Of course I’m very pleased about it and even more so with our two new signings who were in the team with Welling.”