woking fc

WOKING boss Alan Dowson has no intention of doing anything in half-measures.  Just ask the landlord at the Kingfield Arms.

Just four days after masterminding the club’s promotion back to the National League after their 1-0 win over Welling United, Dowson is already assembling his squad for next season.

The Cards celebrate their promotion alongside their well earned silverware

Straight off the back of a 36-hour drinking session to celebrate the club’s play-off final triumph on Sunday, The Cards’ boss is back and fully focused as he steps into unchartered waters.

Dowson, 48, told the News & Mail that he aims to secure Woking captain Josh Casey this week on an improved deal to keep him at Kingfield for another season.

He is a big fan of the defender and believes that Casey is one of just a handful of players who will be able to comfortably make the step up to the fifth tier of English football.

Dowson said: “The players who have been with me this season have done really well.  If I’m honest, though, there will probably only be a few players who will be able to make the step up from National League South to play in the National League, and I’ll be talking to them this week.

“Some players may not have played in the National League before, but it’s amazing how some players adapt. Some might even surprise themselves.

“I will be speaking with Josh Casey for sure to get him sorted, as there’s nobody better to fill that position in my opinion,” he added.

Despite the club’s ambition to get into the English Football League within the next four to five years, Woking will continue to operate on a part-time basis next season.

Dowson has no intention of plunging the club into financial hardship by joining the National League elite, who have all decided to go full-time.

“As far as I know, we’ll be the only part-time team club in the National League next season, explained Dowson. “The players will continue to train two days during the week.

“There will be bargains to be had over the summer, as not every player can or wants to be full-time. There are some very good players out there, like Josh (Casey), who have a good job in the city, but don’t want to give all that up for football in the National League.

“Even though we’ll be part-time, we’ve got to prepare in a way that enables us to hopefully compete, as best as we can, with full-time club. 

“We’ll enjoy next season. We’ll give it a damn good go, I think we’ll be ok.

Prior to putting on his negotiating hat, though, Dowson had to telephone basecamp to speak to his wife, Donna, after she was forced to play second fiddle to the club’s play-off preparations.

Dowson jested: “After the celebrations, the first person I had to contact was my wife to check that we were still together, before phoning the players.  That’s football for you.”

Woking are next in action away to Badshot Lea on 9 July in what is the first pre-season friendly.

See the promotion special, with pictures of players, supports and awards, in today’s (16 May) News & Mail

IT’S been 17 years in the making, but Woking fans will now get the opportunity to meet with the new developer for the proposed Cardinal Court stadium development at Kingfield.

With the various cross-party working contracts all signed, Woking’s board of directors are inviting fans to attend a special fans’ forum at Cardinals Bar on 16 April to learn more about the proposed plans to future-proof the National League South club.

For many, it will be the first time that they will have the opportunity to pose real questions to the project team after years of speculation as to what a new Woking Community Stadium project might comprise.

Speaking exclusively to the News & Mail, Wayne Gold, owner of GolDev Woking Limited, which is coordinating the proposed redevelopment of the Kingfield site in south Woking, is pleased with the progress to date.

He said: “When I first met representatives of Woking, they gave me their views and aspirations for the club.  Similarly, I gave my views in terms of ideas and we reached an agreement in principle.  I then went away to pull together the various components.

“There’s a lot of land interest at Kingfield and there were a lot of individual parties that had an interest through one means or another; however, we have now been able to get everyone on board contractually.

“We (GolDev) have since exchanged contracts with the football club and Woking Borough Council and we’re now proceeding with the planning application for the Kingfield site.

“Therefore, it’s the right time to properly engage with fans now that we have something we can share with them and discuss,” he added.

For more information on the time of the fans’ forum on 16 April, please go to www.wokingfc.co.uk or call the club on 01483 772470.

For the full story and further details of how to get involved get the 11 April edition of the News & Mail

WOKING moved back to the top of Vanarama League South on Tuesday – but they didn’t have it all their own way against mid-table Oxford City at Court Place Farm.

Armani Little celebrates after scoring

The Cards’ last-gasp 2-1 victory was enough to lift them three points clear of Torquay United at the summit, although the Devonians now have a game in hand and still boast a much superior goal difference.

The home team secured just a single corner in the first half, and failed to win another until 10 minutes from full-time, but certainly frustrated Alan Dowson’s outfit and were deserving of a draw.

Oxford went into the match on the back of a 5-3 home defeat to Hampton & Richmond Borough, and with a dismal record of only one win from their previous 10 league matches in 2019. But after seeing Woking’s Max Kretzschmar fire a free-kick narrowly over the bar, City went ahead in the 15th minute. 

What followed was a tense back and forth that saw the hosts come a hairsbreadth from equalising more than once as they harried the Woking visitors at every turn.

However, with the clock showing five minutes of injury-time played, City were unable to clear and Harvey Bradbury – on loan from Oxford United – volleyed past King, via the underside of the bar, to break the hearts of home players and supporters.

For the full match report get the 14 March edition of the News & Mail

WOKING Ladies could be on course to complete the ‘treble’ if they beat North Leigh Ladies in their League Cup semi-final this Sunday.

In what is only their second season in the Thames Valley League, Woking Ladies rise to the fore could see them trump their male counterparts to silverware.

Chelsea Goulter on the ball

Under the managerial guidance of former Reading Town and Chertsey Town Ladies’ coach Craig Gareppo – and assistant Leigh Hunter – Woking Ladies are fast proving a force to be reckoned with.

With just two defeats in 22 matches, The Cards could win the Division Two East championship and reach two cup finals by the end of the month – a feat many other clubs would find hard to rival.

Speaking exclusively to the News & Mail, Gareppo praised his players’ renewed drive and professionalism after they finished third in their inaugural season.

“We’ve attracted players who have played at a higher level, which has helped bring about a more professional approach,” explained The Cards’ boss. “Their attitude on match days has really rubbed off on the whole team.

The Cards are currently three points behind Abbey Rangers Ladies Reserves, but with three games in hand. 

The Ladies’ section also has the full support of Woking’s men’s manager too, Alan Dowson, who has not only watched a few games, but also took charge of a few training sessions in the summer.

For the full story, pick up the 7 March edition of the News & Mail

WOKING returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory away to Truro City on Tuesday.

Going straight into The Cards’ starting line-up was midfielder Olu Durojaiye, who signed from Bostik League Premier Division outfit Haringey Borough on Monday.

Hodges, right, on the ball

Despite having made their longest journey of the season – a daunting 240 miles – Woking got off to a superb start at Treyew Road, David Tarpey and Jake Hyde peppering the goal with shots. The pressure finally paid off when Armani Little unleashed a rocket from 25 yards and beat City keeper Harvey Rivers.

Truro, with two wins and a draw from their five previous games this month, showed more steel in the second half and it was clear they weren’t going to roll over. But Woking were able to soak up the home side’s pressure and were good value for their win, which sees them back on track after the disappointment of Saturday’s match, a 2-0 defeat away to Dartford.

“It’s no secret that Dartford are a big, strong side that look to hit you on the counter attack,” said Woking manager Alan Dowson.

“The lad who elbowed Hodgy (Paul Hodges) should have been booked; how he didn’t receive a booking, God only knows.”

“I feel a bit hard done by from our two matches against Dartford. I thought we should have got something out of both,” he added.

For the full match reports and pictures, see the 28 February edition of the News & Mail

IT’S often said that being a football manager is one of the most stressful jobs you can do, but for Woking boss Alan Dowson, he’s taking it all in his stride.

When the Geordie first arrived at The Laithwaite Community Stadium back in May 2018, he had no players, no budget – or not one that had been confirmed anyway, and the horizon was, at best, uncertain.

Woking manager Alan Dowson, right, with Woking defender Nathan Collier

Fast forward nine months, The Cards’ boss, alongside his management team, has worked wonders to put Woking back on the map.  So much so, he has become one of the most instantly recognisable characters in non-league football – not just because of his native accent.

Speaking to the News & Mail on Tuesday, Dowson, now in his 13th year in football management, says that while The Cards are sitting pretty at the top of the National League South, the pressure is all on Torquay United and their boss, Gary Johnson.

He said: “I don’t really feel stressed about anything, that’s the truth of the matter.  Even though we’re top of the league, I don’t feel any pressure whatsoever. 

“Some things you can influence and some things you can’t, and what I can’t influence, there’s no point worrying about.

“Yes, we are in a good position in the league, but if I’m honest, I just look ahead at the next game of football, whereas Torquay have invested heavily to get promotion, so there’s more expectation on the manager and the players to deliver.  That’s pressure.

“As I see it, though, what will be will be; I’ve never been one to dwell on anything.  It’s about being the best that you can be and seizing the opportunities that come your way, which is what I tell the players,” he added.

Despite the financial gulf between Torquay, Billericay and several other clubs in the National League South, Dowson has proved that money doesn’t necessarily buy you success.  It’s having a group of players who are hungry to win silverware, not just about how much they can earn.

For the full interview get the today’s (21 Feb) edition of the News & Mail

LOAN signing David Tarpey scored for the third time in four matches as Woking moved to the top of the Vanarama National League South table on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old, who joined The Cards this month on loan from Barnet, bagged a penalty to help Alan Dowson’s side leapfrog Torquay United in the race for the championship.

Tarpey, right, celebrates scoring the first goal of the match, and scoring three times in four matches

Woking now hold a two-point lead over the Devonians, with both sides having played 29 matches. The teams lock horns at Kingfield on Saturday 6 April in what is shaping up to be a winner-takes-all encounter.

As in Saturday’s home clash with Weston-super-Mare, The Cards took an early lead against Hemel Hempstead Town at The Laithwaite Community Stadium on Tuesday, and went in at half time 2-0 up.

But things were different in the second half. Only three minutes in, Woking keeper Craig Ross was beaten by a low shot from Town substitute Arel Amu to slash The Cards’ lead.

Woking’s nerves were calmed though, when Harvey Bradbury, arriving from the bench, made it 3-1 with time running out.

Home fans showed their delight by chanting “We are top of the league”.  The pressure is now very much on Torquay.

For the full match report, get the 21 February edition of the New & Mail

WOKING won for the first time in four Vanarama National League South matches as they saw off East Thurrock United 3-0 at The Laithwaite Community Stadium on Saturday.

CELEBRATION: Collier, left, and Little, right, congratulate Tarpey

The Cards’ victory was their first in the league since they overcame Welling United at Kingfield on 9 January – exactly a month earlier.

So it was no exaggeration to say that the clash with The Rocks was one of Woking’s most important matches of the campaign.

Failure by Alan Dowson’s men to pick up three points would have given table-toppers Torquay United – whose home game with Chelmsford City was rained off – a crucial four-point advantage over the Surrey outfit, with both championship-chasers having played 27 times. As it was, The Cards closed the gap to one point.

New signing David Tarpey opened his account for Woking, before Greg Luer and Jake Hyde struck to kill off the Essex-based visitors.

For the full match report, see the 14 February edition of the News & Mail

WOKING manager Alan Dowson is hoping new Ghanaian striker Bradley Hudson-Odoi will be the answer to his prayers.

Now 30, Hudson-Odoi, who is the elder brother of Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, is expected to go straight into the side against Oxford City on Saturday.

Woking manager Alan Dowson hopes to boost The Cards’ goalscoring form

It is hoped the former Wealdstone, Sutton United and Hampton & Richmond Borough striker, who has represented 12 different clubs since leaving Fulham in 2008, can reignite The Cards’ goalscoring form to bolster their Vanarama National League South title chances.

Speaking to the News & Mail this week, Dowson acknowledges that his side are going through a “blip”, following Woking’s 2-0 home defeat to Wealdstone on Saturday.

However, he believes it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a “few tweaks to here and there”.

He said: “We seemed to have hit a bit of a lull after the Watford (FA Cup) game.  We don’t have the same potency in front of goal and we look likely to conceded soft goals.

“The National League (South) is a tough league, which is evidenced when the likes of Wealdstone, who we played last Saturday, reportedly played £15,000 for a striker, while two other clubs in the league are full-time.

“If we’re going to challenge for the title, we need someone who can score us 15 goals, and it doesn’t help that Jake (Hyde) is injured and Max (Kretzschmar) who is our top goalscorer, pulled up again (hamstring) last Saturday.

“Bradley was unable to play against Wealdstone; however, all being well, he will play against Oxford City this weekend,” he added.

For the full interview get the 31 January edition of the News and Mail.

Philpot’s Goal-Hungry

Millwall loanee hopes to strike it lucky against Hartlepool

ON-LOAN Woking FC striker Jamie Philpot knows a thing or two about scoring goals. After all, he scored his first senior career goal for Millwall in the SkyBet Championship at the age of just 18.

GOAL-HUNGRY: Philpot has the potential to reach double figures before January 2018. Picture by Andy Fitzsimons

The Kent-born marksman, who is on-loan to Woking from The Lions until January 2018, opened his account on what was only his second start as a number 9 against AFC Fylde last Saturday (23 Sept. ’17).

And if Philpot’s hard work and phenomenal goal scoring prowess as a Millwall academy player is anything to go by, he could well be into double figures by the turn of the year.

Speaking to the News & Mail ahead of this weekend’s fixture against Hartlepool United (30 Sept. ’17), the young striker is delighted to have broken his duck for his new club.

He said: “Scoring against Fylde felt like a massive relief. I should have scored against Wrexham last month, but it was still good to finally get off the mark.

“It was a fantastic delivery by Nathan Ralph and it was so nice to see the back of the net ripple.

“Even before the match, the players said ‘today will be your day’, and luckily it was, but the most important thing was the three points for the team.”

Praise

Philpot paid homage to Cards’ boss Anthony Limbrick, who negotiated a deal in August to bring the striker from Millwall to Woking on a five-month loan deal.

“Working under Anthony is fantastic, as he leads by example and galvanises the whole squad.

“On a training day, he’s not just there 10 minutes before the players arrive, but an hour or two before training starts to set everything up.

“It’s not simply about going through the motions, he tells the players what he’s going to do and the reason why we’re going to do it.

“Analytically, he’s very good too, because he puts things in context. He explains what we’re doing well; what we haven’t done as well, and what areas we can improve on. That’s generally something you only get at professional clubs, not in non-league, so Anthony certainly bucks the trend.

While Philpot accepts that the hustle and bustle of the National League is quite different to academy football, and that of the English Football League (EFL), he believes his loan-spell will make him a more rounded player.

“I felt that I could always score goals an academy player, but men’s football is completely different, explained Philpot. “It’s all about taking your chances.

“From what I can remember, I only had one chance against Fylde, and I managed to take it, and that’s what it’s about; hitting the target.

“I’m still at the stage where I’m learning, and I need to continue to affect the game and score goals, so it shows Millwall that I’m capable of playing in the League (EFL).

“For me, it’s now about the three points on a Saturday (or Tuesday night), whereas academy football is just about development. There’s a point where it’s not just about development anymore per se, but the three points on a match day; that’s the bit I’m learning the most.”

Conditioning

While the surroundings of non-league football will naturally differ from those competing in the upper echelons of the game, Philpot believes that everything from the playing surface (home ground) to the way Woking conditions its players is carried out with the utmost professionalism.

“Anthony’s got the academy background; he and his team know how to develop and get the best out of players in a highly competitive environment, so he has the advantage over many other non-league managers. He’s been conditioned to think and work in a certain way, which the players really buy in to,” said Philpot.

“At the start of the season, the aim was for Woking to finish in the top half of the table and within reaching distance of the play-offs, but now there’s a confidence about us.

“There’s a really good squad of players here, and if we defend from the front and take our chances, the team will continue to do well.

“We’ve won the last five out of six and, while we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground, ultimately, it’s about getting Woking promoted,” he added.

Philpot will be hoping to double his tally in as many games when Woking host Hartlepool United for the first time at The Laithwaite Community Stadium.