woking fc

Public consultations over plans to redevelop Woking Football Club’s stadium have heard a litany of concerns from residents at the impact of such a large-scale building project.

The proposal aims to build a 10,000-seat facility, along with more than 1,000 flats and 10,000 sq ft of retail space to create a new neighbourhood at Kingfield called Cardinal Court. This has given rise to fears of overcrowding, lack of adequate infrastructure and the impact on the quality of life for nearby residents.

A CGI rendering of the proposed Cardinal Court

“Our roads are already congested, parking is a challenge, and our schools and health services are oversubscribed. We recognise that investment in the club and area is welcome, but it must be a considered and balanced approach, with heavy investment in local infrastructure to support it. This is not reflected in the Cardinal Court proposal. Local residents are outraged and oppose this vehemently,” said a resident of Willow Reach development who didn’t wish to be named.

Social media platforms such as WhatsApp groups and Facebook pages of local neighbourhoods have been busy with residents sharing information about the project, discussing ways to raise awareness and organising themselves to oppose the plans. An online petition at http://chng.it/wGg97n67 is aiming for 1,000 signatories and secured 500 names within three days.

For the full story get the 25 July edition of the News & Mail

NEW signing Sam Howes has told Woking fans to “expect a lot of passion” from him during his time with the club.

The former Watford academy keeper is looking to establish himself at Kingfield after a series of loan spells, including at Eastbourne Borough last season.

New signing Sam Howes with Woking FC manager Alan Dowson

Howes, 21, signed for the Cards on Monday, after his deal with the Hornets expired last Sunday (30 June).

He told the News & Mail: “Every season is a chance to make a name for yourself. I’ve had a few loan experiences which have stood me in good stead, but now I’m ready for the next step forward in my career.

“Woking was the right option for me. I know Dowse (manager Alan Dowson) really well from my time at Hampton & Richmond Borough, and I know what to expect.”

“So for me it’s perfect, it’s an ideal place to further my development and hopefully move on up the ladder in future years.”

For the full interview get the 4 July edition of the News & Mail

DETAILS of ambitious plans to transform Woking FC’s ground to English Football League standards and build an estimated 1,000 flats on nearby ground in a £10 million project are to be revealed to local residents in a series of public consultations.

The outline proposals were revealed in April last year when Woking Borough Council reached an agreement with property developer GolDev Limited.

Woking FC’s current stadium at Kingfield

In plans that have been discussed and developed behind the scenes since 2002, Laithwaite Community Stadium would become a 10,000-seat facility that would allow the club to aim for promotion at least up to League One.

The ground currently holds a maximum of 6,000 fans, with 2,500 of those seated. There are a number of other improvements, such as greater accessibility and media facilities that would be necessary to qualify the ground to host games in the upper tiers of the game.

The estimated £10 million cost would be financed by building nearly 1,000 flats and 10,000 sq ft of retail space creating a new neighbourhood at Kingfield, to be called Cardinal Court.

The plans, along with images of the expanded stadium and Cardinal Court will be shown to the public for the first time at a consultation held at the Laithwaite Community Stadium next Friday (12 July) from 2pm to 8pm.

There will be two more consultations at the ground next Saturday from 10am to noon and on Tuesday 16 July from 2pm to 6pm. A fourth consultation will take place on Thursday 18 July from 4pm to 8pm at Mayford Village Hall.

Woking FC chairman Rosemary Johnson

Members of the project team will be at the sessions where residents will have the opportunity to ask questions and give their views.

GolDev is due to give a briefing to councillors next Wednesday, followed by a presentation of Woking FC fans the following day.

Rosemary Johnson, chairman of Woking Football Club, said: “We are looking forward to presenting the Woking Community Stadium proposals to the community. We want this project to work for our club, our supporters, and the community to which we belong, and we look forward to hearing your views on the proposals.”

Once the consultations have been held, the plans could then be altered and go through a series of planning applications through the council.

For the full story get the 4 July News & Mail

ABOUT 2,000 children aged six to 15 took part in two days of football at the Goldsworth Park Rangers annual summer festival.

The festival was attended by Woking FC manager Alan Dowson,  first team coach Ian Dyer and midfielder Paul Hodges, who brought along the Vanarama Promotion Playoff final trophy.

GPR Raptors under-12s team with Dowse and the Vanarama playoff trophy.

Lee Swain, the Goldsworth Park Rangers FC chairman, said the tournament was a great success and thanked the many volunteers who helped to make it happen.

“Also I must say a big thanks to Dowse. For him to drive straight back from Wales having attended the Vanarama presentation evening was unbelievable and to bring the cup with him was a great touch.”

Lee said the club’s community partner Waitrose and grassroots partner Macdonalds made massive contributions to the festival.

The GP Rangers under-10s team the Dolphins with mascot Wishbone

“It’s always a busy but rewarding weekend and I am delighted that all the teams seemed to have a great time.

“Wishbone the mascot made everyone smile and managed to get in nearly every photo,” Lee said.

Andy Morgan, the club secretary and welfare officer, explained that the mascot’s name came from the fact that the pitches are on Wishbone Way.

“The annual event has grown from about 30 teams to where we are now,” Andy said.

He said the club is thriving with 600 members and 42 teams.

For more pictures get the 20 June edition of the News & Mail

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