A RELAXED and jokey Alan “Dowse” Dowson faced national and local media at a press conference two days before the biggest game of his managerial career when his Woking FC will play Watford in the FA Cup.
The manager gave little away about his team’s tactics for Sunday, other than to admit that the season’s top goal scorer, Max Kretzschmar, was unlikely to play because of injury and that the team would continue with its attacking brand of football.
If Dowse was feeling any pressure, he didn’t show it, remarking that his FA Cup record as a player and manager had been “absolutely hopeless – until now.”
Assistant manager Ian Dyer said there had not been a lot of opportunity for the team to train specifically for the FA Cup tie, having had four matches in 10 days. He said the previous evening’s training session had been a little strange as the coaches and players had to dodge the TV cameras.
“I’ve told the players that I want them to compete and enjoy it, and they will only enjoy it if they compete,” he said.
Dyer added the team would use the inspiration of a packed stadium and the success against Swindon Town in the previous round to push them on.
“The players have got us here – it’s their day.”
While acknowledging the importance of the game on Sunday, Dowson downplayed the success so far, pointing to the achievements of past players and coaches at Woking and said that Sunday was a chance for the current crop to put their mark on the club’s history.
Woking’s story has certainly attracted a lot of attention. The club chaplain, Ian Nicholson, introduced Dowson and his two assistant managers to a press room swelled by several national newspaper reporters and BBC TV and radio camera crew.
“We usually have one person at these press conferences, with sometimes one or two extras,” he said.
Assistant manager and Sky commentator Martin Tyler described the Watford match as the game of a lifetime for Woking and a very special day for him, having seen his first Woking game when he was 8 years old.
See next week’s News & Mail for full coverage of Woking’s big day.