Division One. It’s like the Championship. The hardest division to win. The most level playing field (excluding Rotherfield’s pitch). And we kick it all off tomorrow.
It’s like the Grand National. Anyone could win this. Pick the one with the best name (we’d go with the team with the word Lions innit). Runners and riders? Let’s go…
We start with the side that’s dropped down; Newbury FC. Wow. After a crazy summer, Langford’s Lads have had to drop down after finishing 5th in the Premier due to ground issues (we’ve been asked to leave this topic alone, but as this is ‘unofficial’, we really feel for these boys!), they enter the pit of D1. Full of TVPL Rep stars, including Langers himself, the Newbury crew will start as comfortable favourites for the title, a status they seem quite happy with. Could this be a cakewalk? We hope not, but feel for the lads that may feel they are beneath themselves for the season…
And so to the 1 side promoted, White Eagles. With last term’s top 2 falling away from the TVPL, the Eagles are the sole D2 rep side and will need to defend solidly this term against some very attacking sides. Last term’s record of only 2 goals per game will only be good enough if they can keep sides out. Staying up will be a good season for the Eagles.
And so to last term’s contenders;
Cookham Dean & Imaan were basically one win away from the promised land. Burrows Boys are now Webb’s Warriors as Ollie Webb takes full control this term, ably assisted by JB. With an influx of players into the club, could the First team’s excellence result in a drip-down effect into the Ressies; an already strong competitive side bolstered by a couple of experienced First teamers? Hopes are high, bar staff are willing and club ambassadors vocal. If they can just add a few more goals, Webb’s Warriors could take the extra step…(and not get promoted).
Imaan are this close (say it with your eyes squinted, makes it work). The goals of Aqeel Butt (2nd in the charts last term) almost nailed the dream ticket, but a little choke at the finale – just 2 wins from the last 6 games – dealt the horrible hand of 4th place. It’s safe to say these boys are the most attractive to watch, if a little nausy sometimes, but technically, they are Premier League all over. No doubt. Add the discipline and ‘game management’ in the mix and we have a side worthy of top half Prem. Can they….???
Eldon Celtic disappointed last term. Whilst ending 5th, the Celtic spent most of the season near the foot of the table after an awful start. Another technically superb side, it’s defensive and vocal discipline that have let them down. In 16/17 they were so close, we can’t see another start like last term. But have they lost the goals….????
We tipped up Finchampstead last term and now, an experienced manager ahead, they could challenge. Another side with technical players, they need to find consistency and add goals to challenge but there is a big points gap between them and the sides above…if they have new faces, they could challenge. If not, middle earth beckons…
Hurst are another side that came back from a poor start to find consistency and after relegation the year before, perhaps have found their level for this team. Led by Townson in midfield, Hurst can beat anyone on their day, but we can’t see more than middle earth again without new player investment. And a proper net for that damn river at the back of the pitch…how many lost balls?
Westwood Reserves really picked themselves off the floor. With 5 wins from their last 6 games, these lads showed they had bottle and moved from the foot to the middle with aplomb. Danny Nicholson is key to this side – the Division’s Golden Boot with 19 in 24 – so if they’ve kept their talisman and invested time in defensive drills, these boys could be one to watch this season…
(is this mention ok lads?)
YMCA Rapids. So much has been said about this club, they really are TVPL Legends. The sheer amount of games put pay to title challenges last term but we’ve no idea how the Firsts have strengthened yet, and how this trickles down to the Padworth Mob. Solid, hard to beat and a nous on how to play on a MASSIVE pitch, Lemm’s Reserve batch will always put up a fight and can beat anyone. Is this the year? Just don’t enter cups and you’ll be alright lads!
Somehow, Rotherfield escaped. It was like Panic Room. They got out somehow, perhaps more down to their rivals collapse. But it didn’t matter. They survived. And now they go again. We feel these boys are like Stoke…don’t really fit in, scrape some games, then blitz a little run together with some amazing football and get themselves safe. But is this the year? These boys really make us scratch our heads but we LOVE how they LOVE proving us wrong! You keep going boys…
A dismal season for Maidenhead Town last term. Changes have been big. The Firsts have signed up to play on #thecarpet at Bisham Abbey, swooping on the Magpies old nest, and with several new faces, we don’t see relegation this term and a solid build on last term. Perhaps too far for a Champions League place, but middle earth looks a safe bet.
So there we are. A review with no basis, little information, only social media (and Fake News) as our guide and a slightly wine-eyed view. Shall we go Top Three???
Newbury Champions. Anything else would be failure. But it won’t be easy as they are the team to beat.
Imaan & Cookham Dean as Top 3. Dark horses of Finch and Westwood Ressies for Top 5. Mark our words. Or don’t and spit at your screens. Your choice. But PC World charge £150 to clean fluid on laptops. Believe us.
Agree? Disagree? Think we’re amazing? Want to buy us a present? An expensive one? Perhaps take us out for dinner? We like Gauchos. No, we love Gauchos. And Malbec. Please, someone take us for dinner. Let us know…