Get to know the Isthmian’s 18 new sides

With several new clubs entering the Isthmian set up this season, we thought we would give a welcome and provide a background to some of these teams.

Isthmian Premier 

Bishop’s Stortford

Last Season’s finish: 18th (Southern League Premier Division)

Image result for bishops stortford fc

Manager: Adam Flint

In recent history, Stortford have found themselves competing both in the National South and, slightly bizarrely, the National north. Having been relegated to the Southern Premier, the Blues find themselves in yet another new division this term. The team will be welcoming new opposition to Woodside Park, and Flint’s men will be hoping to improve on last season’s finish of 18th this time round.



Last Season’s finish: 21st (Relegated)

Manager: Image resultJude McDonald

After working their way up from County Level, the Brighton-based side were relegated last season, after three seasons in the National South, including making the first round of the FA cup, the Hawks find themselves back playing Isthmian football this time out, and will be hoping for a swift return to National League Football



Isthmian North 


 Image result for Coggeshall Town fcCoggleshall Town

Last Season’s finish: 1st (Promoted)

Manager: Graeme Smith

After finishing as Champions of the Eastern Counties League, the Essex Outfit, nicknamed the Seed Growers, find themselves playing Isthmian North football this term. After a successful few seasons, they will be hoping to continue their positive run in the Bostik North this term.


Great Wakering Rovers

Image result for Great Wakering Rovers Last Season’s finish: 1st (Promoted)

Manager: Iain O’Connell

A suburb of Southern-on-sea, Great Wakering Rovers will be competing in the Isthmian North after winning the Essex Senior league last season. After a long time away from the Isthmian, Great Wakering are sure to be relishing the opportunity of getting back to Bostik action next Season.



Isthmian League South Central 


Ashford Town (Middlesex)

Image result for Ashford Town middxLast Season’s finish: 12th (Southern League Division One East)

Manager: Ben Murray

Moved across from the Southern League, Ashford Town achieved a solid mid-table finish last time out. The Tangerines returned to this level of football in the 2015/16 season after a couple of seasons in the combined counties league, and now find themselves amidst the Isthmian set up.


Felixtowe & Walton United

Image result for Felixstowe & Walton United Last Season’s finish: 2nd (Promoted)

Manager: Kevin O’Donnell

The boys from the Suffolk coast finished 2nd in the Eastern Counties league and secured promotion to the Isthmian North. The result of a merger in 2000, the Seasiders will be excited to play at some new venues in the coming season.


Bedfont Sports

Image result for bedfont sports Last Season’s finish: 2nd (Promoted)

Manager: Paul Johnson

The eagles finished 2nd in the Combined Counties league which earnt them promotion to the Isthmian South Central League. Founded in 2002, the step up will be an exciting new adventure for the club from the London Borough of Hounslow


Bracknell Town

Image result for Bracknell Town FCLast Season’s finish: 2nd (promoted)

Manager: Carl Davies

After winning promotion from the Hellenic Premier division, the Berkshire club are placed in the South Central division.  After a strong season last time out, Carl Davies will be at the helm hoping to oversee another strong season for Bracknell Town


Chalfont St Peter


Image result for chalfont st peter fcLast Season’s finish: 9th

Manager: Danny Edwards

The Buckinghamshire outfit are one of a number of teams moved across from the Southern League. After a strong season, but missing out on the play-offs, the Saints look well set for another good campaign this time out.


Egham Town


Image result for Egham Town fc Last season’s finish: 16th

Manager: Simon Lane

The Sarnies finished 16th last time out, and the North-West Surrey outfit will be hoping to improve on that performance in the Isthmian South central. With one of the best nicknames in non-league football, it is good to have the men from Runnymede stadium as part of the Isthmian set up


Hanwell Town


Image result for Hanwell Town fc Last Season’s finish: 18th

Manager: Ray Duffy

Ray Duffy is in his third spell in charge of the London Borough of Easily based club. Transferred over from the Southern League system, Reynolds field is sure to be a new ground for lots of supporters this season.


Hayes & Yeading United


Image result for hayes and yeading fcLast Season’s finish: 3rd

Manager: Paul Hughes

Narrowly missing out on promotion last time out, Hayes & Yeading are another new welcome to the Isthmian league setup. In recent history the club have been in the National League, beating the likes of Oxford United. Paul Hughes will surely be hoping his side are competing at the right end of the table in the coming campaign.




Image result for Marlow fc Last Season’s finish: 14th

Manager: Mark Bartley

Transferred from the Southern League, the blues are welcomed into the South Central division. The Buckinghamshire club are the only club in England to have applied for entry to the FA cup for every season since its creation, having been founded in 1870.




Image result for Northwood fcLast Season’s finish: 17th

Manager: Dean Barker

For the first time in 8 years, Northwood are part of the Isthmian system. The Woods have appointed a new manager, Dean Barker for the campaign and will be hoping they can make a positive start to life in the Isthmian divisions




Image result for uxbridge fc


Last Season’s finish: 15th

Manager: Tony Choules

The team from Honeycroft return to the Isthmian set up after a lengthy spell away. The club won back to back Middlesex cups in 2013 and 2014 and will be a welcome addition to the newly created league




Image result for westfield fc Last season’s finish: 1st (Promoted)

Manager: Tony Read

After finishing as champions of the combined counties league, Westfield have made the Isthmian system for the first time in their history and will be relishing getting started. Playing close to National South Woking FC, Westfield will be looking forward to welcoming new opposition to Woking park


Isthmian League South East 


Haywards Heath Town


Image result for haywards heath town fc Last Season’s finish: 1st (Promoted)

Manager: Shaun Saunders

The West Sussex outfit stormed home to win the Southern Combination Premier division, and are a new entry to the South East Division. A club with a rich history in Sussex football, Haywards Heath will be making plenty of trips to Kent this time out in the new division


Sevenoaks Town


Image result for sevenoaks town fcLast season’s finish: 1st (Promoted)

Manager:  Micky Collins

After earning promotion from a strong county league in the South Counties East league, the outfit from Greatness park will be hoping for more greatness in the coming season. In an Iconic blue and black kit, supporters in the South East division are sure to enjoy a trip to Sevenaoks Town


Image result for whitstable town fcWhitstable Town

Last Season’s finish: 2nd (promoted)

Manager: Scott Porter

After a couple of season’s away, the Oysterboys return to the Isthmian set up. Visiting supporters can look forward to a seaside trip to the Belmont ground






Written by Adam Willmott (@apfwillmott) Follow us on Instagram and Twitter @OfficialBOTN 



Quickfire Q&A with Elliott Ronto

Elliott Ronto is an Australian born Witham Town front man, who has scored plenty of the goals in the Bostik North this season, we caught up with him for a quickfire Q&A


Earliest Football Memories?


I started playing in Australia when I was six years old because one of my mates was playing. And I remember scoring my first goal which was a sliding reach to the ball and it dribbled in. I celebrated with my dad who was coach at the time. I have never looked back since.


Toughest opponent?


I have to say Heybridge Swifts for that one


Best player  you have played with… and best player you have played against?


Growing up through academies and A-league sides, I played with a lot a players who are now pro and have been pro but the best player I have played with would be an Australian international player, Tommy Oar. The best player I have played against would be Matt McKay. Another Australian international who plays in the A-League.


Best advice?


Always chase your dream and know that anything is possible if you put 100% work into it. So I moved to England!


Favourite Dish?


I love a good Chinese. Can’t beat the classic Mongolian beef!


If you could change one rule in football, what would it be?


I can’t think of anything I would change. In my opinion, you don’t need to fix something that isn’t broken.


Favourite Footballer? 


Michael Owen has always been my favourite. My uncle sent me a VCR of a training video he made when I was young.


Best thing about Non-League?


I love the passion and desire of all the players. Also the dedicated fans who come to the games every week.


Any targets?


Personally, I am aiming to get 15 goals and 20 assists as a midfielder, and I am not far off! But as a team I believe we should finish way higher on the table than we currently are!



1-on-1 with Brightlingsea Regent’s Jake Turner

Jake Turner is a central midfielder who plays for Essex outfit Brightlingsea Regent. The energetic midfielder has an eye for goal and has scored two great goals in front of the Back of the Net cameras. Jake talked to us about his line of work, his ability to score great goals and more!


Tell us about ‘Sport for Confidence’ and the work you do


The model places healthcare professionals into leisure centres to work alongside coaches to provide sporting opportunities to people with mental health problems, learning disabilities, physical disabilities and a range of other health needs. My role as a health professional is to make reasonable adjustments, break down barriers within a leisure centre and work closely with coaches to ensure that segregated sections of society have the opportunity to take part in sporting sessions which are accessible, adaptive, active and fun! Sport can be so much more than just sport, it can have a positive impact on a person’s mental wellbeing, physical health and overall quality of life.


What are your earliest memories of playing football, what got you into playing the game?


I started playing at the age of eight, my dad took me over to the local football team in our area at the time; Great Bradfords FC and I stayed there until the age of 16. I just remember being the shortest player in the team for the whole 8 years!


Who have been the toughest opposition you have faced this season?


The likes of Dulwich and Folkestone have lots of talented players, however for me personally I found Hendon were the toughest team I have played against as a central midfielder. There midfield was forever rotating making it extremely difficult to mark and play against.


Who is the best player you have played with… and who is the best player you have played against?


When I was younger I played with Connor Wickham but in terms of the present, I played with Michael Cheek a few years back before he got a move to Braintree Town and then Dagenham and Redbridge. An explosive striker who could ghost past people and find the bottom corner for fun.

I have played against Jonjo Shelvey when I was younger, he was a talent back then and no surprise he made it to the top.


You have scored two great goals in front on the Back of the Net cameras now, are set pieces and long-range efforts something you work on?


I have always worked on set pieces in and around the box which has helped in finding the net on matchdays. As a player I strive to ensure I never give the ball away whether it’s a 10-yard pass or 50-yard pass and to accomplish that; technique is everything, so I suppose over time it has aided in helping me score long range efforts! However, I am happy to say that you guys could be my lucky omen of late!


What is the best piece of advice you have been given in football?


My dad once said to me ‘there is only one variable you can control on a matchday and that’s work rate. You give 100% effort and the rest will follow’.


What is your favourite dish/cuisine? 


I love a roast dinner every Sunday!


If you could change one rule in football, what would it be?


I think the rule has been changed recently, however still players seem to get away with it, when taking a penalty players that stop and start mid run up, I don’t think that’s fair. Players have the advantage anyway, they should have to run up to the ball in one motion, no stopping.


Who is your favourite footballer, past or present?


When growing up I was obsessed with David Beckham, I still am now to be fair! Will never forget the moment he scored the free kick against Greece in 2001 to send England to the World Cup. Currently I could sit and watch Moussa Dembele all day for Spurs.


What has been the best game you have been involved in?


Blimey – hard question. When I was 17 I got a call up to Braintree Town first team away to Luton Town, it was a Wednesday night, the stadium had 10,000 fans watching and we won 3-2. Quite an achievement for just a pub team from Essex. Bear in mind I didn’t get on, I had a great time pinging the balls around at half time!


And finally, what is unique about Brightlingsea Regent?


Where do I start! It’s a club supported by the Ultra’s week in week out who act as our 12th man, it’s driven by volunteers who work tirelessly to keep the club to a high standard. It offers opportunity to youngsters to progress through the ranks and management who offer opportunity for first team football. The club’s ethos welcomes anyone to the Taydal Stadium to enjoy non-league football at its best, and to never under estimate little old Brightlingsea Regent.




Lowestoft Town need your support!

Lowestoft Town are the latest Bostik club to find themselves in financial difficulties, following Dulwich Hamlet’s ongoing issues as tenants at Champion Hill, a site owned by Meadow Residential. Lowestoft players and staff went unpaid for the month of January, articulating just how bad the financial issues are for the Suffolk club. Alan Green, stepped down from his position as chairman of the club recently, due to the difficult circumstances the Trawler Boys find themselves in.


Lowestoft are a historic non-league club, with a rich history, which includes reaching an FA vase final. Following relegation from the National League North in the 2015-16, the Trawler Boys attendances have been in major decline, meaning the revenue of the club has taken a major hit. With what the club describes as an “extremely high wage structure” in comparison to the majority of Bostik Premier league clubs, the falling away of attendances have placed the club in financial peril.


Lowestoft media manager Sean Galea-Price stated:

“The plan now is to tackle these problems is to engage in supporter meetings in which full details of the situation the club finds itself in can be revealed. The club then can plan to devise a short term plan to see us through the last nine weeks of the season and the summer. We hope we can finalise a long term plan and begin to rebuild our club.

It is times like this that we need the supporters help more than ever. There has been a lot of good times with promotion success and an FA cup FA vase final in recent years. But unfortunately, the club has fallen on hard times and it is now vital that fans come out in their numbers for the remaining home matches as we fight to secure out Bostik Premier division status”


Being the furthest East team in Britain, the sun is the last to set in Lowestoft, and it would be a great shame if the sun was to set on Lowestoft Town and they were unable to continue next season. The club are really keen for the population of Lowestoft, and its wider area, to get behind the club in these difficult times, and support the teams aim to stay in the Bostik Premier division.


The next home fixture for Lowestoft Town is on Tuesday 13th March at The Amber Dew Events Stadium, where they will host North London’s Wingate & Finchley. If you’re in the Suffolk or Norfolk area, please lend your support to Lowestoft Town.



1-on-1 with Whyteleafe Ladies winger Rachel Innes

Rachel Innes is a right winger and right full back for Whyteleafe Ladies FC, who currently sit top of the Greater London Women’s Football league premier division, after thus far going unbeaten this campaign. Rachel has been with Whyteleafe Ladies for two seasons, having joined the club from Fulham Ladies. Rachel is our first female footballer on our 1-on-1 series, and she gave us some great answers


What are your earliest memories of playing football, what got you into playing the game?


I was about Six years old, and I played football with some of my friend’s brothers in the park. This lead to me going to the local boy’s league, and I just remember being the only girl there for years!


Who have been the toughest opposition you have faced this season?


This season it would probably be the Isthmian Cup semi-final against West Ham United. We were most definitely seen as the underdogs in that game. Mentally, we had no choice but to block out a lot of talk from outside commentators, as we were expected to lose to a score well into double figures, but we knew for sure that was not going to be the case. Physically, we are a strong team and in my opinion each player really did show their strength and grit in that game. We had to be physical as we knew we were not going to be as fit as them, as we only train as a team once a week, which in my opinion made the difference as we were running on fumes by the end. They are an organised team with a strong central midfield, and it was great to play against a team of their ability.


Who is the best player you have played with… and who is the best player you have played against?


Ahh, I cant choose just one as there are so many great players! I grew up playing football in and around Aberdeen, so I played with and against Rachel Corsie and Kim Little a lot. Kim is a fantastic player and so clinical in front of goal!

Katie Kingshott who joined leafe this year is extremely quick and just does not stop, she would be up there as one of the best I’ve played with for sure. Physically and mentally, Giorgia Dunne and Steph Mann who play for Whyteleafe, are the strongest players I’ve ever played with or against. There really is no getting past them!


What is the best piece of advice you have been given in football?


The best advice that has really worked for me is simply ‘play with grit’. Negative self-belief has been a huge reason for what I have felt have been my poor performances. I now make sure before every kick-off, I remind myself to play with grit and to win my individual battles.


What is your favourite dish/cuisine?


Italian… shock! Who’s isn’t?!


If you could change one rule in football, what would it be?


Good question. That our season be throughout summer? I really can not cope in the bitterly cold winter weather!


Who is your favourite footballer, past or present?


My favourite ever player has got to be Ronaldinho. He was sensational!


What has been the best game you have been involved in?


A game that stands out was probably recently against West Ham. We really showcased for ourselves more than anyone how much we play for each other as a team. It was great to see every player leave everything they had on the pitch, and walk off knowing they had given what they could for the cause.


And finally, what do you aim to achieve in your time with Whyteleafe Ladies?


I want us to win the league and gain promotion this year! Looking further ahead, I would love for Charlie, Harry and the girls to play as high up in the women’s game as possible, and keep working for promotions.



Tomorrow night’s radio programme will be focusing on the women’s game. We will have guests from Lewes Ladies, Margate Ladies, Worthing FC Ladies and Whyteleafe Ladies. We’re hoping it will be a great insight for out listeners on the women’s game, so be sure to tune in at 7pm tomorrow via

To keep up to date with all the latest goings on at back of the net, for information on our whereabouts, radio show and special features, follow us across social media at @OfficialBOTN. Rachel Innes can also be found on twitter at @RachelMFI, as can I @adam__willmott.



1-on-1 with Dulwich Hamlet stopper Preston Edwards

Preston Edwards is a talented goalkeeper who started his career with Millwall. After spells at Dover Athletic and Grays, Edwards went onto play for Ebbsfleet, where he made over 200 appearances.

Now at Bostik Premier Dulwich Hamlet, Edwards must surely be considered one of the best keepers in the division. We caught up with Preston to see what he had to say about non-league, Dulwich Hamlet and more!


Firstly, how is this season going for you personally, and for Dulwich Hamlet as a whole?


Personally, I’ve been happy with my form. I have been quite consistent over the course of the season and kept a good number of clean sheets. The first half of the season was excellent for us. We accumulated over two points per game and that is a good sign when you want to be at the right end of the table. We have stuttered of late, and we have not been happy with results. I’m sure we will kick on, but we must start getting results if we want to achieve our aim of promotion.


Who has been the toughest opposition for Dulwich Hamlet so far this season?


Margate has been our toughest opponent to date. I thought they were well organised and limited us to only a few chances. We normally have lots of chances in each game, but in this game I can only remember us having a limited amount of chances.


When do you first remember going between the sticks?


I remember being put in the sticks when I was nine years old. I was a fat, asthmatic kid who could run fast, but ran out of breath quickly. My coach saved the hassle of me asking for my asthma pump during the game and stuck me in goal. I would much rather play on pitch though!


Who is the best player you have played with… and who is the best player you have played against?


I was with the England under 19s and played with Daniel Sturridge. He was unbelievable! I also played against Luka Modric. He had eyes at the back of his head!

In terms of non-league, the best player I have played with is Andre Gray, who has progressed on to play in the Premier League. A real powerhouse forward, who gives defenders a torrid time. An inspiration to all young non-league players that anything can happen if you have the determination to succeed.

The best player I played against is big Matt Rhead at Lincoln City. A man mountain, who wins absolutely everything in the air.


If you could change one rule in football, what would it be?


When an opposition player injures one of your players, and the injured player has to go off the pitch, whilst the offender stays on the pitch. This does not make any sense to me, so this would be the rule I would change!


You were once sent off after ten seconds, do you look back and laugh about it now?


Is this weird? I’m actually proud of the world record for the fastest sending off for a goalkeeper! I am hoping no one will beat it.


What is your favourite cuisine/dish?


I do love a gaucho steak with the boneless ribs. I starve myself the whole day when I know I have this to eat!


And finally… what makes Dulwich Hamlet unique as a club?


Dulwich is by far the most unique club in non-league football. It is well documented what is happening behind the scenes at Dulwich. This has galvanised the fans even more to keep supporting the team, and I can’t thank them enough for supporting the team through these tough times. The pink and blue is like no other team! Dulwich is a special club!



Keep up to date with all the latest goings on across social media @OfficialBOTN, Preston is also on twitter as @Preston_Eddy, and you can follow myself @adam__willmott



1-on-1 with Lewes midfielder James Hammond

James Hammond is a midfielder for Lewes FC, who currently sit second in the Bostik South, a point behind poll position with two games in hand. James is a highly rated player with lots of potential, after starting out at Peacehaven & Telscombe he moved to Lewes in 2015, and is a regular starter for the club. We caught up with James for this weeks one-on-one…


Firstly, how is this season going for Lewes, and how is it going for you personally?


The season is going well for Lewes. We are at the right end of the table however that means nothing unless we continue that until the end of the season! For me personally again it is going well, I have managed to stay injury free and play most minutes of every game.


Who has been the toughest opposition you have faced this season?


That’s a difficult one! We played Truro in the cup and they were very decent, and as a team they were very organised. In terms of league opposition, it is very difficult to say as all the games are hard, however if I had to single a team out it would be Carshalton. They have a good way of playing and are a very technical and pacey team.


Who is the best player you have played with… and who is the best player you have played against?


The best player I have played with is probably Charlie Walker, in my first season coming through into the men’s game he scored 43 goals in this league and then got a move to League Two for Luton Town, some of the goals he scored were incredible! The best player I have played against is probably Jamal Blackman, to be fair he didn’t have much to do, but he is the most credible name currently.


What is the best piece of advice you have been given in football?


Probably from when being young, just to be confident and positive at all times. Football is very much a confidence game at all levels, and I believe it really does effect performances. Football is very up and down, so it’s so essential you’ve got this positive type of mind-set.


What is your best asset as a footballer?


I would say my right foot, I like to think I have a half decent ping but few of the lads don’t think so… They are entitled to their opinion I suppose!


If you could change one rule in football, what would it be?


The length of time you have at half time, especially in the winter!! You warm up… Play for 45 minutes, go in for fifteen minutes, then go back out with your lactic acid built up and then stand and wait about four or five minutes to get playing again!


Who is your favourite footballer, past or present?


Steven Gerrard! What a man… Growing up as a Liverpool fan, we had a very average team, but Gerrard produced at the most crucial moments and was an unbelievable player! Now its Mo Salah, for a winger his goal record is crazy, and he has just been a privilege to watch this season. It was Philippe Coutinho until about 4 weeks ago!


What makes Lewes unique as a club?


Well the “Equality FC” tag singles us out and have made our club known nationwide and even in some other countries. Furthermore, having supporters as owners, there are a great bunch of supporters who week in week out come together to cheer us on, and it really does help as they are part of the club, so we all seek for success as one.


And finally, what do you aim to achieve with the rest of the season at Lewes?


In the position we are in it has to be promotion, there is still a long way to go but we will give 100% to make sure it happens.


If you enjoyed this interview be sure to follow us across our social medias at @OfficialBOTN, James Hammond is also on twitter as @JamesHammond97 and myself at @adam__willmott



1-on-1 with Folkestone Invicta marksman Ian Draycott

Ian Draycott is a forward for Folkestone Invicta, with an impressive goal scoring record at all levels in non-league. Draycott is an experienced player with great experience in the game, having won promotions with both Folkestone Invicta and Bedford Town. Ian was kind enough to talk to us about non-league football, and gave us some great answers.


Firstly, how is this season going for you Folkestone Invicta, and how is it going for you personally?


We are having a great season and we’re performing way above expectations. Last season we finished 15th in the league, only three points above the relegation zone after winning our last two games of the season. That lead to us being predicted to finish in the bottom eight by the betting companies before the 17/18 campaign.

So far this season we have already passed the 55 points we achieved last season with 16 games to go, we’re in the playoffs with some big non-league clubs, and we are confident we can stay there if we keep performing to the levels we have done so far this season.

On a personal note, our improved team performances have naturally lead to me performing better than last year. We play fast, energetic, attacking football which suits my game. Whether I’m linking attacks, creating chances or finishing them I’m having a bigger impact on results than I did last season.


Who have been the toughest opposition you have faced this season?


I’d have to say, certain periods of our game at Dulwich Hamlet was the toughest so far. Once they went ahead, their confidence was high and they had 2000+ fans cheering them on, we had to ride the storm for a little while which was tough. I don’t think I touched the ball for 10 minutes! Once we got a foothold back in the game I felt we matched them, but unfortunately we still ended up on the wrong side of a seven goal thriller.


Who is the best player you have played with… and who is the best player you have played against?


I have played with a lot of players that have progressed into full time football, the top three probably being Jed Wallace (currently Millwall), Sonny March (currently Brighton) and Matt Ingram (currently QPR). The best non-league player has to be my idol Paul Booth. A non-league goal scoring legend!

The best player I’ve played against is tough as I don’t want to just name some pros that I’ve played a pre-season friendly against. I also played for England Colleges when I was 18, so I played against a lot of international under eighteen players too. If we’re talking non-league the best front line I’ve played against is Matt Tubbs and Paul Sales when they were at Salisbury together in the Southern Premier, and then the Conference (now National) South. They were unplayable on their day, Salisbury even turned over Nottingham Forrest in the FA Cup thanks to that partnership. I haven’t played against a better pair in non-league since them and that was over 10 years ago.


What is the best piece of advice you have been given in football?


Never lose sight of why you started playing football in the first place. For me that’s both the enjoyment through scoring goals and winning games, and also to be part of a ‘team’ both on and off the pitch, and we have certainly got that at Folkestone.


There’s been a lot of talk about VAR lately, what is your opinion on it?


I’m all for it although I can’t see it coming to non-league anytime soon! It obviously needs a bit of time to be refined and finalised, but I think it will be good for the game long term once referees, players, managers and supporters have a good understanding of the processes. I watch a number of sports including cricket, rugby and tennis where the games have all improved due to the introduction of technology.


If you could change one rule in football, what would it be?


It’s not a rule but playing three games in five days over the Christmas period is ridiculous. I can understand the tradition of professionals playing Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, but I don’t understand the reason behind asking part time, non-league players to sacrifice that much time and effort over the Christmas period.


Who is your favourite footballer, past or present?


I would not say I really have a favourite player, but when I was growing up I used to love watching Dennis Bergkamp in the Arsenal team from the late 90’s early 2000’s. I appreciate good teams rather than individuals and I have not seen many teams over the last couple of years that are as good as Man City’s this season.


What is your favourite thing about non-league?


The characters. There’s nowhere else you can meet so many different characters whether they’re managers, players, supporters or volunteers all in the same environment. I won’t name any names, but every club has them and everyone knows who they are!


And finally, what do you aim to achieve with the rest of the season at Folkestone Invicta?


We never set the play-offs as a target at the beginning of the season but now we’re in them we want to stay there! Play-offs can be a lottery so it would be great to be a part of it at the end of the season. I have been promoted to Conference South via the play-offs before back when I was at Bedford Town in the Southern League, we were big outside underdogs then too, so it would be great to do the same with Folkestone!


If you enjoyed this interview then look out for new ones every Thursday on out twitter (@officialBOTN), you can also follow Ian at (@Draycott10) and myself (@adam__willmott)



Quick-fire Q&A with Dorking Wanderers forward James McShane

James McShane is a forward for Dorking Wanderers, playing an integral part in their Bostik League South promotion campaign last season. His previous clubs include Molesey, Walton Casuals as well as spells in Scotland with Clyde and East Stirlingshire. We caught up with James for a quick-fire Q&A


Firstly, how is this season going for you Dorking Wanderers, and how is it going for you personally?


It has been inconsistent really, with some great wins along the way, but after some games we feel we have come away with the feeling we should have got more than we got.


Do you set yourself any targets at the start of the season?


I always set a goal target of twenty goals a season. I am not quite there yet, but there is plenty of games remaining so I am hopeful of reaching my target.


Who has been the toughest opposition you have faced this season?


Hendon, I thought they were very well organised. They had a very well thought out game plan which nullified our threats.


Which position do you think you are most effective in?


I prefer to play the ‘number ten’ role, just behind the striker. I feel this is where I am best utilised.


Who is the best player you have played with… and who is the best player you have played against?


The best player I have played with has got to be Ruari MacLennan from my time in Scotland with Clyde.

The best player to play against was Jerome Beckles, when I played against him a few years back I couldn’t get near him.


There’s been a lot of talk about VAR lately, what is your opinion on it?


I disagree with VAR. I feel it has ruined the beautiful game from what I have seen of it so far.


If you could change one rule in football, what would it be?


Getting booked for celebrating a goal with fans, or booked taking your shirt off annoys me. I’d change the rule to make it more relaxed.


Who is your favourite footballer, past or present?


Zinedine Zidane is my all-time favourite player.


And finally, what do you aim to achieve with the rest of the season at Dorking Wanderers?


To keep our unbeaten run going, and to finish as high up the table as possible in our first year at this level.



1-on-1 with Met Police’s Alec Fiddes Xammar

Alec Fiddes Xammar is this weeks 1-on-1, the technically gifted midfielder has experience in both Spanish and English football, starting his career at Lleida youth in Spain’s Catalonian region, before returning to England and turning out for Weymouth and Western-Super-Mare amongst others. Alec talks to us about playing professional football in Spain last season for Basque Segunda Division B club S.D Amorebieta, and his season this term which started out at Kingstonian before moving to fellow Bostik Premier outfit Metropolitan Police.

Firstly, how is this season going for you personally, how have you found things at your new club?

The season is going really well. It’s my first year back playing in England after playing professionally in Spain last year, and it’s good to be back. We had a great start to the season at Kingstonian; I really enjoyed my time there and have some very fond memories of the club. I moved on to Met police a couple of weeks ago as Jim showed a lot of interest in me and I wanted to be a part of the promotion push. I’ve loved it since the day I Joined. I feel like I can play my game and really enjoying playing with a great group of lads and under the management team

Who has been the toughest opposition you have faced so far this season?

I was really impressed with Leatherhead the times I’ve faced them this season. They play some nice football and have made some shrewd signings such as Tom Derry which for me makes them a serious contender for playoffs and potential promotion this season. When I was at K’s I was also very impressed with Met who beat us twice, which was part of the reason I Joined!

You’re a Bristol University graduate, what was your degree in, and did you enjoy the experience?

I studied Philosophy, I guess in the world of football it’s always good to put a philosophical perspective on everything! Bristol was great though, a lovely city where I met some great people. I was also fortunate enough to play for Weston Super Mare, Chippenham and Weymouth in my time down in the South West, so I had a great balance of my football career and University studies.

What are your earliest memories of playing football?

Probably early school football, and playing for my local club Balham Blazers!

How does playing in Spain differ to playing in England, is the English game really much more physical?

It is definitely more physical in England. I’d say football in Spain is much more focussed and orientated around the ball. If you’ve got control of the ball you’ve got control of the game, something which probably suits my style. However the end to end, high tempo football which we get in England is very entertaining to both watch and play in.

Which position do you think you are most effective in?

I’d say on the wing or just behind the striker. Since I have signed for Met Police I’ve been playing behind the striker and feel I can have a bigger influence on the game as I probably get on the ball more and have more chances to score. Although I like playing on the wing too, putting crosses in the box and running at my full back.

Who is the best player you have played with… and who is the best player you have played against?

The best player I’ve ever played with is Adrien Goni. Goni was Ex Athletico Bilbao and I was lucky enough to share a dressing room with him last year at Amorebieta, and I was amazed by the quality he had every day in training. The best player I’ve played against is Gerard Deulofeu. When I played for Lleida Esportiu youth team we played against Barcelona’s youth team. He came on with 15 minutes to go and scored a hattrick when they were 2-0 down!

If you could change one rule in football, what would it be?

In non-league football I’d change the non-contract policy. I think it’s unfair that players get shipped in and out of some football clubs as if it were nothing. I believe there should be a rule put in place where you’re only allowed to sign and release a certain number of players a year. Players should have more rights.

Who is your favourite footballer, past of present?

Lionel Messi, simple answer – Past, present and future

And finally, what do you aim to achieve with the rest of your season at Met Police?

The aim is to get in the playoffs and once we are there you never know! Promotion to the conference south would be nice!