I would just like to wish all Rocks fans the very best at this troubling and worrying time. When do we return to normality is a question on everyones lips but the sooner the better I think for all concerned. This time must be very difficult for the players and staff as well given this season becoming null and void. But when you get a global issue like this in my opinion, the best decision was made. But we all know we did see some football up until 10th March and here are my memories and thoughts on the 2019/20 season. To the fans it still happened after all!
It was clearly the beginning of the season and our troubles in finding a suitable goalkeeper. Petar Durin, Charlie Searle and Myles Roberts all being a part of the side between the sticks in the first couple of months. James Holden proved to be a great find for Bognor but he soon left and unfortunately got an injury elsewhere. Getting smashed 6-1 away to Dulwich Hamlet in the FA Cup was a real blow and inadvertently gave us the impetus needed for the rest of the campaign to see where we needed to improve. We recorded home losses to Carshalton Athletic (2-0), Cheshunt (2-1) and Potters Bar Town (4-0) which meant our league form got off to a rotten start. Losing to Worthing both home and away 3-0 was also a major low point – although those wins have now been wiped from history officially.
Best Young Prospects
I thought the performances of our young players deserve some credit. Tommy and Ashton Leigh have really performed well this season. Tommy has put in some great shifts and scored some brilliant goals. It’s hard to realise they were playing football two leagues below our level before signing for the side. I also liked the look of Eddie Wakley and he put in some great performances at Kingstonian and Bowers & Pitsea this season where Rocks got some decent wins away from Nyewood Lane.
From Ivory Coast to South Coast
I can’t talk about this season without mentioning the appearance and performances of Amadou Tangara. The positive thing is he has signed for next season as well so we will not have the same goalkeeping troubles as we did last year. A big well done for this season to Amadou and he would be a top contender for player of the season in my opinion. His performance in the Kingstonian away game sticks in my mind, pulling out some fantastic saves to basically win us the game. The visible passion seen after a win is most pleasing.
Doing the Double over Invicta
I think one of the highlights was gaining the six points over Folkestone Invicta. I am not counting of course the Velocity Trophy League Cup loss which ended 4-3 to Invicta where Bognor came into the game late on. But these performances were great and fabulous goals scored. I fondly remember Dan Smith’s turn and low strike at the death to steal the win in our away game against them this past season.
We had some great momentum leading up to November where we were 8 games unbeaten in all competitions. This lasted from our away win at Folkestone 2-1 on 19th October until our home 2-1 victory to Merstham on 16th November. This was a particular highlight and boosted the morale with all at the club.
An inspired loan signing which saw Joe Cook play a number of matches for the Green Army. He has recently been recalled and signed by Havant & Waterlooville and all at BRTFC would like to thank him for his sterling efforts in the green and white shirt this season. A calm and assured centre back who is not afraid to get the side on the attack. He proved that when he notched a goal of the season contender against Enfield Town with a 30-yard screamer in our 4-1 victory that night – a great memory. Whether we have seen the last of him at Bognor is yet to be seen, but I feel he will play at a higher level.
Getting decent results away from home were particular highlights. Demolishing Margate away 6-1 with James Crane netting a hat-trick was a personal favourite. We dominated the game and never let the Gate get a look in. The home game against Cray Wanderers winning 7-2 saw us get everything together on 14th December. It’s a shame we didn’t see a return at their place given the early season finish, but they were sitting in second place so they would be out for revenge! The derby victories away to Lewes (1-0) and Horsham (2-0) were also highlights. In fact in our last game against Horsham I thought we still had an outside chance of making 5th position and have a go at the play-offs.
I am missing everyone at the club. So the media team are doing all they can to keep the fans engaged with all that is BRTFC. I am running podcasts on our YouTube channel Rocks TV and social media channels. If people want to chat to me remotely over the phone I am sure I can fit in an episode for you! Lots of good people are involved at the club and I believe that needs to be documented online. If you are interested, contact me on Twitter @LiamGoodley or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ground Improvement Plans
It was revealed in the press recently that there are plans to improve the main stand, floodlights, tannoy system, toilet areas, board room and Season’s end stand. If things return to normal, this is likely to happen this summer or the next and has been in the pipeline for a long time. The improvements will mean that we will eventually be able to compete in the National League with new rules on ground grading, particularly the number of seats required for fans. I think off the pitch all the hard work is starting to come together and that is one of the best things about this club at the moment. Many thanks particularly to Simon Cook and Dave Robinson who I know have been working hard to put this in place.
Whenever this will start, it will be interesting to see where we end up come the end of next season. I am feeling selfish in saying in a way we are lucky that Worthing stayed in our league – and that’s not me poking fun. I think if we were in the same position as they were cruising at the top of the league and seven points clear we would be pretty annoyed. I think having them in the same league again next season will see us have our big local derby day home and away and I know the gates help both clubs. If we can keep a good nucleus of players for next year then I am hopeful for a decent campaign. The young players will now have that experience of playing at our level under their belts. Plus we have an established goalkeeper which was something we didn’t possess last year. People claim I am over optimistic but you just never know with this team. The only way is up!
At this time it is important to follow the guidelines set by the government. Stay home as much as you can, self isolate and go out only for essentials or work. Lets beat COVID-19. Protect our NHS and save lives. Even our prime minister has the virus so it shows anyone can get it. BRTFC will be back and the feeling will be great when it is. See you at the club soon, don’t eat too much chocolate over Easter and enjoy the summer! Stay safe!
UP THE ROCKS