With the play-offs over the Ryman League season is officially over so we can all enjoy a well earned 3 month rest (if only).
First things first, congratulations to Alan Boon and Staines who crept through the play offs on Saturday. Carshalton missed a penalty in the 87th minute which would have given them promotion but an extra time goal sent Staines up. You can’t argue that Staines don’t deserve it, according to the table they were clearly the second best team in the league – though it does means we lose a local fixture and one which produced two memorable games this past season.
It occured to me just how quickly things change. For several weeks leading up to the end of the regular season everyone was focused on the play-offs, not only from our club, but no doubt from all the other clubs challenging.
For Tonbridge and Sutton (particularly winning their shoot out game against Hornchurch) there will have been considerable excitement on reaching the play-offs but this excitement was swiftly extinguished in just 90 minutes three days after the regular season. For Carshalton one expects the pain will last the longest.
Does all this mean anything for next season? We can expect that Tonbridge, Carshalton and Sutton will all be there or thereabouts. I’m not sure how strong the teams coming up will be so whether Kingstonian or Aveley (or Cray or Waltham Abbey) will be planning to ‘do a Dover’, and we don’t know how finances will impact on club’s ambitions, with rumours around clubs like Maidstone and Hornchurch existing – not to mention our own financial position.
For my money, I make Dartford my early favourites as I was impressed by the strength of their squad and feel they will do better next season, but if we can keep everyone together at Wealdstone then who knows how well we can do?
That brings me back to budget – and I won’t go back over that again now.