Next up the rearranged game against Wingate and Finchley, lost to the great snow storm of January, when the annual occurrence of 1cm of slush brought London to a slithering stop.
There’s not a great deal to update on the original preview below. Tonbridge have continued to improve, while Wingate continue to flounder. The only curious bit of news is that Wingate have enlisted some local students to add A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) to their match preparation, presumably not having enough N.I. (Natural Intelligence) of their own to get out of trouble. It is actually a praiseworthy education initiative – and there must be many supporters watching the plight of their team who’d love it if this works, to be able to replace their own failing manager with Alexa Ferguson. Anyway, back to the future for the preview of the game:
The original Wingate FC, prior to various mergers, was a Jewish club founded in 1946 to help counter anti-semitism, which should not be something that resonates today, but regrettably still does. However, don’t spend your time trying to find their founding location of old Wingate town on a map, because it doesn’t exist. Unusually, the club was named after a person rather than a place. Orde Wingate was a British Army Officer, and a staunch supporter of the founding of the state of Israel, described by Churchill as “one of the most brilliant and courageous figures of the Second World War”. Eccentricity often accompanies genius, and Wingate had a penchant for eating raw onions and raw garlic, wearing an alarm clock on his wrist, and not wearing any clothes (presumably because they smelt so badly of onion and garlic).
Sadly, none of this colourful history appears on the Wingate and Finchley club badge, which contents itself with a Star of David to reflect this part of its history. I can’t help think it’s a bit of a missed opportunity – nude man with onion, rampant, would be a heraldic crest to strike fear into the hearts of even the mightiest opponents. However, Wingate and Finchley only had an average attendance of 141 last season, and even their FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying tie in November 2018 against National League South Chippenham attracted a gathering of just 90, so perhaps it was best to keep it clean for a family audience, to avoid losing any more spectators.
In spite of this slim support Wingate and Finchley continued to have an excellent run in the FA Trophy, beating Dulwich after dispatching Chippenham, before falling to Hemel Hempstead. But they have found the League hard going and currently sit in a releagation spot in the Isthmian Premier Division, a struggle which sees them already on the look for permanent manager number four for the season. While they have been a great example of how to manage well with limited resources, this may be one campaign too far at this level.
For the Angels, with crowds on average three or more times higher still only serving up a mid-table League position at present, and with no cup joy, this midweek winter evening trek around the M25 to North London is the type of game they need to win to keep their mid season revival on track. A classic “who’s up for it?” match. The result could well be defining for how the rest of the season will unfold for the Angels. An away win on a cold February midweek night would be great for the confidence, and raise the real prospect of continuing to bounce back up the league towards the play off spots. A draw would be “meh”, leaving them in mid table, but still looking upwards rather than down.
Every game should be treated as “must win”, but this one more than most, especially as Wingate & Finchley will be going into it firmly in that mindset, to pull themselves away from the foot of the table. The Angels have started scoring for fun at last, and although they looked weary against Margate last Saturday, must fancy their chances.
That’s shallot for this preview. It’s a night for heroes, and it’ll probably end in tears for someone. Walk out music fitting for both sides: