Out of nowhere they launched up the Leagues, and entertained the starry eyed masses with a sky high cup run. It was bright, colourful and charismatic – the stuff of non league dreams. But no sooner had the starburst exploded, than it began to fizzle out, and fall back from whence it came. The crowds thinned out and went to find something more interesting to watch instead, leaving the locals to pick up the pieces.. Welcome to a Whitehawk – the club which gave you fireworks.
Unfortunately, because nobody knew where they were launched from, their rise included the PR stunt of trying to rename themselves Brighton City, when Brighton Out of Town Housing Estate would have been more appropriate. It got about as far as their whizz-bang league escapades.
On the upside, you can’t fault Whitehawk’s ambition, and their hard core fans will have had plenty of fun on the way, along with a couple of season’s worth of hangers on. However, the recent demise of North Ferriby is a cautionary tale of boom and bust for historically small teams, who do not have the same depth of resources to draw on as the more experienced boom and bust charlatans like Margate. It’s a risky game to play nowadays.
As such, Whitehawk have looked doomed to relegation for much of the season, but have made a decent attempt at the Great Escape until the last two games against Enfield and Worthing ended in defeat. For the uninitiated Whitehawk’s ground is as scruffy and un-endearing as its surroundings, with a bumpy sloping pitch, and they have only managed three league wins there this season. However, holding Dorking to a draw at home in January, with noisy and committed local fans, shows it will be no pushover for the Angels.
There will be a few familiar faces to greet the away team, the cheery demeanour of Henry Muggeridge (and his Dad 🙄) and the ground shaking Nathan Pinney on the pitch, with Johnny Elwood sharing his wisdom from the dugout.
This season it’s Tonbridge Angels’ turn to be aiming for the stars, and they will be looking at this as a game they should win, if they are to start to cement their growing play off claims in the end of season run in. The last half a dozen matches have seen a return to early season form, grinding out low scoring wins, built on an outstanding defence. Only Merstham have found a way through in the last six games.
Up front, a potent strike force on paper is looking a bit, um, impotent on grass, but is still squeezing out the goals that matter, while the midfield is adjusting to the loss of captain Tom Parkinson. It is a small but very talented squad, but will it be big enough to make it to the end of the season with sufficient in the tank for the three consecutive cup finals, which need to be won to secure play off promotion this year, thanks to the FA’s crackpot League restructuring. This is another of those games which the Angels need to be a three pointer, to help give them a chance to find out when May comes around.
Because there’s plenty at stake for both teams, let’s hope there’s a few whizz bangs and no duds on the pitch to entertain the fans on Saturday.
Walk out music..