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The Non-League Football Paper

The NLP says… In praise of the midfield workhorses!

By Alex Narey, editor

If you were picking a Fantasy Team from the National League, your first port of call would be to bag yourself the striker you know will bag you the goals.

For me, there is no better frontman in Non-League football than AFC Fylde’s Danny Rowe. It’s not only that he scores goals, he scores them from everywhere: inside the box, outside the box, with both pegs, and he’s not too shabby with his head either. If you were building yourself the perfect striker, Rowe would be the prototype for the early construction – why not look at this weekend’s odds where OLBG have a selection of free bets available.

The other thing that is great about Rowe is that win, lose or draw, he always seems to be there.

Of all the remarkable transfers in the summer, the most remarkable one was the one that didn’t happen. How a Football League club didn’t secure his signature is a mystery to me.

Elsewhere, Liam Noble is another player who would be on your ‘Fantasy’ list. The former Forest Green man has Hartlepool United ticking this season and is at the heart of every string they pull.

Leyton Orient’s Craig Clay would be good value for plenty of points, as would Ebbsfleet’s Corey Whitely.

In a Fantasy world, these players come at a cost, while the workhorses tend to make up the numbers.

Funnily enough, there is a similar theory when we are putting our Team(s) of the Week together; we sometimes don’t notice the hard-working midfielder who has marshalled the jinking playmaker out of the game, or the industrious left-back who has starved the opposition of any attacking threat down the right-hand side.

We often get challenged on our selection for our TOTW, and so we should. After all, it is subjective and never definitive.

We pick our players from the ratings handed out by the match-day reporters, but there can be no doubting the importance of those players who churn out the ‘above average’ performances each and every week (who often don’t make the cut).

I think of players like Craig Eastmond at Sutton United, Mark Ricketts at Boreham Wood and Frankie Raymond at Bromley. For all the creativity around them, it just wouldn’t work without the leg work they put in.

At any level of football, I challenge you to watch the ‘Steady Eddies’ in the middle of the park. They probably wouldn’t cost you much in a Fantasy League, but in the real world they are worth their weight in gold.


Two weeks ago it was the sacking of manager Harry Wheeler, last week it was the owner Glenn Tamplin sending out a statement saying he was cutting all ties with the club and putting it up for sale.

All news worthy of course, but haven’t we been here before with Billericay Town?

The cynic in me suggests Mr Tamplin is actually a long, long way from leaving that football club. He says he will give it three weeks to find a suitable investor.

In my view, the ‘purchase’ of the club would be a lot more appealing if Tamplin could take a backseat for once. So the message is simple: get out of the bloody dugout and let a proper football manager steer the ship.

 

*This article originally featured in The @NonLeaguePaper which is available every Sunday and Monday for £1.50 in all good newsagents and supermarkets

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