By David Richardson
Togetherness and team spirit at Wealdstone can prove the difference this season, says manager Bobby Wilkinson.
Monday night football has never been so good for the Stones under Wilkinson, who hailed their win over then league leaders Woking last week as the best he had seen during his tenure at the club.
The Cards were the only side in the National South to have won their first three games until Wealdstone put a stop to that with a late Matt Lench penalty.
“Overall, as a team, when we’re as one here we’re unstoppable,” the enthusiastic boss said. “I’ve always just said we’ve got to keep pressing as a team, work hard off the pitch, work hard on the pitch and if you do, you always get success, that’s what I believe in.
“I always knew we were going to win. The biggest pleasure I’m getting at the moment is we’re battling 150 per cent but we’re playing some nice football at times as well. When we lost on Saturday [at Billericay] I had one thing in mind, drive these boys forward and let’s get three points and get up to where we want to be.”
Wilkinson will have been able to sympathise with new Arsenal boss Unai Emery this summer.
It was almost 12 months ago that the 41-year-old replaced the legendary Gordon Barlett after 22 years as Stones manager.
Following seven seasons of continued success at Hungerford, Wilkinson is now looking to take Wealdstone to new heights.
“Last year was very different, it wasn’t completely my side,” he says. “But this year you’ve got to be a robot off the ball but then play when you’ve got it. If you don’t work hard, you won’t play. Everyone’s playing for everyone. There’s no superstars here, it’s all about togetherness, fighting out there to win games.
“If we come off the pitch every week having given 110 per cent then that’s all I can ask.”
By the end of September, Wealdstone will have already played Billericay, Woking, Dartford, Concord, Dulwich and Chelmsford – all sides tipped to be challenging at the top end of the table.
“Someone wanted to test me with the first ten games, didn’t they?” jokes Wilkinson. “As soon I saw them I laughed. But, I want to be tested. I want to have the pressure, the chance to go against the best teams in the first ten games and then see where we are. We have a special team around us and if we stick together we’ll get more points.”
*This article originally featured in The @NonLeaguePaper which is available every Sunday and Monday