Expecting Too Much?
Regular contributor Alan Jessup-Peacock returns to look ahead to Concord Rangers’ historic first season in Conference South.
The season is nearly upon us, with just over a week until the Skrill Conference South (and North) kick off and get under way. Forty four teams, all with their own aims and ambitions for the season, whether that is to simply stay in the league they’re in, to have a decent cup run, or to achieve promotion to the next level. Then of course there’s the fans, we have our own hopes & dreams for the coming season, some realistic, some clearly not.
I’ll be completely honest, at the start of last season I never even dreamed that Concord Rangers would achieve all that they did. There were hopes of a decent cup run or two (considering there were four the club were a part of) and a top half table finish, but that was it. Obviously as the season progresses the expectations and aspirations change with how the team progresses, but at this point before the season begins in earnest you have to be reasonable with what you hope for for your team, right?
Well a number of teams fans (especially at Ryman level after seeing Twitter recently) believe that their team will be promoted no questions asked, obviously they cannot all be right and given the strength of some leagues many will be in for a massive shock. In the Ryman Premier I’ve seen fans of Lowestoft, Canvey Island, Wealdstone, Billericay and Hornchurch all state they will be promoted this season, personally I think one of those could well be right, however some are just dreaming a bit too much! I am glad that Concord Rangers were promoted from this league, as it looks to be the toughest it’s been in a long time, good luck to anyone who believes they can predict what is going to happen there!
We all want success for the teams we support, don’t get me wrong, however there has to be a realistic view as to what success is for each club. For example, this coming season in the Conference South, my view of success for the Beachboys will be to be competitive and stay up in a league many believe we are punching well above our weight to be in. Another cup run would be nice, obviously it’s tough to beat a cup win like last season, but making the 1st round proper of the FA Cup would come close! I don’t expect Concord to challenge for the league title, I don’t expect us to make the playoffs, it would be a fantastic achievement and a dream come true for all at the club, but it’s not something that enters into my expectations for the season.
It’s about being realistic about what your club can achieve, it may well be easy to get carried away in the excitement when you win your first 5/10 games and sit at the top of the table, but there’s always a result or two which can bring you right back down again. For teams such as Manchester United and City, league championships and cup victories are almost a given, a regular achievement which fans expect to challenge for. For teams like West Ham and Fulham, mid-table finishes are achievable and can be made consistently, European football is possible along with decent cup runs, but you’re not expecting to make the Champions League or win the Premiership. Fans of top level clubs generally tend to be more realistic over what their team can achieve, I think some non-league fans would do well to learn from them.