Aldershot Town: The Return To Non League
Shots fan Carson Flack makes his UTL debut with a look ahead to the coming season for Andy Scott’s team.
The last time Aldershot Town were in the Conference, the Shots enjoyed a fantastic season, storming to the title with a record points total. However as they return to non-league football, the upcoming season promises to be a completely different story.
Aldershot suffered relegation from League 2 after finishing bottom, bringing to an end their five year stay in the Football League. The misery of relegation was further compounded by the announcement just five days after relegation that Aldershot had officially entered administration. Many Aldershot fans feared the worst, particularly as a result of what happen to the town’s former team Aldershot FC who closed due to bankruptcy following relegation, however they were boosted with the news on August 1st that a consortium led by former chairman Shahid Azeem had taken over the club, which has secured the future of the club for the foreseeable future.
Craig Stanley: The newly appointed captain will be expected to lead a youthful Shots side from the middle of the park. The central midfielder missed almost all of last season through injury but looks set to be an important player for the Shots this time around. He adds much need experience to the side, having twice won the Conference play-offs, and will provide a dynamic and powerful presence in the centre of midfield.
Glenn Morris: 29 year old Morris looks set to start the season as the Shots number one after signing a new contract to remain at the club. With Aldershot currently looking like they will have an inexperienced defence Morris will have to provide a commanding presence in goal to help the inexperienced backline. In addition to this he will be tasked with keeping as many clean sheets as possible which will be crucial to Aldershot’s success, particularly if they continue on from last season and struggle to score goals at the other end.
Matt Paterson: Aldershot had the worst goal scoring record in League 2 last season, only scoring 42 times, and will need to improve their goal tally if they want a successful season. Striker Matt Paterson has been brought in the hope of adding goals to the side. His record of seven goals in 34 League 2 appearances for Burton Albion suggests that he should be capable of finding the net at Conference level and Aldershot fans will be hoping that is something he does on a regular basis.
There will be no repeat of the success Aldershot enjoyed last time they were at this level, with the Shots instead only target for the upcoming season being to remain in the division. As a result of entering administration, Aldershot will start the season with a 10 point penalty meaning they will be playing catch up from the first whistle. In addition to this, and with huge changes in terms of the playing squad at the club, it will take a while for the team to gel which means they will probably get off to a slow start. This, in addition to the points deduction, could see Aldershot get cut adrift if other relegation candidates enjoy strong starts. If this happens then it will be a long hard season for the club with back to back relegations looming. However, if the Shots are able to wipe out their deduction quickly and catch up with the teams above them early on in the season then they should have enough quality in their squad to above being relegated come the end of the season.