Fantastic to be back at the Vale watching Wealdstone in 'promised land'

Wealdstone in National League action against Aldershot Town

Wealdstone in National League action against Aldershot Town - Credit: Jon Taffel

As a committed Wealdstone fan of many years, witnessing so much good, bad, and indifferent fortune, this season, back in the promised land of the National League, has been far more than just eagerly anticipated.

With Covid restrictions now all but removed at stadium's it’s been fantastic to finally get back to The Vale for so many different reasons. 

This season was always going to be a massive task for Stones and fans are in the main realistic about our chances – and that’s going to be more about survival and consolidation than chasing a play-off spot.

After that magnificent, but largely unexpected promotion season two campaigns ago (seems an age ago now), Stones have been catapulted into a full-time professional league chock full of big former EFL clubs.

Stones were always going to remain a part-time set up with pre-season preparation and recruitment more important than ever before.

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The general view of Stones fans is that preparation has been sound and player recruitment good enough under the new management team of Stuart Maynard and Matt Saunders, but always within the confines of the available budget, which we all know isn’t great in the context of what is increasingly regarded as division five of the Football League. 

Feelings so far? After last weekend’s rather disappointing 2-2 draw with Aldershot Town, Stones have managed a single win over fellow promoted club Altrincham, with draws at Dagenham & Redbridge and at home to relegated Southend United.

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Narrow defeats at the hands of Woking, Chesterfield and Notts County were perhaps not surprising as the club adjusts to the demands of competing against such exalted company but did so with some excellent performances.

Maynard has set a pattern of play with three at the back and a shape that has worked reasonably well, but that will rely on keeping above average possession and taking the few chances that come along.

The summer signing of striker Josh Umerah from Torquay is however proving a success, with the stocky forward already netting five times from seven and proving those doubters on the terraces wrong.

It’s all a massive learning curve for everyone at the club but lessons must be learnt rapidly on and off the pitch as we all want to enjoy this level of football for some time yet as our crowds continue to grow and relish the experience.

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