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Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
I'm a director of Maidenhead United Football Club. For ten seasons one of my roles at the club was to produce the match programme. The aim of this blog was to write football related articles for publication in the match programme. In particular I like to write about the representation of football in popular culture, specifically music, film/TV and literature. I also write about matches I attend which generally feature Maidenhead United.

Monday, 12 February 2018


23 Seasons watching Maidenhead United
Part 16: 2009/10
As a decade of extremes drew to a close there was one clear target for the Magpies, maintain Conference South status. It was achieved with relative comfort after a testing start to the season and was followed by a County Cup win allowing all at York Road to end the season with a sense of ease, as after all the ups and downs which two and a half promotions, one and a half relegations, five and a half managers and four chairmen entailed, United were entitled to feel established at the highest level of semi professional football and secure in their much loved old ground.
The summer of 2009 had seen a high turnover of playing staff as the previous winter’s budget cut took a firm hold. Mark Nisbet was rightfully awarded the club captaincy and would remain a steadying influence in defence, this was complemented by one new experienced signing for every other part of the team in the form of goalkeeper Chris Tardif, midfielder Bradley Quamina and striker Kieran Knight.  
The overriding tone of the squad was youth, with right back Jack Bradshaw, midfielder Daniel Brown, and strikers Kieran St. Aimie and Alex Wall all playing a significant role. However the standout young talent was to be found on the left flank where player of the year Sam Collins (pictured right) forged a fruitful partnership with full back Jamal Fyfield.
The season started with promising goalless draw at home to highly fancied Dover, the raw talent of Wall almost producing a late winner on his debut. A first win though did not arrive til the Magpies ninth outing and another season of struggle looked to be in prospect, especially when big spending Truro flew up to Berkshire to cause a Cup upset with a 5-2 win in the second qualifying round.
United’s fortunes changed with the arrival of creative midfielder Will Hendry who was looking to resurrect his career after a failed move to Dagenham. Arriving at the start of October he earned the divisional player of the month award by scoring five goals in seven matches. The first three games all ended in wins by an aggregate score of twelve goals to nil. The pick was a 3-0 victory at ambitious Eastleigh, Hendry sealing the three points with a superb virtuoso goal.
This short burst of form gave United the boost they required to draw clear of the bottom three and were now well set to finish in lower mid table whilst Hendry had earned a move to Wimbledon.
League progress was accompanied by a short but enjoyable FA Trophy run to the last 32. Bath City were defeated for the first time, and then the Magpies won at exciting tie at Bishop’s Stortford. This brought Barrow to Berkshire in the next round. A cold snap which left the York Road snowbound delayed the tie for a week or so with the Bluebirds snatching a tight 1-0 win en route to winning the Trophy at Wembley.
Similar progress was made in the County Cup with a trip to Thatcham standing between the Magpies and a first final appearance in three seasons. This looked unlikely when the Kingfishers took a 2-0 lead in the first half and almost put themselves out of reach early in the second half, only for the woodwork to keep Magpie interest alive.  A triple substitution set United on the road to recovery, two quick goals leading to extra time. This saw Thatcham reduced to nine men, with Maidenhead finally winning the game with two more goals as penalties loomed.
Back in league a 4-1 win at Weston-super-mare calmed relegation nerves and sparked an eight match run when only two matches were lost. This included a 4-1 humbling at recently crowned champions Newport but ended with another win at Bishops Stortford which guaranteed Conference South status for the following season with four matches in hand.
The season ended with a thrilling 3-2 County Cup Final win at Marlow against a strong Wycombe Wanderers team, future Scottish international Matt Phillips equalising for the Chairboys after Kieran Knight had given the Magpies an early lead.  Sam Collins capped a brilliant season early in the second half by restoring United’s lead with a superb dipping strike to score his eleventh goal of the campaign. Wycombe again equalised to take the tie to extra time when Alex Wall (pictured right) then won the cup and the club’s Golden Boot award with what proved to be a lucky thirteenth goal of the season.
Thus the season ended in an atmosphere of hope and expectation at the potential of Magpies young talent.
With thanks to Mark Smith’s book One For Sorrow Two For Joy for the statistical content of this series.
To read more about this season visit www.mufcheritage.com

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