Whyteleafe FC

Gaffer's Chat with Harry Hudson - 09/05/2019

Whyteleafe committee member, Steve Hole, sits down this week for his regular chat with Leafe boss, Harry Hudson.

They discuss last season and have a quick look into the forthcoming 2019/2020 campaign. Less than eight weeks until the pre-season kicks off. ‘She may not be the prettiest but she’s got a lot of soul’ and there’s something really special about summer evening games at Church Road. FA Cup replay against Corinthian Casuals springs to mind…

Make sure to keep coming back to the club’s website during the summer as we’ll be posting updates every few weeks, before returning to weekly chats next season.

So, Harry, two weeks since the season finished – now that the dust has settled round up for us, if you will, how you saw the 2018/2019 season?
We have to say the season was successful based on the expectations placed on us, however, I still feel disappointed with the manner in which we tailed off. We started the season fantastically well and surprised everyone apart from the players and staff who knew we had the quality to excel in the league. Upon reflection, it is still almost impossible to put my finger on exactly what the root of our poor form was; it is certainly multi-faceted. Injuries, suspensions, recruitment of players and lack of experience at critical times resulted in a loss of form, which spread throughout the group. I certainly learnt a lot last season and we will be better placed to kick on next season!

What were your high points?
The Guernsey victory was a huge high due to the relief after Andre scored. After the had been on we were on we really needed that win and thankfully we turned around our awful first half performance!
The other match which stands out is Hasting away in the FA Trophy – we played well second half and deserved the 4-2 victory. 

…and the low ones?
Obviously, the FA Cup being cancelled the day before we were off to play St Albans was horrendous for everyone attached to the football club. I was also very disappointed after our loss to Tonbridge Angels in the Trophy as I thought we were the better side on the day and I fancied we could have had a nice run. Then the manner of the losses against Faversham, Ashford and VCD really killed our play-off ambitions.

Matt O’Donoghue deservedly won the supporters player of the season award. Thoughts?
He just keeps getting better and better! I think he has won an end of season award for the past three seasons and I expect him to carry on that trend as well!

Not only an impressive player, but an impressive individual too? He went from being an early season trier to a stand-out box-to-box dynamo.
Yes, a lovely young man who deserves the success.

Players player award went to Corey Holder. Well deserved?
Most certainly – Corey was our number one target in the summer as he was so impressive for Sevenoaks last year. We were so pleased to get him across the line and he had an outstanding season.

You chose Bradley Wilson as your pick? Tell us why?
Brad was our highest goal scorer, highest assists, never missed one game and played in a multitude of positions and roles for the team. Over the course of the whole season we could always rely upon Brad to deliver.

I expect there’s going to be activity on the squad front in coming weeks. Players leaving, new ones coming in. I’ve heard whispers of exciting new signings, but we’ll leave that news – or possible news – until later in the summer. What are your thoughts on Horsham winning our league play-off final.? I think well deserved in my opinion. Their form after the first ten games was title winning credentials and they were definitely the second-best team in our league (after Cray) and therefore deserve promotion.

What do you know about new sides coming to join us in Bostik South East?
Some big clubs! Whitehawk and Burgess Hill have good followings and therefore good budgets, so I expect them to push for promotion. Chichester and Cray Valley are coming up and I know Cray Valley are a good outfit with some excellent players. I do not expect them to struggle next season – similar to Whitstable and Sevenoaks to be fair.

Finally, I hear you’ve booked your flight to Madrid for the Champions League final (he’s a Spurs fan!)? Tell us how good a managerial performance that was by Pocchetino to overturn the first leg home 1-0 deficit in the second leg. Liverpool won’t be easy though. Beating Barcalona 4-0 doesn’t happen every day.
What an amazing couple of days of football! I have to try and get to Madrid – not sure how many more times Spurs will get to the Champions League final in my lifetime! Poch has done an amazing job – Spurs are in awful league form currently so to turn that around in the second half is phenomenal.

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