Luke is a pleasure to have you here with LV BET, a stadium naming partner of Boreham Wood FC.  Before we talk about the new season, give us your recap of last season; what an incredible achievement it was to get to play Everton. 

It was amazing, it was, obviously just going through you, it didn’t sink in until the season had finished, with what we have achieved in the FA Cup, yeah the boys went down in the history of this football club, to achieve what they have achieved, the best night in my life in football was Bournemouth away it was immense. To still have a good amount of that group that have achieved that I think will stand us a good chance for this year. 

The Wood army played a massive part both here at the LV BET Stadium Meadow park and on the road at Bournemouth and Everton. What are you looking for from them for this year to get behind the team?

Same positivity, exactly how they’ve been in pre-season, I see a load of hitching, I see a lot of people watching our pre-season friendlies, yeah, and they are excited as much as we are and their support. 

I go back to the Barnet away in the first round, the four round of the FA Cup, the 600/700 that turned up there was truly special and to go and give them moments, at home to Saint Aorbounth and at home to AFC Wimbledon, especially at Bournemouth and then to walk out in a competitive match against Everton in the last 16 in the FA Cup was truly special and to have them on that journey was amazing and fingers crossed some new memories from this year. 

Luke, looking ahead of this next season, do you have any aims or objectives for the team to go and deliver them? 

100%, obviously we have ambitions to be competitive at the top end of the table. I believe that Jamie has backed us hugely with regards to the bodies that have come to the building. We know how hard the division is. The likes of Scunthorpe and Oldham joining it, the likes of Maidstone and York sides that are full-time in the division below, that have come up to a full-time environment being a national league, they are not gonna be easy so we wanna be competitive.

We want to make sure that we go off to a great start, and I think that builds confidence and breeds an environment where the boys can be a little bit more flourishing in their performances, and hopefully, we can go one or two spots better than where we were last year and finish in the playoffs.

Obviously, looking at the coming season, a few outgoings and plenty coming in Zack Brunt, Enrico Suza and now Jack Payne – give us an overview of the talent that the fans can look forward to.

You said that the last three have been positive, as are the first six. We had a remit this year that we had to get a younger group. With the personnel that we brought in and the ones that left, we have gone from an average age of 32 to 28. I think that is massive in the National League because it’s unforgiving, but the likes of Danny Elliot and Lienva up top, who score 61 goals between them last year in the division below, so if they come with that sort of, mindset, the mentality of being ruthless in the final third in the National League above, then we are hopeful that we are going to have plenty of goals. 

We obviously bought Alfie Egan, and George Williams, two lads in that central position that brought legs and energy to the group. Kelly Evans, I would say, is a great replacement, as we were a bit disappointed in losing Kane Smith, but to have Kelly Evans it has been pretty special. Zack Brunt, Eric Suz and Jack Payne in this week alone, we’ve done that early business, and I have to say that it shows where we have gone as a club, and for me, Danny Newton he’s been one that we’ve bought in from last year. He has been unfortunate not to get promoted, but he epitomises what I like in a player, I think that the fans would say as much as I am saying now they’ve seen really positive performances in this really early spell of pre-season from the newbies. 

How important is it to have that defensive unit ready? Because last year the defensive side of the game was outstanding. 

100% and a lot of our recruitment and organisation in terms of our personnel in the building has been very much over the halfway line we have kept the likes of Connor Stevens, Will Evans, Dave Stephens, Jamaal, we’ve got obviously Kelly Evans on the right-hand side, Eric Suz on the left-hand side and obviously Ashmore in between the sticks. You add Mark, who is our leader – he’s the most experienced player in the club. 

Yeah it bodes well that we still have that personnel to utilise week in and week out to ensure that we maintain a good defensive record because that stood us in good stead last year in terms of I think it was 560 minutes we played in FA Cup football and not conceding a goal. So the balancing of getting a little bit more offensive and goals but also ensuring that we are still stable at the back is going to be a big job for myself and the staff this year.

Looking ahead to the new season, Wrexham obviously has spent a lot. Again their investment is huge. Talk to me about the other title contenders as well as Wrexham that are going to be up there? 

Well, listen, Wrexham, for me, everyone will say they’ve probably been the ones that been quite busy not so many numbers in terms of bodies that they’ve brought in but Elliot Lee and Tunnicliffe, they are big as in this division. Notts County, I think, will be big still; they’ve got and done some really good business, yes, they’ve lost Wootton and Callum Roberts to Aberdeen. 

They’ve gone and signed two lads from Gateshead who had great figures last year. I honestly think that Chesterfield will have a go this year; Southend will be my surprise package; obviously, I watched them a couple of times already in preparation for our first game against them on the sixth, but this league is unforgiving and relentless, and we need to ensure that we are ready and competitive and start the season the best possible way we can.


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