Cards boss passes first true test of char­ac­ter

The Non-League Football Paper - - NEWS - By David Richard­son

BY his own ad­mis­sion, Alan Dow­son is the worst loser in foot­ball.

“It was my daugh­ter’s birth­day,” the Wok­ing man­ager said, speak­ing about last Satur­day’s home de­feat to Bath City.

“She had a sleep­over and I think I was the worst fa­ther ever. I didn’t want to talk to any­body and didn’t even sing her happy birth­day, how bad is that? She’s only 11.”

Bath’s 3-1 vic­tory over the Cards made it five games with­out a win which saw Wok­ing slip three points off the top.

Last Satur­day evening, it would have felt like the world was cav­ing in on Dow­son, but three days is a long time in foot­ball.

“Tonight I’ll prob­a­bly go back and snug­gle up and sing happy birth­day,” he added af­ter see­ing his side re­turn to win­ning ways against Hunger­ford on Tues­day evening. “I’m a ter­ri­ble loser, aw­ful loser, the worst loser ever. Ev­ery­body says that [about me].”

It may have been only Wok­ing’s third de­feat un­der Dow­son since his ap­point­ment in the sum­mer, but the per­for­mance wor­ried a rest­less fan base.

A home fix­ture 72 hours later against a lowly Hunger­ford side of­fered the per­fect op­por­tu­nity for a re­sponse, and Dow­son knew he had to take the pres­sure off his play­ers.

Be­fore kick-off he stood alone on the pitch ob­serv­ing the warm-up. A state­ment, per­haps?

“It was to say, ‘Lis­ten, I’m the man­ager, any­body who wants it, I’m stand­ing here. Give me all your pres­sure’,” he ex­plains.

“It was to put a point across that I’m not go­ing to hide any­where, that’s for cer­tain and I don’t want the play­ers to hide ei­ther.

“I said to the lads tonight to give all your fears to me. There’s a lit­tle bit of fear fac­tor come in to the club to be hon­est. I thought the play­ers felt it.

“I don’t think it could have got much worse on Satur­day from the man­age­ment to the play­ers. I went into the bar on Satur­day and I got heck­led for the first time. You’ve got to come up here and talk when you’re win­ning games and los­ing games. I took my fair share of stick on Satur­day and rightly so.

“I’ll walk in there and have a beer with them, I’d do that any­way. I got it wrong Satur­day, tonight I felt I got it right.”

A brace from for­mer Maiden­head striker Jake Hyde and one from cen­tre-back Ben Ger­ring, a re­cent sign­ing from Bil­ler­icay, quickly put Wok­ing back on track.

There were still some nervy mo­ments in the first-half as Hunger­ford, buoyed by their win over high-fly­ing Hamp­ton at the week­end, forced two good saves from Craig Ross.

“It was quiet in the first-half. Some peo­ple prob­a­bly come think­ing, ‘If Dowse loses tonight what’s go­ing to hap­pen there?’ I wouldn’t get the sack but the pres­sure… I’m well aware of what foot­ball is about.

“We were beaten by a lot bet­ter side in Bath City. They left here on Satur­day and ev­ery­body thought they were the best side we’ve seen all sea­son; all of a sud­den they drew tonight. Ev­ery­body’s telling us how great Torquay are and they drew as well. Welling got beat.


“The bot­tom line is we’ve got to do our job and I just saw signs for the first time this sea­son that in the sec­ond half we played how we like to play.”

Per­haps, if it’s pos­si­ble, Dow­son cares too much. If he had the choice, he says he’d choose to die in the du­gout do­ing some­thing he loves.

The Wok­ing job is one he has al­ways wanted and thought he might never get. His pas­sion for foot­ball, and win­ning, is as strong as any­one’s.

De­spite fight­ing an up­hill bat­tle since the day he was ap­pointed, build­ing a squad from scratch and pick­ing up the pieces of a Na­tional League rel­e­ga­tion, and the promis­ing start that has fol­lowed, Dow­son still feel he needs to win over Wok­ing’s faith­ful.

“I’m not a big name,” he says. “I think I’ve been quite suc­cess­ful in the game but I’m not that big name Wok­ing Foot­ball Club has been used to in the past.

“They’ve had John McGovern here, Ge­off Chap­ple, Glenn Cock­er­ill. Proper play­ers. I was a lower divi­sion player, not a big name. I put my record up against theirs as a man­ager and I’ve just got to make sure to keep win­ning peo­ple over.

“You’ve got to face peo­ple. I’ll do that win or lose.”


TURN­AROUND: Wok­ing got back on track with a 3-0 vic­tory over Hunger­ford on Tues­day night BRING IT ON! Alan Dow­son says he can han­dle the first pe­riod of pres­sure he has ex­pe­ri­enced as Wok­ing boss

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