Welcome back to the second half of the 2027/28 season. If you missed the last post, you can find it here.
As you know, we did all our four allowed transfers in the summer, and unless there is an emergency, I will not exceed that amount of transfers. Some did leave, though, and we sold an academy graduate to the Premier League when Crystal Palace came in for Jeff Edwards, our youngest ever player and goalscorer. He ended his Dorking career with 77 games and 15 goals. However, I don’t feel that he developed as much as we hoped he should and for that amount of money, it’s better to make room for other graduates.
Our former captain Matthew Craig left in January in an agreed transfer months ago. After the promotion to the Championship, he’s not been as influential as the previous years, and he’s now only a backup. Out of respect for him and the job he’s done for us for the last four and a half years, he should leave the club. He stops at 144 league games for us and makes a nice profit.
Ollie O’Neill is the last one to leave. I had high hopes for him, and he is a good player. However, he’s not good enough for a team fighting for promotion. He’s been decent when called upon, and I hope he will flourish back in Ireland.
- Jeff Edwards – Crystal Palace – £8.5M
- Matthew Craig – Nashville – £1.1M
- Ollie O’Neill – Bohemians – £77K
We started where we left off before the new year and had a great month in January, with Leo Castledine and Louie Barry showing great form. The last game of the month against Huddersfield was the first game back at Dorking Stadium after the expansion, and it was sold out immediately. The stadium needs to be expanded a lot more than with 2.000 seats at the time.
Our run of form continued for four more games when we travelled to The Hawthornes, where we lost for only the fourth time in the league so far this season. Isak Hansen-Aaroen returned from his injury and contributed hugely with three goals and three assists in five games.
It’s also nice to see that we still can bounce back immediately after a loss and continue the chase for a record season.
The whole team continued the form going into March, with Barry and Hansen-Aaroen as the star performers. After the Reading game, the promotion was secured, and we could shift focus to chasing the records for most goals scored and most points in a season.
In April, we fired on all cylinders in attack, and the only game we didn’t win was the first one. We played some impressive games along the way and it peaked in the last home game of the season when we scored seven goals against Burnley. We lost the previous games of the season, but that doesn’t mean anything and several players from the academy got a chance to prove themselves.
Scoring 129 goals are fantastic, and it’s relatively cool to have a record that will probably stand for many years. The same goes for most points with 113 points in a season and most wins with 36. All those will take some doing to break.
We had a tough draw when we got Man City away in the third round. We did our best to compete, and we were good for considerable periods of the game. They needed a penalty to beat us, so that’s a significant achievement for the lads. Well done!
Isak Hansen-Aaroen was great when he wasn’t injured and would’ve been our star player if not. When fit, he was maybe our most important player. In Louie Barry, we finally found our goal garantist with 26 goals in 35 starts. Just one more goal, and he would’ve won the Golden Boot this year.
Leo Castledine had an immense season, and it will be hard to keep him at the club over the summer. With 11 goals and 18 assists, he won Championship Player of the Year.
Nohan Kenneh played a different role this year, and he never plays a bad game. From his position in the deep, he contributed with 11 assists. Not bad for a player who’s out there to defend.
It was an excellent year for the academy at Westhumble, with four players getting their debut for the first team and upgraded facilities. The U18’s won the EFL Youth Alliance South East for the fourth season in a row, and I hope that they will play in a more competitive league after our promotion to the Premier League.
This year’s youth intake is our best so far in the form of quality and potential. With six players at first glance looking to have the potential to reach the first team, we are slowly taking steps to become a self-sufficient academy and club. There are indeed more to come from these young lads.
Thanks for reading this blog and I really hope you enjoyed it. See you in the Premier League!