In the second of our series of articles catching up with Impetus’ sponsored players and partner clubs, Will Boye, chairman and head coach of Impetus partner club Ashford Town (Middx) talks to Ben Gilby about the team’s incredible season which included an unbeaten league campaign, promotion to the FA Women’s National League for the first time, a heroic FA Cup run, and two cup final victories.
Above: Will Boye (right) pictured with Ashford Town (Middx) assistant coach Matthew Aumeeruddy after the team’s Combined Counties Cup Final success. Photo supplied by: Will Boye.
When Will and I first spoke before the beginning of the season, just after the partnership between Ashford Town and Impetus had been announced, he hinted that the club were confident of having a successful season. What actually transpired was almost beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.
“What we have done this season has been remarkable, certainly an unrivalled achievement. But I know the quality that exists in this team, whilst humble in our approach, we work incredibly hard and our open season targets were all met as a result.”
Whilst Will has spoken in detail to us before about the specifics of Ashford’s FA Cup run (see https://impetusfootball.org/2022/01/20/ashford-town-middx-a-history-making-season/), the Tangerines had successes in other knock-out competitions too.
“The FA Cup as you know well was one we feel incredibly proud about. We were disappointed with our exit in the league cup, and still discuss now just how much it has left a stain on an otherwise extraordinary campaign. We take satisfaction mind you, from defeating higher league opposition to win the County Cup and the Combined Counties Cup. We came up against strong teams who finished in the top five of a league that has seen it at its largest size in years. We take satisfaction from this but realise we will need to improve to compete at the level week in, week out.”
The unbeaten season in the tier five London and South-East Regional Premier saw Ashford Town win 18 of their 20 matches, taking the title by 12 points from Dartford. With the championship comes promotion to the FA Women’s National League (FAWNL) Division One South-East, a notoriously tough league with quality teams. However, the Tangerine’s FA Cup run, which saw them defeat FAWNL Southern Premier (tier three) outfit Oxford United, gives the Middlesex club a degree of confidence that they will be competitive next season.
“We’re under no illusions that we will need to improve technically, tactically, and physically to challenge in the division,” Will said, “but we’re a determined bunch, winning is in our blood. We will take it game by game and give it everything we’ve got. The teams we will be coming up against are of good quality, they have big budgets. There’s also extensive travel, exciting players, ex-professionals to come up against – we’re competing with it all, but we believe in ourselves.
“Recruitment has been good so far, I won’t give anything away just yet but we will release information in the coming months. We need to get this right in order to perform well. It’s not just about improving our starting eleven but ensuring we have effective strength in depth.
“It also extends to all areas on and off the pitch. We are constantly striving for better and looking at ways of improving our processes as well as our performances, so all areas will need to be bolstered to compete at that level.”
Whilst he might be forgiven for having a well-earned rest after a long season, Will is in the process of releasing a book. He told us a bit more about what we can expect from it.
“It’s a self-published book I will be releasing in the coming weeks. It’s about taking Ashford from the foot of the football pyramid to the FAWNL. An achievement you just don’t see today from a club without a ‘named’ male affiliate. We pride ourselves in having done this so I have documented this for all to read. I hope it’s something people purchase when it’s released. I will be making plenty of noise on my social pages when it’s ready for release.”
Ashford Town have come a long way up the leagues in a relatively short period of time. With the National League now reached, I ended our conversation by asking Will how much further he believes that his team can go.
“We want to challenge for promotion again. Don’t get me wrong we are competing against some of the very best, but we have a belief in our camp. Game by game we will acquire new knowledge on the league and learn quickly enough about what can be achieved.”
Given what has happened over the past few years at Ashford Town (Middx) and the quality already in their team, it would be a very brave person to bet against them mounting yet another promotion challenge.