Windsor v Windsor and change at Bracknell Town: 5 things we know about 2024/25

Joe Grant celebrates scoring at Merthyr Town. Photo: John Leakey.
Joe Grant celebrates scoring at Merthyr Town. Photo: John Leakey.

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Windsor vs Windsor

Get me that Spider-Man meme and save it down.

We’ll have to wait and see what the FA says, but promotion for Windsor & Eton means we expect a return to Stag Meadow for the Windsor side currently groundsharing in Buckinghamshire.

It would certainly be a fixture to pop in the calendar when those come out.

Bracknell Town and new owners

At the time of writing the Robins could be in the Southern League playoffs come the end of the season.

We also don’t know the identity of the club’s expected new owners once the SB Group sell the club and Sandhurst Town on. New owners may have their own opinions on management and players. You could certainly speculate that we’ll know more when Bracknell’s plans for their former home at Larges Lane go before the planners.

A report in the Bracknell News states: “Bracknell Forest Council’s planning committee is set to rule on the plans on Thursday, April 18. The plans were referred to the committee as the council has received 14 letters of objection.”

Whichever way this season turns out, it’ll likely be a summer of change at Bottom Meadow.

A wide open Vanarama National League

It looks like being a much more ‘traditional’ Vanarama National League next season with just four recognisable BELT teams in the top tier of non-league football (it could be six depending of course on what happens to Barnet and Scunthorpe United in the play-offs).

Maidenhead United's Sam Barratt and Notts County's Sam Slocombe argue. Photo: Darren Woolley.
Maidenhead United’s Sam Barratt and Notts County’s Sam Slocombe argue. Photo: Darren Woolley.

Former Hellenic League side Forest Green Rovers are definitely back in non-league and Sutton United will almost certainly join them.

As well as traditional, you could also call it ‘wide open’ given the top sides of recent seasons – Wrexham, Notts County and Chesterfield are all gone. Southend United, Oldham Athletic and Rochdale could all grasp the opportunity but could we also see Solihull Moors make good on recent promise? Or could a consistent run from our own Maidenhead United make a dent?

Reading FC Women stay up, new owners and…

The biggest worry we have for Reading FC Women going forward is whether or not the club’s purported new owners have any interest in creating a professional environment for women and reinforcing the pathway for the talented young women and girls in the county.

Eve Annets. Photo: Neil Graham.
Reading’s talented young ‘keeper Eve Annets. Photo: Neil Graham.

Time and again women’s teams have been neglected, look at Liverpool’s embarrassing FA WSL relegation the same season the men’s team won the Premier League. Reading is in a unique position to develop a die-hard fanbase in a professional football ground, a manager who has worked miracles and a thriving youth setup that has just won a league title.

This is of course if Liam Gilbert’s side can get that one more win to stay in the division.

Standards on and off the pitch in the women’s game continue to rise

This season Maidenhead United Women have undoubtedly improved. Ed Jackson-Norris‘ side are turning heads and drawing crowds, and have a useful link up with the aforementioned Reading FC Women. Natasha Rasmussen and Freya Meadows-Tuson among those players successfully turning to adult football this season.

Gemma Sims makes a challenge in the Ascot United v Woodley United derby. Photo: Andy Wicks.
Gemma Sims makes a challenge in the Ascot United v Woodley United derby. Photo: Andy Wicks.

If Reading then are Step 2 and Maidenhead step 4, Ascot United and Woodley United are raising standards on and off the pitch as well as a healthy rivalry at Step 5 finishing second and third behind promoted Bournemouth Sports.

The Yellas missed out on the title by a point but it’s Woodley United who have proved taking a step back to go forward is sometimes the right call. Relegated two seasons ago they regrouped under long-serving boss Marc Surtees and outperformed more established sides like Oxford City and Wycombe Wanderers.

Both teams are offering a level of match day catering at games which in turn will only help bring in a little bit of funding and more importantly, help grow suppoer.

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Upcoming fixtures

Saturday 18th May 2024

Sandhurst Town Boys & Girls Royals14:00KS Gryf
Southcote Colts14:00Virginia Water Reserves

Sunday 19th May 2024

Ascot United Reserves14:00Eversley & California
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