Your Club-By-Club Guide: The National League South

By Sam Elliott

Suddenly, things are a bit different in the Vanarama National League South.

Last season was thrilling. What more entertainment could you want than a title race decided in the closing seconds with a winning goal?

All that was missing was regular big crowds seeing the action unfold. Welcome to 2018-19!

With newcomers Torquay United, Woking, Billericay and Dulwich all predicted to be watched by well into four figures next season, the division has an extra edge.

Here’s our club-by-club guide with how they fared last time out, and what they’ll be hoping to do when it all kicks off again in August.

Bath City
(National League South: 9th)

Jerry Gill impressed fans when taking charge in October, ultimately just missing out on the play-offs. He knows the importance of a full pre-season and they've had a very good one. Jon Mills is a big signing, as is Ross Stearn.

Billericay Town
(Bostik Premier League: 1st)

This time last year they were all anyone was talking about but a quieter approach this time around shouldn’t disguise the threat the Blues could carry - Glenn Tamplin, the club's colourful owners is - in his words - "even more ambitious". The bookmakers like what they hear.

Chelmsford City
(National League South: 3rd)

Rod Stringer is sick of the sight of the play-offs so a title challenge may be their best route out of the league. Goalkeeper Ross Worner is a great bit of business, as is Jai Reason. Getting Scott Fenwick down from the north east could be the best of the lot.

Chippenham Town
(National League South: 13th)

A new two-year deal for manager Mark Collier offers stability. They enjoyed a drama-free first National League South season and will fancy progress next term. Jack Compton has impressed in pre-season.

Concord Rangers
(National League South: 17th)

They’re loud and proud! Sammy Moore isn’t shy about the excitement his new squad is bringing. Billy Knott could turn out to be the deal of the summer but the boss says Rangers are still very much in transition.

(National League South: 2nd)

Welcome to a new era with Tony Burman stepping aside for Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan. Replacing Havant-bound Alfie Pavey is a big ask but what a boost that Elliot Bradbrook is staying when that seemed unlikely. Losing Andy Pugh to a long-term injury is a hammer blow.

Dulwich Hamlet
(Bostik Premier play-off winners)

At last, they’re with us! After years of falling just short, Dulwich are a National League club. Gavin Rose’s history of producing young and exciting talent will add plenty to the competition. Slowly but surely their squad is coming together.

Eastbourne Borough
(National League South: 18th)

Jamie Howell will know the Sports need to hit the ground running after a season which didn’t meet expectation. Charlie Walker will add spice to their attack and skipper Sergio Torres’ commitment is a big plus. Howell says lessons have been learned.

East Thurrock United
(National League South: 15th)

John Coventry has cleared the decks after a nightmare end to last season left a bitter taste. But Golden Boot winner Sam Higgins stays - one of just four to remain.

Gloucester City
(National League South: 14th)

Tigers manager Marc Richards’ first six months in management were to be remembered. The club were teetering when he took over but sailed off into mid-table security. Most of their squad stays, now for adding that extra quality.

Hampton & Richmond Borough
(National League South: 4th)

Goodbye Alan Dowson, hello Gary McCann. A new era for both the Beavers and new boss and a big challenge to replicate the play-off final finish both enjoyed in 2017-18. Already with 15 new players, that's sure to rise to 18.

Hemel Hempstead Town
(National League South: 5th)

Dean Brennan has never seen anything like it. This time last year he had two players signed, now he is nearly there with the Tudors squad for next term. Concord’s Steve Cawley adds quality up front and the return of Charlie Sheringham is great news for fans.

Hungerford Town
(National League South: 19th)

Ian Herring won’t want the nerves of Hungerford’s last day escape again. But with finances tight, the player-boss knows he’s got a big summer ahead as he prepares his team for another challenging campaign. Pre-season has encouraged the player-boss.

Oxford City
(National League South: 16th)

Coming off the back of an encouraging season both in the league and FA Cup, the question for manager Mark Jones is how they can push on in August. He’s excited about the signature of Josh Ashby from Oxford United - and with many of last year’s team returning.

Slough Town
(Southern League play-off winners)

The Rebels are back in the league - in a new home and with plenty of optimism. Neil Baker and Jon Underwood say their new division holds no fears for the Rebels and there won’t be many teams wanting to play them on August 4. They have kept the faith with the players who took them up.

St Albans City
(National League South: 8th)

For the second season running, it looked like the Saints were heading for the play-offs only to fall short. Ian Allinson won’t let that happen again. New-boys Roman Michael-Percil and David Moyo in particular add quality on the ball.

Torquay United
(National League 22nd)

Just over ten years ago they were a League One side but now the Gulls are facing up to the National League South. Gary Owers has stayed despite the drop and he knows the goal is to go straight back up. They will need a strong start but Owers is aware of the size of the battle in front of him.

Truro City
(National League South: 7th)

What a season it was - and with Torquay United now on a level playing field what a year it promises to be in the very south west! Lee Hodges has gone a great job at Truro and he hopes for another play-off finish at least.

(National League South: 11th)

All change at Wealdstone - 14 new players have arrived as Bobby Wilkinson cleared the decks as they limped over the line last season. He says the new arrivals are a mixture of “winners” and “excitement”.

Welling United
(National League South: 10th)

Steve King replaces Jamie Coyle - and brings with him one of the best contacts books around. He will be aiming for promotion and his signings so far certainly add weight to a possible Wings promotion push. King knows the division inside out and has added class players in Danny Mills and JP Kissock.

(National League South: 12th)

The Seagulls are quietly going about their business and a year on from Marc McGregor taking over they hope the building blocks are in place to kick on next season. He feels there's a top seven chance there for the taking.

(National League 21st)

It's all change at Woking - players and management. Alan Dowson is already winning over the Woking fans and after the shock of relegation. The signing of the excellent Charlie Wassmer could prove crucial, while Jake Hyde and Josh Casey will be crowd pleasers too. Can Max Kretzschmar score the goals from midfield that he did for Hampton?

Where next?

What's In A Start? The Champions' Augusts Assessed We know the fixtures are there's no doubt you're busy plotting how many points your side can take from the first few matches.
We Have Matured This Summer Says Harriers' Weeks Declan Weeks feels we’re about to see a more grown up Kidderminster Harriers next season.

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