Dev Sets His Sights High For BT Sport Curtain Raiser

Judge us after ten games. The opening day is just the first of many matches. Let’s see where we are a few months down the line.

The trademark summer responses when managers are pressed on the importance of August 3 roll off the tongue.

Not Maidenhead United’s Alan Devonshire. He already has one eye on the early season prize.

“It’s not the be all and end all but hey, win on Saturday and we go top - well, for an hour or so!,” he told us as they prepare for curtain up at Edgeley Park, live on BT Sport.

“We’d take that. It’s always good to say you are top of the league. Naturally we want to get off to a good start.

“August is a very busy month for everyone, so to begin well would give us a real boost.”

Their lunchtime visit to Stockport County represents another big trip for the part-timers from Berkshire.

We put the idea of table-topping to opposite number Jim Gannon.

“I’m sure they would love to go top - Alan’s not the only one,” he said.

“But he doesn’t have to beat us. They’ll lead the table on alphabetical order if they get a point!”

Devonshire is about to start his fourth season back at Maidenhead, the club where he began his management journey in 1996.

He is 63 now, so with getting on for 25 years in the dug-out does the West Ham legend still get the same kick out of preparing his team as he did when aged 40?

“I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t!” he said.

“The summers seem to get shorter, that’s for sure. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older! But I still have the same love for the game, and the excitement a season brings, than I have ever done.

“This season I think we are in a better position to do well and hopefully this weekend we can get off to the start we want in front of the cameras.”

Five out of six pre-season wins is the perfect platform for the club to build on.

The Stripes' summer has seen the arrival of some solid signings. Wealdstone’s talented full-back Freddie Grant joins, as does defender Aron Davies.

Last week former Aldershot winger Bernard Mensah signed on a season-long loan from Bristol Rovers, a potentially huge deal.

“We’ve got in some good players and it’s now about how they play together,” Devonshire said.

“The friendly games have gone well but you never can read too much into those games. It’s very different when the real stuff starts.

“Stockport will be a challenge for us because they have come up and won lots of matches last year. They’re a big club.

“It’s a difficult first game, it’s a difficult first couple of weeks for us. But we have good players, we have added in the right areas.

“We won’t judge anything too early on but we would love to get off to a good start.”

Where next?

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