Formed in 2020, Dorking Wanderers have gone from strength to strength, and with new arrivals it is only likely to continue. Is this enough to secure this upcoming tier 6 side progression to the next level?
Dorking currently sit fourth in the London & South East Regional Women’s Division 1 North (Tier 6), with 5 games in hand and only 7 points off current leaders Clapton Community. They also compete in the Women’s FA Cup, Capital Women’s Cup and the Combined Counties Women’s Cup competitions.
After last week's disappointing result for the Wanderers, following a penalty converted by Whyteleafe, every point pushing forwards is crucial in this nail-biting title race.
Dorking Wanderers are surrounded by many upcoming clubs, including the likes of Brentford, Dulwich Hamlet Reserves and Watford Development, in which sadly only one club can be rewarded with a promotion- a system that requires change to scope the evolving landscape of women’s football.
Chairman Calum Best has recently stolen the show, quite literally, following BBC Three’s: 'Squad Goals- Dorking Til I Die' documentary, which followed the teams aim to lift two trophies in Best’s first season. The British-American TV personality has offered an abundance of support across the past two seasons, not only through financial benefits but also through his familiarity and knowledge with the world of football thanks to his father George Best.
With the Wanderers undoubtedly on the rise, the management, including Manager Louise Cooper and Head Coach Martin Gonzalez, have already started to create a strengthened squad ahead of the 2023/24 season, through combining both new and experienced existing members.
Abby Delves, Megan Stow, Becky Sargent and Sarah Sparrow are all new signings from the last month, with many other additions who have joined earlier throughout the season. They now accompany the likes of goal-scoring superstars Gemma Shepherd and Cherelle Khassal, who have racked up an astonishing 39 goals between them across all competitions in the 2022/23 season.
The talent and professional support the Lionesses are showcasing regularly has clearly had an impact on this exciting club, as the support network the Wanderers offer is rare at this level in the Women’s football pyramid. Nine members of staff (Calum Best, Louise Cooper, Kerry Knott, Martin Gonzalez, Jamie Kiernan, Richard Stennett, Jodie Fernandes, John Greig and Martin Clarke) make up this impressive structure- one which is set to take the club far.
Now it’s down to the players to consistently gain the three points, and see themselves climb the table in the last weeks of the season.
All eyes turn to Sunday’s afternoon kick-off, where Dorking Wanderers invite leaders Clapton to Meadowbank Stadium, in the hope to be one step closer to the top spot.