Last week we asked the Non-League community to vote for their team of the season from a 32 man shortlist and thanks to your votes, the fans XI was created.
However, do the Non-League writers agree with the fans decision? We’ve taken a look at who they felt deserved to be in the 2016/17 team of the season and compared it to the supporters votes.
Tom Feaheny’s team of the season.
Straight away we see Tom has gone against the fans vote and stuck Whitby’s Shane Bland between the sticks. Bland had a great season with Whitby as they challenged for the play-offs, a stark change to their relegation battle of last season. Their defence played a crucial role in their rise, as Bland conceded just 56 goals, a considerable improvement from the 79 that flew in during the 2015/16 season. Bland was a popular vote with the fans too, receiving 22% of the votes so Tom’s choice to put him in can’t be argued with.
Across the back four, Hereford’s Jimmy Oats and Marlow FC’s Chris Ovenden get a spot in Tom’s team of the year. However, Stourbridge’s Dan Scarr and Lincoln City’s Sean Raggett are Tom’s pick at CB and LB, replacing Nantwich Town’s Andy White and Brightlingsea’s Matt Cripps. There’s no surprise that Scarr is in Tom’s team of the year, his impressive season attracted attention from Birmingham City who managed to snap the defender on a two and a half year deal, despite receiving only 4% of the fans votes. Raggett played an instrumental part in Lincoln City’s dream FA Cup run, as well as guiding them back to the Football League. Surprisingly the 24 year old was only picked by 5% of the votes, despite Stourbridge rejecting a £100,000 bid from West Brom last month.
Farnborough’s CJ Fearn and Hereford’s Rob Purdie were the only midfielders to get above 5% of the fans votes. Fearn makes it into Tom’s team, however it may be a surprise to some that Purdie misses out. Dulwich’s Ashley Carew is also left out, leaving Lincoln City’s Alex Woodyard and Blyth’s Robbie Dale to make up Tom’s midfield. Woodyard racked up City’s Twitter and Lincolnshire Echo player of the season awards, alongside the Bill Stacey Memorial Trophy for Away Player of the Season, whilst ‘Robbiedinho’ created the most assists at the NPL Premier’s top club this season.
It’s all change when we take a look at Tom’s striker picks as none of the strikers voted in by the fans make it into Tom’s eleven. Despite this, we doubt many people would be happy to face a front trio of Dan Maguire, Ricky Miller and Thomas Wright. Maguire bagged 30 goals for Blyth this season, whilst Miller’s stellar campaign lead him to signing for League One outfit Peterborough United. Wright was the Southern Leagues most prolific frontman, scoring 39 of the clubs 118 goals in 2017.
Ryan Allen’s team of the season.
Ryan has gone against the fans choice of goalkeeper too with Aldershot Town’s Jake Cole, who only received 3% of the fans vote, making the cut. The 37 goals he conceded this season is the least of any team in The National League.
Matt Cripps is the only defender who makes it into both the fans and Ryan’s eleven. Along with Tom’s picks, Raggett and Scarr make it into Ryan’s team of the season, with Liam Ridehalgh of Tranmere Rovers getting the nod at right back. Ridehalgh formed part of the National League’s most solid defence – conceding just 39 goals in 46 games, a justified pick from Ryan.
Again only one of the players voted in by the fans makes it into Ryan’s midfield, Purdie being the man to do that. Similarly, Ryan and Tom agree that Woodyard deserves a place in the best eleven, with Forest Green’s Liam Noble taking the final centre midfield spot. Noble was part of an imperious midfield that catapulted FGR into the football league, chipping in with nine goals and scooping four man of the match awards this season. A very solid midfield trio.
Nash is the only pick of the strikers that Ryan agrees with the fans on, with one of Tom’s picks Miller also claiming a place up top. The second Forest Green Rovers player to make it into Ryan’s eleven is Christian Doidge. The striker has been the driving force in Forest Green’s promotion to the Football League, scoring a superb 27 goals in 44 appearances.
Richard Scott’s team of the year.
Bland makes it two out of three with the writers choice of goalkeeper as Richard agrees with Tom that the Whitby Town keeper is the Non-League’s stand out choice.
Richard sides with the fans when it comes to the RB and LB positions, but the changes come when we look at the CB’s. Raggett and Scarr seem to be the unanimous choices amongst the writers with Tom, Ryan and Richard all picking the Lincoln and Stourbridge pairing, with Scarr varying from LB to CB.
Another player who is popular amongst the writers is a second Lincoln player Alex Woodyard, with Purdie also making it into two out of the three writers teams, a player it seems both fans and writers appreciate. Richard is the first writer who agrees with the supporters that Carew should have a spot in the final eleven, he managed to bag 14 goals and 15 assists this season. There is a first appearance in the team of the season for Witton’s Bradley Burgess, who racked up 20 league goals this season. Richard is also the first to go with the conventional 4-4-2 formation, going against what the fans and fellow writers chose.
Up top, Miller makes it three from three as far as the writers teams are concerned, with Maguire being the preferred option to partner him, who features in two of the three writes eleven.
Let us know what you make of the Non-League writers team of the season picks and with all the team of the year picks being different, it goes to show what great talent Non-League football possess.
Fan’s team of the season
You can remind yourself of the how you voted in our Non-League Fans Team Of The Season above. Head to our Twitter page to give us your thoughts on any of our Team Of The Season coverage.