Yesterday saw the announcement of the fixture list. We caught up with David Bryom, news shopper journalist and owner of the blog the Conf blog to discuss Ebbsfleet.
Recently relegated Ebbsfleet United will start their 2013/14 Conference South campaign at home to Havant and Waterlooville on Saturday 17th August.
The match will signal the start of a new era for The Fleet after an eventful off-season that saw them nearly go out of business before being rescued by KEH Sports, who immediately installed former-Charlton Athletic Chief Executive Peter Varney as Executive Vice Chairman.
The change of ownership also ushered in a switch in the dugout, as the club’s longest-serving manager Liam Daish was replaced by former-Charlton defender Steve Brown, with ex-Addicks manager Steve Gritt as his assistant.
Brown attracted criticism from some in the league due to the fact he signed six players he used to coach at Dover Athletic, where he was previously Assistant Manager, and Brown and those players – including highly-rated midfielder Dean Rance and striker Ben May – will renew acquaintances with Dover in just their second game of the season as they head to The Crabble on Tuesday 20th August.
The Fleet and Dover will also play each other over the Christmas period, at Stonebridge Road on Saturday 28th December. This match is sandwiched in between a Boxing Day and New Years’ Day double-header against Bromley.
Ebbsfleet have retained four players from the last time they were in this division, in the forms of defenders Paul Lorraine and Joe Howe, midfielder Tom Phipp and star goalkeeper Preston Edwards. These four players will face thirteen teams that they also faced when the side won promotion back to the Conference Premier, meaning they will feel confident that their experiences will stand them in good stead to fight for promotion this season, especially when the squad has been bolstered by signings such as midfielder Stacy Long, who played for the club when they won the FA Trophy at Wembley in 2008.
The season ends with in April 2014, a month that will prove crucial to The Fleet, as they visit the likes of Staines Town and Sutton United, both of whom will be aiming to challenge for promotion this season.
As well as playing their first match at home, Brown’s men will also finish the season at Stonebridge Road, against Dorchester Town, when Fleet fans will be hoping they have plenty to cheer about.