It’s hard to remember a DoWo season as competitive as the one shaping up for the 2019/2020 season. In the absence of big DoBo clubs dropping down – Cacos’ demotion, Super Ted FC’s controversial survival – the return of Heisenberg and Dr. Gavin Brian Jones, the rapid rise of nouveau clubs like St. Pauli, the disruptive presence of William Penhallurick and The Jager Bombers, the sleeping giant of David Twigg’s Xtal tha Pulsewidth and the equally dormant Mellberg’s Beard, the DoWo season narrative is a compelling one.
For David Twigg and Xtal tha Pulsewidth, it’s an opportunity for biggest club in the division to flex its muscle and make an early mark. As one of three managers in the division with top-flight experience (the others being Will Penhallurick and Gavin Jones), Twigg knows what it takes to earn DoBo status, but retaining it is always the challenge. There will still be a sense of surprise – shock, even – that Borussia Teeth pipped them to promotion last season but Twigg is a manager who doesn’t dwell on the past. But after a few near misses in finals, YoBo races and now last season’s closely fought, but ultimately failed, promotion battle, Xtal will want to ensure they don’t become established as a ‘nearly’ team—getting out of this competitive DoWo division will go a long away towards that.
It’s been a strange few seasons for Wes Evans. After romping to DoDi title success with Egg Fried Reus, he’s found progress much tougher after consecutive 3rd place finishes with Egg Fried and now Mellberg’s Beard. It could have been consecutive promotions had his side not run into the imperious form of Exeter Gently and Super Ted FC in 2016 but last season was characterised by battle at the bottom, more so than the top. As many lower league managers discover, the jump from DoDi to DoWo is rarely easy—and this season should prove to be no different. We saw flashes of Evans’ ability that ultimately separated Mellberg’s Beard from the hapless DTA but it was never sustained beyond ensuring survival, and without the traditional relegation fodder of Stephen Davies DTA providing a bottom-place buffer, survival may end up being the Mellberg mantra for the season.
Few expected the return of Heisenberg after a visibly broken Gavin Brian Jones slipped out of the league back in 2016. All seemed well for Jones’ two trophy-laden seasons but a brutal relegation from DoBo tipped one of the game’s brightest young managers into a dark place. Rested, rehabilitated and free of the Twirl addiction that almost ruined his life, Jones comes back to the division he felt he couldn’t face with a renewed sense of proving his talent. A strong showing in FT B confirmed the talent is still there—the question remains whether Jones’ mental state is up to a season of Will Penhallurick?
The Jager Bombers find themselves slowly making headway to the division they sensationally quit back in 2016. After bottling an unlikely DoBo title run, and embroiled in a pre-season scandal after a club trip to Thailand, just a few weeks into the new season, Will Penhallurick was removed from his role after footage of himself, Nigel Farage and Brian Harvey with prostitutes was played on the Bombers scoreboard at half-time in GW2.
Penhallurick duly disappeared into the depths of Stoke city centre, only to re-emerge a year later armed with a book of tactics, a penicillin drip and a self-made membership card for Liquid in Oldham. His unorthodox techniques paid off as the Bombers eased to DoDi place, promotion and, in true Penhallurick style, ruined FC Des’ tilt at the treble with a niggly SaKo final win to earn the club’s first ever piece of silverware. With that duck broken and Penhallurick off the penicillin drip, the mood around the Bombers’ camp is upbeat at the thought of being a division above Sean Downs and Super Ted FC come the start of next season.
After carving through the chaos of DoDi last season, Paul Gregory’s St. Pauli retained the proud tradition of one team powering to the title. It might not have been as dominant a title campaign of those of Egg Fried Reus and DTA in previous seasons but for Gregory’s side, it could be the first step of consecutive ones towards the top-flight. Inspired by the confidence of their manager, St. Pauli rarely looked troubled last season and showed up well in the cups, but in a division of title-winners and top-flight experience, and the additional challenge of the YoBo, fans will be hoping St. Pauli follow in FC Des’ footsteps as opposed to DTA’s.
THE PUNDITS’ PREDICTIONS
1 – St. Pauli
2 – Heisenberg
3 – Xtal Tha Pulsewidth
4 – Mellberg’s Beard
5 – The Jager Bombers
1 – Heisenberg
2 – St. Pauli
3 – Mellberg’s Beard
4 – Xtal tha Pulsewidth
5 – The Jager Bombers