Dafuge Challenge – Barwell FC – 2025-2026
After strengthening the squad in the preseason I really thought he boys had a shot at getting into the playoffs. The first 10 or so matches didn’t show that though as we were a mid table club. In September though we went on a real strong run of form. We managed to get up into first for the last 10 matches but were never able to get any distance from 2nd place Wycombe. It came down to the last match of the season. All wee needed was a point and we got it against our old parent club Bristol Rovers. We were league champs and promoted for the second year in a row!
Our Cup performance wasn’t the best. We didn’t make any real runs at all. It was probably to the club benefit though with how tight the league was to not add to many extra matches. The FA Cup was our best performance. We got to the 5th round while beating Birmingham and then Crystal Palace in a replay. Sheffield United then knocked us out. The Birmingham match did set club attendance and gate records. The EFL Cup was a bust as we went out in Round 1 to Birmingham. We again topped our group in the EFL Trophy but went out int he first knockout round to Tottenhams U21s on penalties.
We did bring in a couple youth players out of contract but all were very depth/project players. I focused more on strengthening the first team this year. Michael Mulholland(Liverpool), Nathan Baxter(Rotherham), and Joe Ridley(Middlesborough) all came in on Frees. Really tried to bring in some really strong loans. Walter Obando(Bristol City), Alexey Yeremeev(Derby), Samson Lawal(Crystal Palace), Mat McGarrity(West Brom), and Liam Edwards(Crystal Palace) all loaned in for the season and played big roles. Tashan Oakley-Boothe(Stoke) came in mid-season on free for some more depth. We also made a good amount from sales. First Greg Williams was sold to Lincoln City for 100k and Terry Taylor spent the first half of the season throwing a fit to leave. In January I sold him to Lincoln as well for 245k.
Very happy with the back to back promotions. Will definitely need to strengthen the club to stay in the Championship next year. Ended this season earning the league Manager of the Year as well. We took on Kettering town as a new affiliate as we had to drop Bristol Rovers being as we were in the same division. Got improvements on youth training facilities as well.
- Top Players:
- Patrick Bonsch– Another great season from our RB. Scoring 11 goals and also having 11 assists.
- Liam Edwards(Loan from Crystal Palace)- Strong CB play. Didn’t get on to many set pieces though
- Michael Mulholland(Free from Liverpool)- Our other top CB. Played very well
- Dilan Markanday– First full season with the club. Scored 9 goals and setup 11 more.
- Samson Lawal(Loan from Crystal Palace)- This guy controlled the midfield. Scored 6 and setup 6 more
- Matt McGarrity(Loan from West Brom)- 9 goals and 11 assists from the loanee
- Walter Obando(Loan from Bristol City)- Injury early but bounced back with a good 12 goal 9 assist season.
- Turgut Kasal– Played a little higher this year. Resulted in a 22 goal season and club record of 19 league goals in a season.
- Will Russ– Despite being the 3rd/bench forward he still chipped in 15 goals.