Sofa so good for Whing

Former Albion defender relishing life as Banbury boss on Non-League day.

By Charlie Hanson • 25 March 2023

By Banbury United
Andy Whing led Banbury to promotion to National League North last season.

Andy Whing certainly had his hands full on Thursday.

The ex-Albion defender and current Banbury United manager was trying to sign some players on non-league deadline day while getting on with his day job of working in a warehouse.

“I work for Banbury United and Birmingham City University part-time, and then I’ve got my full-time job,” Andy explained. “I was wrapping sofas and trying to sign players at the same time, it’s beyond impossible to be honest! I was wondering if Pep Guardiola or Roberto De Zerbi wrap sofas on their deadline days!

“I’ve got my phone ringing; I’ve got all these labels in my hands to put on different sofas. It’s carnage. Then I have to get home from work, say hello to the wife and kids, get changed and I am straight back out to training.”

Trying to balance work and home life is as difficult as it sounds for Whing, who had two spells with us and made over 100 appearances.

“I’ve found that really tough. We have a huge amount of travelling in the National League. You might spend four or five hours on a coach on a Saturday then do the same on a Tuesday night and you’ve got to be up for work on Wednesday morning. It’s been tougher than I could have ever imagined.

By Banbury United
The former defender has a full-time job, as well as two part-time jobs with Banbury United and Birmingham City University.

“You want to see your family, but then you’ve got to sort your team out. Throw into the mix the ups and downs of winning and losing, constant emails and phone calls. It’s non-stop. I sometimes wonder why I do it but the difficult times are balanced out by the really good times.”

Those highs Andy mentions includes leading the Puritans to promotion to National League North last season. “This is the highest the club has ever been. Last season was unbelievable in terms of being promoted with a 23-point lead. This season has been really tough though.

“We had a great start to the season, but we’ve had a lot of injuries and suspensions then in the last few months we’ve had Saturday-Tuesday games and it’s been pretty relentless.

“It’s a massive learning curve. We tried to keep a majority of the team together from last season, but one player got signed by Southend and another has gone to League Two.

“It’s brilliant for the club when young players develop with us and then get their chance in professional football, but that hurts us on the pitch. We’ve lost three forwards who had started every week, so we’re trying to find that balance again without them. We’ve had some really good results, but it’s caught up with us a bit recently. If we stay up it will be a great achievement.”

Andy was speaking about his time with Banbury ahead of Non-League Day this Saturday.

“With Premier League and Championship teams not playing, it gives fans of those clubs the chance to come and watch us," said Andy. "There are always bumper crowds on Non-League Day, and that is massive for clubs.

“It helps boost the coffers and hopefully everyone gets a few more fans in. We want people to see how good the product is and to enjoy what can be a good atmosphere. The extra revenue is a lifeblood for clubs."

While Banbury’s home match against AFC Telford might be too much of a trek for our Sussex-based supporters, there are plenty of Non-League games locally.

National League south: Worthing v Havant & Waterlooville.

Isthmian League premier division: Lewes v Potters Bar Town. South-East division: Burgess Hill Town v Chatham, East Grinstead Town v Ashford United, Lancing v Three Bridges,  Littlehampton v VCD Athletic, Whitehawk v Cray Valley PM.

For fixtures in the Southern Counties Combination League throughout Sussex click here.

Don't forget - Albion are away to Reading in an important WSL game on Sunday. For details of how you can watch the game with fellow Albion fans click here.