Club History - Part 6 - 2009-10 Season

The summer of 2009 saw trialists John Halls, Ben Herd and Adam Hinshelwood impress sufficiently to be offered contracts by Gary Waddock. They were joined shortly after by keeper Clark Masters. In mid-August, the Shots lost 2-1 at Bristol Rovers in the first round of the Carling Cup, meaning that they had gone out of the competition at a higher division opposition’s ground for the second successive season.

John McGinty RIP

On August 22nd, the club was shrouded in sadness following the passing of chairman John McGinty after a battle against cancer. The respected Irishman played a major role as the club progressed to the Football League and had a unique ability of engaging all areas of the football club. Boss Gary Waddock dedicated the 3-1 home victory over Accrington Stanley later that day “to my mate”, whilst the club held a memorial service in John’s honour at the EBB Stadium a short time after.
The win against Accrington put the Shots in ninth place and they were never out of the top half after that. In early October, the Shots lost to Hereford United on penalties after a 2-2 draw, mirroring their exit at the hands of Swindon Town the previous season.

Waddock Departs

In October, boss Waddock ended his highly successful near two-and-a-half year period at the club, when he left to join League One side Wycombe Wanderers; he had an exceptional record of winning 50% of the 128 Shots matches that he had been in charge of. Also moving to Adams Park was assistant Martin Kuhl, thus ending an eight-year association with the club. With the team sitting in fifth spot after Gary’s last game (v Morecambe), former Southampton defender Jason Dodd took charge of the team on a caretaker basis and was assisted by ex-Coventry City defender Paul Williams. In the boardroom, John Leppard (a director since 1997), became acting chairman.
For the second successive season, a League 2 team (Bury) were defeated in the first round of the FA Cup before the Shots were eliminated by a League 1 side (Tranmere Rovers) in second round.

Dillon's In Town And Play Offs Achieved

On Monday November 9th, former Portsmouth and Birmingham City midfielder Kevin Dillon was appointed as manager in a deal through to the summer of 2011, whilst former Sunderland player Gary Owers was named as his assistant. The Shots sat tenth in the table when Dillon took over.
Dillon’s reign began with one defeat in his first nine league games, the one defeat being a 6-1 drubbing at Burton Albion, which was an unfortunate way to mark the club’s 1,000th competitive game. Stalwart goalkeeping coach Paul Priddy departed the club in November after 15 years service. In order to bolster the squad, Dillon bought in a couple of players on loan: Oliver Bozanic from Reading and Bristol City’s Marlon Jackson. Following the Christmas programme, the Shots were in fifth place, but from the end of January, a run of just three wins in nine games saw them drop away from the all-important top seven places.

Before the transfer deadline, more players were signed on loan or on a non-contract basis: Aaron Brown, Stephen Henderson, Dean Morgan, Omer Riza, Damian Spencer, and Jamie Young. The new influx of players took a while to halt the poor run, though.As low as tenth after the seemingly disastrous 3-2 loss at home to Dagenham and Redbridge in late February (the Shots having been 2-0 up), albeit only three points off the play-off places, Dillon’s men then lost just four of their last 15 games; the aforementioned run started with a very unexpected 1-0 win at Chesterfield. The three wins in a row against Shrewsbury and at Darlington and Bury (all in late March) were superb, whilst the home win against Rotherham in early April was one of the best home performances under Kevin Dillon. A play-off place was confirmed with a come-from-behind win at home to Lincoln City in the penultimate game of the season; the Shots’ progression owed much to Dean Morgan’s four strikes in six games, the best of which was a last-minute strike at Cheltenham that was reminiscent of Gazza’s goal against Scotland in Euro ‘96.

Unfortunately, the season was to end in disappointment as the Shots were unable to make the Wembley-staged play-off final, losing 3-0 on aggregate to Rotherham United. However, as boss Dillon rightly remarked on more than one occasion, “the club over-achieved”.

The summer of 2010 saw an influx of departures from the club with the departure of notable players who had played a significant part of the previous season's success including Scott Donnelly, Andy Sandell, Dave Winfield and Kirk Hudson. There were new additions to the squad too with former Reading and Burnley midfielder Glen Little one of the arrivals. The season started soundly enough with just two defeats in the opening ten matches although there were six draws in that period. Brentford were defeated after a replay in the FA Cup first round but the second round defeaty saw Aldershot defeated by lower opposition in the competition for the first time since its inception. League form had also been a struggle and Dillon and Owers left the club by mutual consent in early January 2011.

Houldsworth and Bishop Appointed

On 12th January 2011 Dean Holdsworth was appointed as the seventh permanent manager of the club on a two and a half year deal assisted by Matthew Bishop. The pair arrived after steering Newport County to a record points tally in the Conference South and departed the Welsh club after leaving them in a play off position in the Conference.

The pair steered the club into a mid table position including an impressive March period where an eight match unbeaten run ensured Holdsworth was awarded the npower League 2 Manager of the Month Award. The final match of the season saw a comprehensive victory at Lincoln City, a result that confirmed relegation for the host club. The arrival of a number of southern clubs including Plymouth Argyle, Swindon Town, Bristol Rovers and AFC Wimbledon certainly made the preparation for the 2011/12 season far more interesting after Holdsworth was able to mould the squad to his specification during the close season.

Picture Gallery

John Leppard welcomes Kevin Dillon to the club
Thinking of our beloved John McGinty
Dean Morgan marshalled by Rotherham's Ian Sharps
Andy Sandell v Adam Le Fondre
Scott Donnelly v Cheltenham
Scott Donnelly battles in the air at Cheltenham
Anthony Charles v Rotherham
Marlon Jackson v Rotherham
Kevin Ellison Breaks Shots Hearts
Tempers flare at the Don Valley Stadium
The 2009/10 programme called Shotscene was a full colour 64 page effort edited for the first time by Mike and Janet Guess. A section welcoming back the guest of the day was a new addition plus the Football League stat pack. A Young Supporters page gave all the news from the junior secion. Lifelong supporter Ian Read looked back at a specific match involving the match opponents including exerts from the relevant match programme of the time. Keep In Touch informed the fans of developments within the official website whilst Emma Gordon Walker profiled players and management in her Shot Light article.
On 5th September 2009 a special programme in memory of Chairman John McGinty was provided for the visit of Hereford United. John passed away in August 2009 after a brave and dignified battle against cancer.
The 2010/11 programme called Shots saw an upgrade in paper and 64 colour pages for £3. There were a number of new additions to the publication including Aldershot News Sports Editor Charlie Oliver, more photographs and match coverage and Steve Gibbs, the new Media Manager who provided his own column plus a look ahead to future opponents and player profiles. BBC Surrey's Gavin Denison analysed the opponents of the day. Chaplain Mike Pusey and Physio Nick Brink also wrote their own articles. The Player Share Scheme was covered through Eagle Radio's Paul Marcus in addition to the new Supporters Trust content. Jack Rollin (since the early 1970's) and Graham Brookland (early 1980's) remained the only two contributors since the inaugural 1992/93 season.
A sombre Recreation Ground as Club Chaplain Mike Pusey conducts a service on the pitch prior to the August 2009 home match versus Accrington Stanley on the day Chairman John McGinty lost his brave battle with cancer.
Scott Donnelly nets twice at Blundell Park as Grimsby Town are defeated 2-1 in August 2009
Marvellous Marvin Morgan on the score sheet versus Cheltenham Town in September 2009
Former Southampton pairing of Jason Dodd and Paul Williams were in temporary charge after the departure of Gary Waddock to Wycombe Wanderers in October 2009
Enter Messrs Dillon and Owers
A more than satisfactory draw at eventual champions Notts County in November 2009
Anthony Straker rides a challenge at Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup second round in November 2009
Dean Morgan made a name for himself in his brief time at the club. Pictured here netting a crucial injury time winner at Cheltenham Town in April 2010
More Cheltenham celebrations at Whaddon Road
More Cheltenham celebrations at Whaddon Road as Scott Donnelly scores
East Bank in full flow at home to Lincoln City in May 2010
The players enter at the Don Valley Arena for the play off semi final second leg at Rotherham United
Shots fans in full voice at the play off semi finals at Rotherham United
Assistant Manager Gary Owers barks instructions. The former Sunderland midfielder played in the 1992 FA Cup Final
FA Cup disappointment at Dover Athletic in November 2010
Dean Holdsworth (right) and Matthew Bishop sign on a two and a half year deal as the new management team in January 2011
Youth arrives as Dean Holdsworth secures 2 year deals with teenage scholars in April 2011
Players Player of the Seaosn 2010-11 Ben Herd with Dean Holdsworth