One year on, from his first press conference as manager of Workington, Mike Lowe had started to put his plans of reshaping the club into action. His reshaping process started with changes with his backroom staff, which saw the addition of two new coaches, as well as Viv Busby being replaced as assistant manager by Aaron Maguire.
Changes were also made to the playing staff; with Alan Murphy being promoted to club captain in only his second season at the club. There were also a number of players brought in to add to last years squad. Some of the most notable signings were;
James Yeboah(former Tottenham Trainee)
Oliver Modeste(former Tottenham Trainee)
Ellis Wall(former Chesterfield Trainee)
Tonton Zola Moukoko(former Djurgarden, Derby & Atlantis Midfielder)
Cole Stockton(former Tranmere Striker, with 2 League One Appearances)
With so many new players, and young players at that Lowe set about organising a very intensive pre season programme with included 10 games.
It started with games against Watford & Sunderland, games which they lost 4-2 & 2-0 respectable. But after those two games, their pre season got really going. With 8 straight victories scoring 30 goals and only letting in 5 which included 4 clean sheets. The highlight of those 8 victories was a 3-1 victory over Carlisle.
With Pre-Season in the books, it was time for the seasonto kick off. With the club competing on a number of fronts, in the Blue Square North(BSN), FA Trophy and FA Cup.
Blue Square North:
After a season of over achievement, the bar was set very high for the upcoming season. After last season’s playoff defeat the fans were at least expecting their side to make another push for the playoffs. But the press were still very sceptical about Workington, predicting they would finish only 8th.
The season started very strong with Workington notching up 8 victories and only 1 defeat, finding themselves in second place, putting their playoff defeat behind them in some fashion. Scoring 23 and only conceding 6, some of there victories were quiet impressive with a 4-1, 5-1 & 4-0 amongst them. Tommy Amos & Cole Stockton had also stuck up a fine partner ship scoring a combined 12 league goals, while Tonton Zola setting up 5 goals.
After 23 games of the season, Workington could be found in second place, and just 2 points behind league leaders. This great league position was all the more impressive despite a run in which they only had 1 victory in a 4 game span. Tommy Amos was the clubs top scorer with 10 goals and Dave O’Connor was the creator of goals with 9 assists.
With 10 games left in the regular season, Workington had finally made top spot their own, 8 points clear of second place Histon. Heading into such a crunch stage of the season, Workington found themselves in a good position, with no major injury worries. It looked like the only way Workington weren’t going to win their first ever league title was if there was a major implosion at Workington.
With only 2 games left in the season, Workington were crowned champions after a 3-2 victory over Guiseley. This was the first league title won by Workington.
So as the season ended, Workington finished champions on 89 points from their 42 games. In a season in which they didn’t find themselves outside the top 2 since the 8th game of the season. It was a great season for both the club and manager. Mike Lowe, for the second season running confounded the media by finishing well ahead of their expectations.
After falling at the first stage last season, not many people were expecting Workington to do much again this year in the competition. Starting the competition with an away trip to AFC Telford, drawing 1-1 but winning the replay 1-0 thanks to an own goal.
So now Workington, found themselves into the competition proper, drawn against Southport and drawing 2-2, so yet another replay awaited them. But this time the replay was away from home, but this didn’t phase Lowe’s men, who won the game 2-0.
After playing 8 games in the competition, which included 3 replays Workington found themselves in the Semi-Final’s. Where they were draw against Blue Square premier outfit. In the 1st leg, Workington drew 2-2 at home, thanks to a 85th minute equalizer from Victor Zapata-Caicedo. With the 2nd leg being away from home it was going to be an uphill challenge for the Blue Square North outfit. 23 minutes into the 2nd leg Workington took the lead, but 1 minute later were down to 10 men. Workington ran out 2-1 winners and were into the FA Trophy Final.
In the Final, Workington were set to face Guiseley. The first cup final for manager Mike Lowe and it was going to prove to be his biggest test. The game was also on TV and to be played at Wembley. With the game just about to go into the 45th minute, Dave O’Connor popped up and scored the one and only goal of the final, as Workington ran out 1-0 victors and Workington won their first Cup.
One of the worlds oldest cup competitions and possibly the most romantic cup competition…But for a club of Workington’s stature, a possibility of winning such a competition would be a fairytale. But clubs at there level can always dream, and if winning the cup is out of the question, there is always the hope of giant killing.
But every club has to start somewhere, and for Workington their first match would be in the second qualifying round…
Unable to make it into the competition proper was disappointing for the club, but their exit from the FA Cup was certainly not a sign for things to come for Workington’s season.
End of Season Round Up:
Fans Player of the Year: Dave O’Connor
Mike Lowe’s Season Highlight: Doing the double(League & FA Trophy)
Mike Lowe’s Season Lowlight: Failing to make it into the FA Cup proper
Finances remained in the red with the figure suggested to be £210,000 after the club recorded a loses of £80,000. In response to the reported loses, Mike Lowe said that there would have to be a revaluation of the squad but the wage budget would in all likelihood remain the same for the next season. Despite these loses, Workington had the 2nd lowest wage bill in the Blue Square North, which really puts their successful season into a whole new level of achievement.
Also after months of speculation, Workington captain Alan Murphy confirmed that he would be leaving at the end of the season when his contract ran out. No word, as to weather or not his to sign with another club.
Winning the league & cup double has really brought Mike Lowe to the attention to clubs further up the footballing pyramid, with Leyton Orient having approached him to fill their vacant management position. But Lowe turned down the job offer sighting his promise to the fans of Workington “To bring Workington back into the league”.
Despite the poor financial position of the Club, it was announced that Workington will move into a new stadium in 2015.
…End of Season 2