In the spotlight: Dorking Wanderers

Fact File

Full Name: Dorking Wanderers Football Club

Year Formed: 1999

Nickname: Wanderers

Stadium: Meadowbank

Capacity: 3,000

2021/22 Finish: Second in National League South

Review of the 2021/22 season

An indifferent start to the season threatened a possible mid-table finish as Dorking found themselves in 15th by mid-October. Their FA Cup and FA Trophy campaigns failed to set the world alight as the league became the main focus.

The Wanderers lost just three times between then and the start of March to occupy top spot with automatic promotion well within their sights. Marc White’s side tripped up a couple of times which let Maidstone United through to win the title by six points. Dorking confirmed second place and a home play-off semi-final tie against Oxford City – a comfortable 3-0 victory secured home advantage for the final. At 1-1, Craig Tanner looked to have scored a 90+2 winner for Ebbsfleet United, but Luke Moore popped up with an equaliser on the stroke of 100 minutes to force extra-time. Alfie Rutherford scored his 32nd and final goal of an extraordinary season to secure promotion to the National League for Dorking Wanderers for the first time in their history.

Manager – Marc White

Marc White has a unique situation compared to the other 23 National League managers; not only does he manage the club, but he also owns Dorking Wanderers. He has been at with the football club since their inception in 1999 and he has overseen their quite remarkable and unparalleled rise through England’s lower leagues. White is known as quite a character whilst also showing his knack as a manager. The Wanderers have a very good record of getting promoted from leagues in a quick manner with their 12 promotions in 23 seasons. Incredibly, Dorking and White made history last season as they achieved promotion to the fifth tier and will face the likes of the Spireites, Notts County, Wrexham, Oldham Athletic, Scunthorpe United, etc.

Star Player – Alfie Rutherford

Alfie Rutherford has attracted interest from Football League over the summer and the numbers certainly don’t lie. He started his career at clubs such as Moneyfields, Bognor Regis and Eastbourne. However, Havant & Waterlooville is where the striker started to really make a name for himself. Fifteen goals during the 2018/19 season showed the promise of the young player but it couldn’t prevent the Hawks from suffering relegation to the National League. Rutherford struggled to recreate the form in the National League South, and he joined Dorking Wanderers in 2020. His first season with the club was a disappointment – but his second campaign would be the total opposite. The 2021/22 season would prove to be Rutherford’s year as the forward scored 32 goals in just 37 games which helped Dorking gain promotion to the National League.

Overall Head-to-head Record

P0   W0   D0   L0

Dorking Wanderers are the only club in this season’s National League that Chesterfield have not played in a competitive game. The first ever meeting between the two sides will have a bit extra intrigue to it will be the Surrey-based side’s maiden game in the National League.

Played for both – Darren Oldaker

Darren Oldaker started his professional career with Gillingham in 2016 but he left the club in 2019 by mutual consent. The midfielder roamed around non-league clubs in the south of England. However, in November 2019 he joined Dorking Wanderers from Hythe Town. Oldaker started to thrive after securing first-team football and Wanderers also kept their National League dreams very much alive. His time at Meadowbank was very much a success with four goals in 25 appearances as Dorking made history and beat Ebbsfleet United in the National League South play-off final. Oldaker was rewarded for his fine form in England’s sixth tier as he made the move to the Technique Stadium ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

Darren Oldaker