In the spotlight: Maidenhead United

Fact File

Full Name: Maidenhead United Football Club

Year Formed: 1870

Nickname: The Magpies

Stadium: York Road

Capacity: 4,000

2021/22 Finish: 17th in the National League

Review of the 2021/22 season

Maidenhead United’s 2021/22 season always struggled to get going. They won their first two against FC Halifax Town and Dover Athletic before going eight games without a victory. The Magpies would always stay comfortably above the drop zone as they got a large percentage of their victories over play-off chasing teams. Over the course of the campaign, Alan Devonshire’s side got positive results against Halifax Town, Wrexham, Grimsby Town, Chesterfield, Bromley and Boreham Wood. They made it to the FA Cup first round before losing in an incredible 7-4 tie against Halifax. Their FA Trophy campaign never got going as COVID-19 cases forced them to withdraw from the competition. Maidenhead finished the season in 16th place and secured their place in the National League for the 2022/23 season.

Manager – Alan Devonshire

Anyone familiar with football prior to the Premier League era will know the name of Alan Devonshire. The West Ham United legend played well over 400 games for the Hammers, most of which in the First Division. Upon his retirement, the former midfielder moved into management and had spells at Osterley and Brentford Women. He became Maidenhead United manager for the first time in 1996, spending seven years with the Magpies before moving to Hampton & Richmond Borough. In 2015, Devonshire returned to York Road for a second spell as Maidenhead manager. The club won the National League South title in 2017 and they have stayed in the fifth tier ever-since.

Alan Devonshire

Star Player – Sam Barratt

Sam Barratt started his career at Maidenhead United, breaking into the first team from the youth team. He played 29 times as the Magpies won promotion to the National League in 2016. The winger was rewarded for his good form in the summer of 2018 with a move to Football League side Southend United. Unfortunately, he struggled to secure a regular place in the team and only spent two seasons at Roots Hall. Barratt moved back to York Road ahead of the 2020/21 campaign and immediately settled back into life at Maidenhead United. The 26-year-old scored 15 times in 29 appearances as Alan Devonshire’s side finished in mid-table. Barratt struggled with injuries last season but still managed to bag seven goals in just 20 games.

Sam Barratt. Picture by Darren Woolley

Overall Head-to-head Record

P7   W1   D1   L5

Chesterfield have struggled against Maidenhead United since first encountering them in the 2018/19 season. The Magpies raced into a 2-0 lead in the first fixture od the 2021/22 campaign before goals from Jeff King and Kabongo Tshimanga levelled things up. Josh Kelly popped up with his second of the night to give the hosts a 3-2 victory. The Spireites finally recorded their first win over Maidenhead in the reverse fixture with Akwasi Asante scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory at the Technique Stadium.

Played for both – Ryheem Sheckleford

Ryheem Sheckleford started his career with Fulham and was part of the squad that made it to the 2013/14 FA Youth Cup final. Upon leaving Craven Cottage in 2018, the right-back joined National League side Maidenhead United. He had a loan spell at Walton Casuals towards the end of the 2018/19 campaign to get some first-team experience. Sheckleford became an integral part of Alan Devonshire’s side in the seasons following, playing around 30 games a season. The 25-year-old left York Road at the end of the 2021/22 season and joined Chesterfield soon after. In his two pre-season cameos so far, he has impressed fans as the Spireites have enjoyed an unbeaten pre-season.

Ryheem Sheckleford