We have spent the season telling you the stories that needed to be told and even though the season has finished, we will continue to do so. Starting with Steven Clark.
After coming through the Cinderford Town Youth system, including playing for their U18s two years ago and playing for Mitcheldean for three years – Clark found himself without a club last summer, yet was as hungry as ever.
But Steven would join older brother Robbie in heading for Longhope in the Second Division of the North Gloucestershire League.
Turn the clock forward to the present day and Clark has just turned 20 years old and is celebrating a season of significant individual importance.
In just 25 appearances in all competitions, Clark managed to bag himself 50 goals – a great return for a player so young.
“It feels great to hit 50. There were some points in the season where I didn’t think I was going to do it. I just had to keep going and take every game as it came.
My target at the start of the season was to just score and help the team as much as possible. So I am delighted with my final total for the campaign.” Clark told Severn Sport.
A decent 5th placed finish for Longhope saw them finish 28 points behind the league winners Staunton & Corse Reserves, but they only managed 66 goals as a team this season – once again putting into perspective Clark’s tremendous achievement.
Longhope’s problem this season was their defence, as they conceded 60 times in the league – the worst defensive record out of the top 9 in the division.
During the season Clark has had his fair share of attention and is expected to be approached by sides higher up the football pyramid this season. But has the attention played on Clark’s mind during the season?
“Not at all. I just thought about the game I was about to play in and then the next one and so on. It was never about me as an individual, it was always about Longhope and what we can achieve as a team.”
So where does Clark see his future? His older brother Robbie has told Severn Sport that he believes the former Cinderford Youth man can play as high a level that he wants to and we asked Steven where he sees his future in football.
“Long term I would love to compete at a higher level, but I am still young so I don’t want to make too big a jump too quickly – but saying that I always want to test myself.
Short term I’ve had a great time playing down at Longhope with my friends and family, there is a great feel good factor about the club and part of me would like to see what we can achieve.” Clark added.
Clark, who can play a number of positions across the front line, told Severn Sport that his preferred position is behind the striker or as part of a front two and has revealed he “can’t play without wearing the number 11 shirt.”
…who knows, if any sides are looking for a new number 11 then Steven Clark could be the name to remember.