Following the game, both Collin and Bodkin spoke of their excitement and that infectious buzz surrounding the club.
It was a great return to the club for Bodkin, who opened his account with a powerful finish from a fine, flourishing attacking move by Alex Flisher.
“It was really nice to get some minutes under my belt” said Bodkin. “It feels like ages since I played a game of football, so it was good to get a run around. My legs feel a bit heavy but they’ll get better as the game time builds!”
With an injection of pace and creativity, the visitor’s attacking display at Faversham was one to savour, especially for Collin who was happy to be back on the grass playing.
Collin said, “It has taken a while to get my deal done, you can only run for so long before getting fed up! So, I’m pleased to get back on the pitch and get playing again.”
“I’ve nearly joined Margate twice before when I went to Tonbridge and before I joined Maidstone. With Watty coming in and knowing Mike, Browny and a lot of the boys, it was a no-brainer for me. It’s a club on the up and I’m delighted to have joined.”
With the manager describing the 2-0 victory as a “professional performance”, Bodkin believes with more pre-season game time, the squad’s prospects will only continue to brighten.
“We’ll get fitter and stronger and will naturally begin to switch on to a game situation. The more minutes we get done, the better we will get.”
Besides causing havoc for opposition defenders, Bodkin will be playing an important tactical role off the pitch, supporting players with the sports science side of their game. Bodkin explained:
“I’ll be focusing on injury prevention, especially at the moment because there’s a lot of games. It’s all about getting the boys ready for training, ready for games and trying to improve flexibility; ultimately, working towards making sure everybody is game-ready for a Saturday or Tuesday.”
The pre-season graft is certainly not going unnoticed and Bodkin went on to reveal the testing regime the first team squad were put through during a Saturday session at David Lloyds.
“Steve and I thought about the idea years ago. It’s basically a gym-triathlon which involved 1km on a rower, 5km on a bike and a 2.4km run to be done in as quick a time as possible - and to be fair - the boys did really well.”
“I always say 20 goals as a minimum and I think it has been 11 seasons on the spin now, so always 20 and then go from there! I put my neck on the line a bit but 20 plus is what I’m hoping for.”
They’ll also be a role for Collin to use his experience to help develop young prospects in the squad, which is something he is relishing.
“I said to Watty as soon as I saw Sid (Sollis), I liked him straight away. I like what he’s about, he’s a good, young lad; he listens and if I can help him along the way, all the better.”
The blend of experience and young talent is yet another positive coming from the club and Bodkin believes there’s plenty to be optimistic about.
“The promise is there to do well. There’s a lot of proven players like Fran, Flish, Millsy and many others who have won things and are regarded very highly. There’s no reason why we should lack in any quality throughout the season. There’s a good connection between all the boys too, so that should lead us through when times get tough or difficult.”
“Understandably it was disappointing last year but that was to do with circumstances away from the pitch rather than on it. Everything is really settled at the moment so hopefully people will come down to support the team and that will push us on the pitch as well.”
And with a competitive league to get stuck into, Collin is sure there will be plenty of twists and turns as the season unfolds.
“It’s obvious everyone fancies Billericay with the money they’ve spent. But I’m sure they will say themselves, they won’t have it all their way this season. There will be a lot of games this season, when you get through January, February – cold Tuesday nights away – and they’ll drop points along the way. Dulwich are always up there and they’ll be strong, the same with Tonbridge.”
“I fancy us massively, as we have a lot of players who have won things before and what Wattty has done quite cleverly is bring a group together who know each other well. The boys pretty much know each other already, so we will be hoping to get off to a good start and see where it takes us.”