In part one of my series of ‘Hashtag United’s rise to prominence’, I looked at how the foundations were laid for the Tags to become a successful non-league side. In this part, I am going to look at how their teams, men’s and women’s in particular, have got on this season and how far they could potentially go in the future.
The men’s first-team had a terrific campaign in the Isthmian North Division as they lifted the title with 98 points to their name. It was a two-horse race for the title between them and AFC Sudbury who pushed the Tags to the very end, but the latter eventually came out on top. Hashtag went on an extraordinary run of results which saw them pick up 21 consecutive wins. This coincided with them sitting in the higher echelons of the table, but this impressive run came to an end after a defeat to Stowmarket Town in March.
Last season was their first in the eighth tier and despite a disappointing start, Jay Devereux’s side finished in eighth place. The season before that, even though it was called as ‘null and void’, Hashtag were promoted from the Essex Senior League on their accrued points-per-game (PPG).
If you think their progression has been eye-catching, then the women’s has been even better. This season, they earnt promotion to the third tier of women’s football, meaning they are three promotions off of the Women’s Super League (WSL). They have taken the league by storm so far and they have lifted the title with one game to spare, having only lost on one occasion. They also had a very successful run in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup where they reached the fourth round and were eventually knocked out by Championship outfit Coventry United.
They came extremely close to promotion last season but in the end, were pipped to the title by Billericay Town. The Blues went on an incredible unbeaten run which saw them mount the pressure on the Tags, but they were unable to get over the line in the end. However, they did get one over Billericay as they lifted the BBC Essex Senior Cup after a 2-1 victory.
Alongside successful men’s and women’s first-teams, Hashtag have laid the foundations for the future with their youth teams. There are over 40 teams under the Hashtag umbrella and those players could go onto represent the first-team later down the line.
It is fair to say that Hashtag have not been welcomed with open arms by everybody in the non-league pyramid. Some disagree with the way that they are run but if they keep growing at this rate, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them in the Football League in the future.
But what is your take on Hashtag United and do you think they are an example to other clubs in non-league football?