Following from afar

I think I know how Matteo feels now.

Nothing worse than staring at the phone from several thousand miles away waiting for the texts.  At 10.45 New York time on Saturday morning the half time report was promising.  At 12.00 when the final score of the Hampton game filtered through, together with the texts and calls providing some detail it was tough news indeed.

I wish I could have been there.  Hearing about 250+ passionate (well behaved) Wealdstone fans getting behind the team in what was clearly a terrific struggle.  Let’s not forget, Hampton are a good side, champions of our league last year and going well in the league above with an excellent home record – and we came within 2 minutes of a replay.

It has been a good cup run, three 1-0 wins to get us this far.  All narrow margins but achieved with a measure of quality and control especially the Bishop’s Stortford game.  We need to carry this forward now, tonight in the league and Saturday in the Trophy.

Normal service will be resumed on the blog but how about 250 fans  at Leyton tonight?

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Many happy returns

Turned 40 today.

My wife had told me she was organising something for me tonight, turns out it was a surprise party with the surprise being that the party (which was great thanks for asking) was last night theoretically leaving me free to come to the replay somewhat unexpectedly tonight.

Given we are going away early tomorrow morning I had to pack first so didn’t get to the game until early in the second half, by which time we were 0-1 down and our much changed side was on the way out of the FA Trophy.

However a brilliant substitution brought on Steve Hughes for probably the most incredible 5 minutes of his career, getting the equaliser and two bizarre yellow cards meaning obviously a red.  That got everyone going and we were delighted to see Lee O’Leary head the winner with 5 minutes left.  This led to some interesting conversations with the referee’s assessor and the Chairman of the Middlesex FA after the game!

Good to see the run continuing, good to see a team without Carl, Marcus, Chaps, Chris O’Leary and Ryan Ashe winning and good to see most of those guys supporting the team from the sidelines.  There seems a good spirit around the place and perhaps not surprisingly lots of talk and lots of excitement about Saturday.   Let’s hope it’s not a let down and we can play to our potential and our supporters can support to their potential.

My plea from the States is please be in the FA Cup when I return.

Playing in 3 FA competitions this week

This is a pivotal week.  As well as the Leighton replay and the Hampton game on Saturday our youth side also have their FA Youth Cup 3rd qualifying round match this week away at Leyton.  This takes place on Wednesday night so if you can get along to support them that will be great.

The draw for the 1st Round has already been made and despite the league 1&2 sides coming in we have yet another tough away game against non league opposition in either Dunstable or Corby who play tomorrow.  But one thing at a time and let’s hope for another good win at Leyton.

A chance to get the momentum going

England’s run to the Rugby World Cup final proved once again how a successful sports team can create a buzz around the place.  England’s cricketers did the same in the marvellous Ashes series in 2005.

I know it is hardly comparable but in our own little world of non league football we’ve already seen this season how the performance of our football team can create momentum and give everyone a spring in their step.

The performances at Folkestone and Staines gave an insight into the level that this team can achieve.  The results of the last week have also indicated that we can mix it with apparently good teams.  Three cleans sheets in a week particularly pleasing.

The week ahead will be one of the biggest.  This time next week we could be out of both FA competitions, full of regret and what might have been.  Or else we could be looking forward to both the next round of the Trophy and more importantly the First Round of the FA Cup.  Some suggest that up to 300 Wealdstone fans will be at Hampton – perhaps it will be only a mere 150 (though still more I reckon than our FA Trophy replay attendance).  Hopefully they will make  lots of noise and  have plenty to sing about.

Frustratingly I am away this week in the US so will miss both the Leighton replay and the Hampton game.  Text updates are better than we had before but are still so frustrating.

From a financial perspective it will be fantastic to progress, from a personal perspective it will be wonderful to progress and if we do, then the momentum, the buzz that I mentioned at the start of this post, will hopefully be happening at Wealdstone Football Club.

Enjoyed last night

What was particularly good about last night I thought was winning a game that in recent times we would not have done.  I thought we handled Hornchurch’s pressure and physical presence very well.  They are a decent enough side who will finish in the right half of the table.

Possibly we may have had some luck with the ‘handball’ incident on the goal line just before half time but boy do we deserve some – particularly after the Ramsgate experience.  It shows that what comes around…

Ryan Ashe took both his goals expertly and that is two man of the match performances in a row – can he keep it going?  Also two successive clean sheets and two wins in home games.  What a difference a week makes.

Nice  to see some old friends, however fleetingly.  Much like many of the Bishop’s Stortford fans, the Hornchurch fans seem to be very magnanimous is defeat.  Check out their forum.  Is this an outbreak of mutual respect in the non league game?

Also good news last night that James Gray came through 90 minutes in the reserves and with Peter  Dean’s miracle recovery earning him a place on the bench last night whisper it quietly but we’ve almost a full squad to choose from.

10,000 visits

Earlier this morning we passed 10,000 hits on this blog.

I don’t know how useful or interesting people find it although I do get some good comments from people (including some of our older supporters) who seem  to find it interesting.

Please keep reading and feel free to comment.

Another milestone was after 5 1/2 months in the job we finally won a home league match last night – although to be fair it is only the 6th home game of the season.

What a day

Wow, it feels a bit different to 7 days ago.

Obviously a fantastic result but just as importantly for me was the excellent performance throughout the team. 14 players who gave everything and not a bad performer among them. And how good was it to see Carl Martin fit into the defence as if he had been playing there all season, to see Ben Alexander holding the ball up so well and to see Steve Hughes take Ben’s ball and score in the last minute of the first half.

By the way who says you can’t get atmosphere at Northwood? And three 1-0 wins – three clean sheets – to get this far.

So onto the 4th qualifying round for only the second time in Gordon’s time with the Club. The Blue Square Premier teams join in now. Look at the strength of the league. Who do you fancy? Personally I’d like to win the next game so a home game please.

And as I write this England have just reached the Rugby World Cup Final. What a day!

Jermaine signs on

I see today that Jermaine has today signed a new three year contract with Leeds. Good for him. His form this season deserves it. I wonder what he is worth now?

We are in contact with Leeds, clarifying some of the terms of our deal. We are happy with how that is going at the moment.

FA Youth Cup success tonight

Delighted to hear we’ve won 1-0 at Thamesmead Town tonight in the FA Youth Cup.  This means we will play either AFC Wimbledon or Leyton in the next round.

Ashley Fashanu scored the goal just before halftime.

Well done to Stevie Beeks and the boy, this was never going to be an easy game against a side who won at Harrow Borough in the last round (6-3).

With two youth team players being involved in last week’s League Cup game it all augurs well.

Ask the Chairman

Back from 3 days away from home and catching up on all the news. As always the real ‘fun’ piece of reading is the WFC Forum and mailing list.

Guys, I understand the frustrations – I really do. We may disagree about what we should do about it but I do realise that having a successful football team is the bedrock on which everything else we do is based.

That is why we tried to invest (a little) more in players this season. So far it clearly hasn’t produced the league results we wanted but I have complete belief that this will change.

Are the injuries an excuse? My belief is take Lampard, Drogba and Terry out of the Chelsea team and they will suffer. As a result for me it is their injuries and resultant absences that are at the heart of why they are where they are in the league – despite all their resources – rather than anything to do with Mourinho, Abramovich or Grant. Take our big players out with our resources then it is no surprise we are not where we would have hoped to be. You judge whether this is an excuse or simply a fact.

Some say the manager should go – I disagree. The views we read on the internet tend to be those of a few. Since taking this job on I have spoken to a greater range of supporters than ever before, many I have not previously spoken to. I know that some think there should be a change but most don’t. I do respect other opinions, that is what football is all about, but I don’t agree.

I am surprised we keep coming back to a demand to reiterate the Club’s financial situation. The time this is made public is at AGMs – our last one was in the summer, not that long ago. Nothing material has changed from that.
Having said that I am (as advertised) in favour of being open.

Therefore, to ‘celebrate’ six months as Chairman (on 1 November) I will arrange an ‘Ask the Chairman’ session after a forthcoming home game, where I will be happy to set out our strategy, explain why we have acted as we have and discuss any aspect of what is happening at the Club.

So when will this happen? Unfortunately not before November. I will do this after a game – either 5.15/5.30 on a Saturday or after a midweek game when we can go in the back bar at Northwood with anyone who wants to come. Looking at the fixtures, and given I am away for a couple of Saturday’s later this month, I guess we will try to do this possibly after the Hendon game (10 November). We’ll confirm as soon as we can.

Until then – as always – I’m happy to discuss things with people in person, on the phone or by email. Of course feel free to leave a comment on this blog.

I remain confident, passionate and determined that we will have a future and part of that future is founded on a team that achieves this season. All I can ask is that supporters keep the faith. I understand why crowds are down, I appreciate the frustrations of several years of struggle however I’m not panicking, I’m not giving up, I believe – I ask you to do the same.