Can we move to Dartford?

Interesting article on NonLeagueDaily about Dartford FC.

Isn’t it refreshing to read about a council who get it, who realise the benefits that a successful non league club can have in the area.  imagine if we had this type of support from Harrow Council over Prince Edward.

Now I am sure Harrow have other priorities, budget restraints etc etc but these are the Dartford Council Leader’s own words “Our aim was to boost pride in the town, rescue our local team and open up new opportunities for young people to build character and discipline in superb sporting surroundings. We have exceeded our wildest expectations and the stadium has helped improve the town in so many ways.”

As good as rescuing the local club is the other benefits clearly make all the expenditure worthwhile.  I think Hillingdon Council understand, perhaps it is not too late for Harrow as well.

Ruislip becomes meetings city

A busy time at Ruislip this morning.  With the sun out another work party under Don’s guidance continued the great work.

Peter and I met with Gordon and Leo to look at the rest of this season, at the squad, the budget and the options we have.  It’s important to have regular and constructive discussions between the Board and the management team.  After all we are all part of the same team and want the same end result.  But it is not a cosy group – we need to ask the tough questions and have some good, frank discussions.  I remain excited about the reminder of the season and am sure we will not finish where we are in the league table now.

Following that we met with Peter Clayton and Ron Dunning from the Middlesex FA for one of our regular catch ups.  We are keen to do more with the County and Ruislip may well give us the opportunity to do that.

Then Peter and I split up.  He met with representatives from the Ruislip Manor Youth Club with whom we continue to have constructive discussions about a future relationship.  I met with my predecessor Nick Symmons about a meeting we have tomorrow afternoon with Stanmore College to discuss how we take our Football Scholarship forward.

With all these meetings (not to mention the all the games at present) it is no wonder we get the pressure we do get from our better halves.

Renewed optimism

I suppose like any fan of any club, come matchday and you start believing again.  Just about to set off for Ramsgate, full of optimism that today is the day when we turn the season around.  One new signing Andy Howell, a highly rated defender from QPR, with more in the pipeline.

Whatever happens today some big games next week – but one thing at a time and off to the seaside now believing the best.

A very bad night

A shocking one actually

I always said I would try to be honest and I am not going to shirk that now.  What a night!

Actually I missed the first goal – noone told me to avoid Richmond and having left Harrow at 5.50 I didn’t get to Kingsmeadow after some of the worst traffic I can remember until 20 minutes into the game.   And you have to wonder which was worse, the traffic or the football?

Second half tonight was simply the worst football I have seen this season – and perhaps for many seasons.  Of course there are lots of excuses with players out etc etc but ultimately it was one of those embarrassing nights.  Difficult to pick anything good out really, Dean Papali finally scoring maybe – but otherwise?

It was men against boys.  They were simply better than us in every aspect of the game.  The final whistle couldn’t come soon enough.

We knew that getting anything from Saturday and tonight was a bonus – but having competed well against Chelmsford no one was expecting to get thumped like tonight.

I have said I believe in this squad – and I do and I also don’t think we will go down – however there are a number of players who need to take a look at themselves at present and ask why they are not playing to the levels they were a couple of months ago.

Enough said for now.

Opinions, opinions

Always interesting to talk to people, read different comments and listen to what others think is going on at the Club.

You learn to respect other points of view – for example I know that some supporters think we are doomed (even though we are still in February) whilst others think that we should be making changes to the management or elsewhere, and best of all some think the we are not that interested about the football side of things because we are only focused on Ruislip.

I disagree 100% with all of these views – though I still respect those that can argue these contrary perspectives in a well thought through or constructive manner.

Football at every level (in fact probably all professional sport) has always been a great game for opinions. We all have them, and at our club there are plenty.  What we think of the different players, the manager, the board, the supporters, the future and so it goes on – whilst we have tried to provide more information than ever before this year we still realise that everyone still has their own opinion.

Ultimately those of us charged with making decisions will continue to do so with a view to making the right decision for the club at the right time whatever that may be.  This means needing to see both the short term and the long term view, it means being prepared to take tough decisions and also being prepared to sometimes recognise that you cannot control every situation as you might like.

For what it’s worth, I was disappointed to lose yesterday although in saying that I saw losing Ryan Ashe at half time as key as he pulls so many strings in midfield for us at present.  Losing the likes of Ashey, Carl and dare I say it Lee O’Leary is a blow and means we are a little short in certain places.  We are doing everything we possibly can to bolster the squad but the trick is to find players who can come in and add quality at a price we can afford.  This is easier said than done.

Regardless of who might come in though, I have said many times this season that I believe in this group of players and I believe in them now.  Crucially they still believe in themselves.  Whatever happens on Tuesday at Wimbledon, and then next Saturday at Ramsgate – 2 very tough games – we will still have plenty to play for and for those with short memories we are (believe it or not) in a better position than this time last year.

Regardless of the opinions I hope one thing we can agree on is that when the match starts as supporters we all have a duty to get behind the manager and players – starting this Tuesday night.

Tough times

Next two games couldn’t be harder, Chelmsford at home tomorrow and AFC Dons away on Tuesday night – 1st and 2nd in the league.  Ramsgate away next Saturday isn’t much easier.

We have several key players doubtful through illnesses and injuries.  We are trying desperately to bring 1-2 in but at present this is  proving easier said than done.  Anyone with any suggestions – please let us know.

I still believe in the players we have, I believed in them before New Year when we were 10th and heading up the league and I believe in them now.  Three points last week was a start but there is plenty of work to do.  We really need everyone to get behind the team tomorrow, who knows 3 points v Chelmsford, stranger things have happened.

Sun shining brightly

A beautiful weekend, positively springlike.

A gorgeous day yesterday.  Sitting outside eating lunch overlooking beautiful Sussex countryside was an experience to savour (in February!) and three goals in six minutes wrapping up a crucial three points made for a satisfying day.  Credit to all the guys – but I was impressed with both our 18 years olds in from Watford.  Dale and Liam – welcome.

This morning I went down to Ruislip and saw the work going on.  Don seems to have everyone in order with work going on all over the place on a variety of tasks.  So much to do but a plan is forming and it is very exciting.

During the last week Reg Ware, a supporter (and former player) who moved to Florida 40+ years ago has been touch wanting to know how he can help.  So many people are doing the same.  Please keep it going everyone – every bit of help is much appreciated.

Also during the week I spoke to Terry Springer, the man behind Ruislip Manor surviving.  Today he met with Peter and the other RMSSC investors.  Good luck to him – it will be interesting to see what happens.

Finally it should be a busy night at the Manor tomorrow night.  Our reserves are playing Hillingdon Borough in the semi final of the Middlesex Premier Cup, the Wealdstone Supporters Club have a committee meeting and we also have a board meeting.  Will there be space?  See you there.

So much goodwill

I want to thank all those who are responding to Ruislip so positively.

I am amazed by the amount of time, effort and skills people are bringing to Grosvenor Vale. Keep it going lads and  hopefully another good turnout tomorrow. I’d like to come along though I may be more of a hazard than a help.

But thanks also to those who may be unable to help at Ruislip but are helping in other ways. I’ve mentioned some of these donations, such as from Andrew Lane on here previously, but to several of our more ‘senior’ supporters a big thank you for the kind donations you have made.

I hope it will all be worth it in the end.

What to say after another poor performance?

I promised honesty on this blog and I’m certainly not going to duck that now. We got what we deserved from today’s game – nothing.

Here we are again. In a relegation position and with a tough struggle ahead. This run since Boxing Day has come from nowhere and it’s not immediately apparent to see how we are going to turn it around. That doesn’t mean we aren’t working night and day on it and that we are in anyway distracted by Ruislip or any other situation.

So what do you do? Wholesale changes to the playing squad? More difficult this year because we’ve put more players on contract, invested our confidence in them with the desire for a settled squad. This was working – currently it isn’t.

Do we go out and bring new players in – we might like to bring in 1-2. But as always they need to be the right players at the right money. An example of the problem is that Staines yesterday signed Richard Butler from St Albans and he made his debut today against us. We enquired about him but the transfer fee and his wages were way out of our league – and I know that at least one other Ryman Premier side were prepared to offer him more. We can only keep looking, stacking up the phone calls and trying to find some quality and some inspiration.

A few, perhaps on the WFC Forum or elsewhere will no doubt call for the head of the manager. Even if we made such a change we still have to deal with the issues I’ve outlined above. Personally I believed in the decisions GB made to bring in this group of players at the start of the season – now Gordon, Leo and Gilly need to use all their managerial and coaching wisdom and make something happen – as they have done the last three years.
So for now we need the same players who did so well until Boxing Day, to roll their sleeves up, take responsibility for where we are and make something happen. Let’s not forget two wins can turn everything around. This also means the supporters not giving up and sticking with it – as I have always said we are all in this together.

Every team has a bad run during the season and we need to end ours quickly. There are still 17 league games left and every one of them begins to increase in importance.

Like most who were there today I am down tonight but Tuesday against Maidstone is a big game and I urge everyone to get behind the team and let’s all try and make a difference and end this run.