Be careful what you wish for

I can’t help comment on the Manchester City Sven getting the sack story.

I listen to all the commentators, pundits and so called experts – and even the fans including Noel Gallagher – saying that Sven going is ludicrous.  They all miss the point.

Every big club that opens its doors and welcomes in the stranger with the big bag of money becomes simply at the whim of the owner.  They become a bauble or a plaything, and whether it is Chelsea, Liverpool or now Manchester City as we see increasingly often, normal rules don’t apply.  Let’s face it they are only too happy for Abramovich or Shinawatra or whoever to put their tens (or even hundreds) of millions in.

Of course this can affect non league clubs too where owners can change their minds and therefore the course of the club’s progress quickly – Truro City not going full time is perhaps one example of this.

At Wealdstone we have always said that should we be lucky enough to attract any significant investors we will want to safeguard the Club’s future as much as possible.  Ultimately though one day we might be in a situation where someone puts enough money in and will expect to take control or even to take over the Club.  When that happens we too will be at the whim of the all powerful owner.

A great day

Not really had a chance to write anything since the weekend.

A late decision to do the Walk, but a rewarding one.  It was great to see so many people, of all ages, doing the 12 miles.  The sore feet and (so I found out later) sunburn was a small if slightly painful price to pay to be with so many Stones die hards all doing their best to give us a future.  Well done again to Jez and Hillsy for all their efforts.

The game itself was most enjoyable and what a sweet strike from Nick Salapatas to win the game.  Check out his website.  Nick, with his orange boots is not short on confidence.  When he first came to Stanmore the coaches were more excited about his potential than anyone previously and he made his first team debut at Molesey.  Recently he has been getting some first team experience at Hillingdon, and if he trains well and listens to the coaches he has a bright future – he is certainly one to look forward to.

Plenty of time to look back on the season in the coming days.  54 points and 13th isn’t so bad – I know we will feel we might have done better – but nevertheless it is our best season for some time.

Work doesn’t slow down though.  Pre-season friendlies are being arranged (more about them soon), we will already be writing to the players about next season and of course preparations continue apace at Ruislip.

Before anything else though the play-offs tomorrow and the weekend, and then the Supporters Club dinner and Field of Dreams event.  I got a call from Matteo Tonna tonight, he is coming to the dinner at the weekend and is hoping to visit Ruislip on Sunday.  It will be good to see him along with the other 230 plus people who are expected.

So a busy time – don’t forget to keep reading the blog through the summer there will be plenty going on.

Change at Ruislip

We are now beginning to get to grips with running Ruislip and change is beginning to happen.

Make no mistake there is much work to do, the whole site including the Social Club has been losing much money for so long time now so without change we are simply pouring money away.

The success of Ruislip is vital, not only to the health and future potential of the Club but also the other many users of the facility, including the local community.

One of the most encouraging moves recently is that we now have Wealdstone people in charge on a day to day basis.  Ray Kemp has recently taken up an Operations Manager role and he is being assisted by Tony Short, and in his own inimitable style Ray will be leaving no stone unturned to turn Ruislip around.

There is no doubt that there is plenty of potential in Ruislip.  I hope many Wealdstone supporters will continue to come down during the close season and use the facilities, whether just for a drink or maybe for a party or other type of function.

We are thrilled Ray and Tony have agreed to get so involved and with the assistance of others, such as the Management Committee chaired by Leo Morris I am very optimistic that we will see the changes required to turn Ruislip into a successful and (crucially) successful home.

Season drawing to a close

More of a look back another time but I for one can’t believe this season is fast coming to an end – and yet I’m looking forward to a bit of a rest (from the football if not from the multitude of club matters).

Tough game to finish tomorrow with Hendon desperate for the win to confirm their place in the play-offs.  Don’t be surprised if we give 2-3 of the younger players a bit of first team experience.  Unlikely that Chris O’Leary, Andy Howell or Stephen Hughes will be available tomorrow – all injured.  I also understand that Lee O’Leary will be missing from the Hendon side suspended.

A number of supporters will be doing a sponsored walk tomorrow and good luck to them.  The weather is set fair and once again I salute so many of our supporters who have responded to the challenge of trying to help our Club progress.

Particular credit to Jez Albert who, despite all his nonsense is doing a fab job, not only involved with organising the Walk but also the Supporter’s Club Anniversary Dinner on Sunday week (assuming the Walk doesn’t finish him off).

See you at Hendon for one last match of this memorable season.

Non League papers round up

Interesting articles in the Non League papers today.

I did an interview with journalist Paul Collins the other day for Non League Today, which focused on a look back at the season.  Towards the end of the conversation we talked about Jermaine and I declined to confirm the sell on clause that was in place.  So interesting to see he has framed the whole article around Jermaine and guessed at a 10% sell on.  Just goes to prove you can never be sure what angle the journalist will take.

Also interesting to read Russell Grant’s rather bizarre column in the paper.  When the Ruislip story broke I had a long chat with Russell about what was going on, at PEPF as well as with Ruislip.  Interesting he hasn’t come back to me before penning his latest column where he asks readers to contact him directly.

Also noticed in The Non-League Paper that John Maggs the Horsham boss has warned his club not to “do a Wealdstone” and end up sharing indefinitely, as they have announced that they are sharing at Worthing next season.  Can’t argue with that, no one should ever be in a position where they move out of their ground with nowhere to go.  Horsham have plenty to do in the coming months as the Ryman League have said they must have planning permission, funding and a business plan in place before an extension to their 1 year deal with Worthing is granted.   Sage words John, but actions are very much louder than words where these deals are concerned.

End of season presentation night 18 May

I want to confirm that the presentation night will be Sunday 18 May (not 11th) and it will take place at Ruislip.

Last year we had a really good night at Broadfields, hopefully this will be even better especially given it will be at our own place.

Tickets will be £5 (to help cover the catering costs) and I hope we see plenty there to relax and enjoy looking back at what has been a very eventful year.

Safe but some perspective

Firstly, phew!  We are safe for another year. Never doubted it for a minute!

Secondly I thought I might mention two comments from two Gordons yesterday.  Mr McKay said to me before the game that if you had offered him 51 points before the season started he would have been very happy with that.  Mr Bartlett pointed out that, playing Hendon next week, we are only 14 points off the play-off positions.

That got me looking back at the struggles of recent seasons, last year we got 48 points and were 21 points off the play-offs, the year before 44 points and a massive 31 off the play-offs and the year before that we stayed up on goals scored with a total of 47 points, 24 away from the play-offs.

What this bit of nurdyness shows is we have acheived more points this season than in the previous four and we have considerably narrowed the gap between us and the play-off places as well.

One further nurdy point is that 51 points would have us currently 14th in the Southern Premier 9 points from relegation, 9th in the Northern Premier 8 points from relegation and 14th in the Conference South 15 points from the drop zone.

Actually there will be many Ryman Premier clubs who will look at this season and say what might have been.  I’ve no doubt that with the squad we put together we might have done much better.  Whatever people think, and however they tire of hearing it, money is all important and I think we’ve done pretty well with the resources available.  This has been a good season, the cup runs particularly stand out and plenty of good performances especially before Christmas.

As much as we would like to kick on in terms of budget and our on field expectations we can only do this if the money is available.  With the money we need to spend at Ruislip off the field it is unlikely there will be any difference to the budget next year – assuming we can maintain the current levels – that is something we are all working towards but noone should be any illusions that there is lots more money available.

Of course we all want to see a winning team playing attractive football.  But then so does Roman Abramovich and even with his billions he can’t seem to deliver that to his satisfaction.

I am excited about the potential of our club, so many things happening which will move the Club in the way we need it to be.  Ruislip, our youth development, more people taking on roles and getting involved, a good group of players, and plenty of other things as well.  I hope you can all join me in sharing this excitement and helping deliver what we all want to achieve.

Edgware Town on TV

I was speaking to Paul Gregory earlier in the week.

As is often the case at Edgware they seem to have it tough and despite many challenges they have done really well on the field this season, bolstered no doubt by Fergus Moore going there to play for his great mate Steve Newing.

Many will know the terribly sad news about Edgware’s co-manager Del Deanus (if not read it here).  There is a big fund raising match being planned for Saturday 10 May, which includes Paul Merson amongst many other stars as well as our own Ryan Ashe, Peter Dean and Dean Papali.  I certainly intend to be there and I hope many other Stones will be too.

Paul was telling me that Edgware’s playing squad have donated all the money they had saved this season for their end of season tour to Del’s fund – a great gesture.

Edgware are to lose the funding of Galliard Homes at the end of this season so once again face an uncertain future.  They are being featured on BBC TV next Friday (details here) and I know they are hoping this leads to some offers of help.  We all have our problems but we do wish Edgware all the best.

Last game at Northwood

3 years ago we put all the troubles we were having at Edgware behind us and moved in at Chestnut Avenue Northwood.  Tomorrow we play the final match of our three year stay.

I should say Northwood have been excellent hosts.  We thank them for all their help and wish them all the best for the future.  In common with almost every other club locally they have it tough at present but under Ian Barry’s guidance they have stabilised and hopefully will start moving forward.

Our stay at Northwood hasn’t always been easy coinciding as it has with three years of struggle on the field.  Tomorrow’s game is one which means we might remember the time at Northwood well, or very darkly!

When we moved to Northwood we didn’t expect to play there for the full three years.  Not surprisingly perhaps PEPF still hasn’t happened and obviously we have made other plans for next year.

It brings to an end 17 years groundsharing at 4 different local grounds, Watford, Yeading, Edgware and Northwood.  That we remain alive and still attempting to progress is a miracle.

I hope we don’t require a miracle after tomorrows game.

Some dates for your diaries

It wouldn’t be Wealdstone if it wasn’t tense at this time of season.  As I write Carshalton are losing 3-0 at Ashford (which will be a massive result for us) but ultimately as we all know if we don’t win on Saturday the likelihood is we will still go down.

Regardless we need to plan ahead.  Next week for the Hendon game we have the sponsored walk – I wonder how many will be there.  Then on bank holiday weekend we have the Supporters Club 50th Anniversary Dinner at the Watford Hilton.  Over 200 people are expected and we hope that not only will it be another great evening but we will raise substantial funds.

On Monday 5 May we have the Field of Dreams event that Roger has been organising and this will be a great chance to see and chat to plenty of former heroes, some playing, some watching.

With all this going on (and Mark Lloyd’s youth tournament) it has been difficult to fit in our end of season presentation night.  This will take place either Sunday 11 or Sunday 18 May – more likely the latter date – at Ruislip and if the weather is kind we will have a barbeque and hopefully a relaxing and enjoyable evening so stick it in your diary.