Player news

First of all someone leaving.  Yesterday we agreed to transfer Peter Dean to Bishop’s Stortford.  This is a good opportunity for Peter at a higher level and we were satisfied with the terms agreed with Stortford. Peter did particularly well for us in the first 2-3 months of last year and we thank him for all his efforts for us and wish him all the best for the future.

Onto someone not leaving…yet.  Following the Watford game, Aidy Boothroyd told Gordon how impressed he was with Graeme Montgomery and he asked to have Graeme for training with Watford for a few days, which he is doing now.  This is a great opportunity for Graeme, we know that he is full of ability and let’s hope these few days go well – at least for his benefit.

Now someone staying.  Delighted that Alan Massey is the latest player to sign a contract and commit himself to the Club.  I have noticed how many people have picked Alan out as being the player they are delighted to see this year and with Carl and James Gray I think we have some excellent options at centre back.

Finally it seems I am no longer the only person connected with Wealdstone FC to have his own blog.  Nick Salapatas who made such an impressive entrance at Hendon on the last day of last season has his own excellent blog here and unlike me he seems to have mastered video as well.  Nick is another player we are hoping for big things from this year – and now we can read about what he thinks about it as well.

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Anyone for an operation?

Post Wednesday night one of the learnings is we will need to sharpen up our act on areas like stewarding – whether that be car parking, not allowing alcohol into the ground or making sure that views are unobstructed and certain areas do not get over-crowded.  (Remember Wednesday was as much a practice game for us as it was for the players).

We are looking for people to come forward to take on stewards roles, and if they do commit to this I guarantee that we will provide proper training – on the flip side we will also provide these individuals with passes to see the games  – though they may miss some parts of each game as their duties will come first.  Anyone interested?  If not we will need to pay to bring people in – because this is something we must get right.

Even more important and for me the number one position we need to fill at present is what I am calling an ‘Operations Manager’.  This is someone who has responsibility for ensuring each game runs smoothly, that people know what their roles are and what is expected of them and who coordinates across the club on all aspects be it stewarding, catering or police right down to dealing with minor matters such as press passes.  This would also take a lot of pressure off Fingers who has more than enough to do every game.

A year ago the most important roles to fill within the club were Treasurer and Commercial manager.  We have sorted both of those and I think this is our next priority.  I would welcome anyone who is interested to get in touch with me (or any other board member) and I am happy to discuss what might be involved.

Home sweet home

So much to say but little time – and there hasn’t been any time since Wednesday so apologies for the lack of postings – more later today hopefully.

Just wanted to say how proud I was on Wednesday, sure there were plenty of issues that were surfaced and that we need to put right, but it was great wondering around the ground and seeing the smiles and contentment on the faces of so many long suffering Stones followers.

This was the result of many years work – and there are many years hard work to go but it is important to enjoy the moment – not that the likes of Fingers, Peter and Pauline Worby and many others could enjoy it given how hard they were working on the night.

Together with several other club officials I will be missing this afternoon’s match due to family commitments but I am sure it will be another enjoyable afternoon where we will learn much about running our new stadium.

Spreading the word

The pictures of the transformation at Ruislip that have been posted on the Ryman Forum look fantastic.

The word is clearly spreading.  Sky have told us they want to come down on Wednesday night, and we have had requests from a variety of newspapers.  Incidentally Tim Edwards the new Harrow Observer Sports Editor starts on Wednesday and will be at the game.

I got a call from Caroline at the BBC London Non League show earlier and may be on the radio at 9.30 with the opportunity to describe what has happened at Ruislip over the summer and plug the game.  Details of the show are here.  Incidentally it looks like you can podcast the non league show now so if you miss it tonight you should be able to get it through itunes.

A tough start

I guess we always think it is a tough start but fixtures against Tonbridge, Billericay, Sutton, Dartford and Hornchurch – not to mention Ashford and Ramsgate in the first 8 games feels tough.

And i should include the 8th team in those first few matches, Boreham Wood who will be looking to make a quick start to improve on last seasons position.

So we will have our work cut out but you have to play these teams some time and perhaps we will make Ruislip a fortress – something we have lacked at home over the previous few years.

My experience is that the league never quite works as you expect it to so perhaps we are playing several of the teams who will struggle this season!

You can find all the fixtures here, click on the tables tab, then the Premier Division option and then on Wealdstone.

A new brand for a new era

Even those who can’t get down to Ruislip are giving their time for the club – in all sorts of ways.

Tim Parks has been working on a new ‘look and feel’ for the club.  We are changing all our club stationery to have one consistent more modern, more lively look than we have had in recent years.  And it looks great.  Tim has done a really good, creative job and our thanks to him and Martin Lacey for their great work.

You will see the fruits of their labours on things like the new season programme covers, new club posters, club headed paper and even business cards for staff.  It is a big step forward at just the right time and will help us continue to make ourselves more professional and (hopefully) more appealing externally.

The hard work and sweat continues

I was down at the ground this morning for a meeting with Gordon and saw the few hardy souls laying down the concrete for the new dugout areas.

As always a bunch of stars giving up their time generously.  Mickey Kane has put the details of what when on today here and as he says if you can get down either Saturday or Monday that would be a huge help.  As we get close to the start of the football it would be good if we could have the sort of numbers we got back in February.

For those who gave a few hours then and not since please come down, the weather is nicer and the place is something to be proud of.

Understanding what we have

Yesterday a group of us spent the day at Ruislip thinking about the marketing of the Ruislip site and the football club and how the two entities interact.

It is not often you get the chance to take a step back and spend some quality time thinking about some of the big issues such as who are we, who are we targeting and crucially what are we selling.  Often much of the benefit of the day comes from the discussion as much as the actions agreed at the end.

Those present included Ray Kemp, Peter and Pauline Worby, Clare Fuller, Sue who is bringing her dance school to Ruislip, Tracey and Dennis Byatt.  Amongst the things we agreed was the desire to run an open day for local residents at the site, probably in early September.  We are hoping that Leo Morris and the Management Committee will take responsibility for this day.

Of course for supporters of WFC, Grosvenor Vale (or ‘The Vale’ as many are calling it) has one primary purpose, but the social club is a £250k+ business of which the football part is one small contributor and we must not forget the many other important challenges that the social club has to turn its performance around and become profitable.  That means usage of the function hall, it means appealing to clubs and societies and, where possible, it means regular usage and support by Wealdstone people as often as possible.

And with the plans in place to not only continue to improve the football stadium, but the social club as well it will continue to turn into a place we can all be proud of.

Cup draws announced

Always an exciting time when the fixtures get published – even if it is just for FA Competitions today, but the dreams begin.

I just got home and opened an email with all the details from Ryman League Secretary Bruce Badcock with all the FA draws.  If you haven’t seen them yet we are at home to Bedford Town in the FA Cup 1st qualifying on 13 September. Bedford have been relegated for the past two years but got a reprieve at the end of last season and will start the news season in the Southern Premier League.

In the FA Trophy we are also at home to Croydon Athletic, who play in Ryman Division One South where they finished 13th last season.  That game will be played on 18 October.

In the FA Youth Cup we have to travel to Welling United in the preliminary round (w/c 8 September) and the winners of that game will be away at Cockfosters (w/c 22 September).  Should we come through those two away games we have a home tie in the 2nd Qualifying Round against either Thamesmead Town (who we narrowly beat last year), Northwood or Redbridge.  That game is due week commencing 6 October.

Full details of all these draws can be found by clicking here.