Should I read or ignore

Someone told me when I took the Chairman’s role that I should ignore the fans forum.

I quite enjoy reading it.  I don’t contribute (that’s why I have the blog) but there are some good ideas and some less than good ideas! I do struggle though with the anonymity aspect, it is very easy to criticise when no one knows who you are.

I said when I took the role on that I wanted the club to communicate well as a matter of principle.  Recently I haven’t been able to comment so much on the blog, partly because of non football pressures and partly because having written this blog for 18 months, over 200 posts and 43,000 views it can be difficult to keep coming back and posting.  Do you want it to continue?  Usually I get good feedback from many supporters so please let me know if you want me to keep this going and I will try.

I am keen that we do a ‘meet the manager/chairman’ evening during October.  Those not happy with GB can then have the opportunity to ask him (and me) the difficult questions about where we are and what our plans are.  Look out for the date.

We continue to look to strengthen the squad where we can – but there is no point bringing players in who will not improve what we have.  We have enquired about so many strikers recently and the continue to draw a blank.  We asked about a player coming out of the Blue Square Premier who ended up signing for an Essex club in the division below us but were told he had been offered over 4 times what our best paid player is on.  Crazy – if it is true.

Hopefully some good news in the coming days but no promises – watch this space or the club website.

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Should the credit crunch worry us?

The world seems full of bad news right now.  Bank’s crashing, huge falls on the stock market and property prices tumbling.  It all suggests a financial and political crisis the like of which we haven’t seen in decades (see Robert Peston’s article here).

Now all of this might be a bit divorced from the little insular world of non league football that we inhabit – but I wonder whether we are immune or not.

I think most people know (and are pretty fed up with hearing) that the Club is running out of money.  That means we need to find new and major sources of income, quickly.  We are looking hard – but just at the time we need it most we could be forgiven for assuming that on both an individual and commercial basis people are going to be less inclined to donate cash or sponsor the Club.

Certainly Dennis Byatt, our commercial manager has found it very difficult over several weeks to bring in new income, particularly from the type of businesses who in recent years have had budgets for local sponsorship – property companies and car dealerships to name two.

This is no reason to give up but it must be a concern.  Many people are tightening their belt and any thoughts of getting involved in a new venture with a small football club may well be put on the back burner.

Many football clubs have flourished on the back of the generosity of 1-2 individuals and it will not surprise me to see an increasing number of clubs starting to trim their budgets and cut their cloth accordingly.

We continue to have a number of avenues to go down and we will explore every opportunity we can – but it is not getting any easier out there.

What is happening at Hendon?

At our match at Hendon last Saturday we were told that it might have been their last game at Claremont Road.  But it seems the key word here is ‘might’.  They also told us how the Supporters Trust was due to officially take over the running of the club, which seems like really positive news, though they were not able to confirm that they would definitely be moving to Wembley.

I try and listen to the BBC Radio Non League show now you can get it as a podcast.  It has become an interesting programme – some of the time – lots of in jokes though.  I found their coverage of the Hendon story very interesting.  Caroline Barker kept referring to a source “unconnected with the Club” who was confirming that they were leaving Claremont Road.  They had no one on from the Club to comment – I found all this very strange that without a named source they could put so much store in some anonymous person’s comment.  Hendon’s Greensnet website has no news and the last post on the Hendon Trust website appears to be early August – so something doesn’t seem to add up.

Perhaps our game will be the last at Claremont Road.  It wasn’t like the last match at Lower Mead for emotion.  There was though a real sense of a club struggling – we have offered them any support we can, after all we know the uncertainties they may be about to face.

Whatever happens, it is a great shame to see Claremont Road go the way of the White Lion ground.  Barnet Council and Harrow Council do not appear to value local football and this makes life far more difficult for local Clubs than it might otherwise do.

Sorry for the lack of posts

Job is busy, football club is busy and family demands remain as busy as ever – all means less time for posting on here.  There are a couple of things I want to post so hopefully I can get them done tonight.

By the way latest from the Youth Cup game at Cockfosters tonight is that we have just gone 2-1 down with less than 10 minutes to go so we may be heading out of another cup tonight.  Fingers crossed for a late revival.

Talking about youth, last night Gordon, Mark Lloyd and myself met with the new Wealdstone juniors – the old Ruislip Manor juniors who have now joined us.  We ironed out a few issues and I was heartened to hear how much they want to be part of the club, how much they are enjoying the new kit and how much the kids are enjoying coming to our games – and we should see more as the junior season starts anytime now.

Gutted

Just back from Bedford, and as the title says I’m gutted.

And you know it is not the money, it is not the potential of a match against AFC Wimbledon – it is simply losing a football match, one in which we have played our opposition off the park – for the second game running – and yet can’t score a decisive goal.

Losing on penalties obviously hurts.  That said, I am proud of our players tonight, they played their hearts out and they will feel as bad as any supporter tonight.  It is important that they react in the right way and take it out on Hendon on Saturday.

I realised a long time ago no team has a divine right to win any football match.  Whether you are better or not.  We do not budget for cup success – it is a bonus – albeit a bonus you are desperately keen to get.

We all know what we need, and where we are lacking.  It is easy to say bring a striker in, but it is another thing bringing someone in who will improve us on a wage we can afford.  Those strikers that are available are either available for silly money or are no better than what we have. We won’t give up though.

I’m gutted, I’m sure we all are – but there is always another day in football, and we have to make sure that the next day is ours.

Not many spaces left to fill

Tracey Jones has been doing a great job filling up the matchball donor and kit sponsor grid.  Looking at it earlier I can report there are the only two games left without a matchball donor – the Margate and Heybridge games in March.  At £70 it’s a snip so please see Tracey, or any club official on Saturday, or post a comment on the blog if you would like to donate the matchball for one of these games.

Several of the games have been sponsored as well.  We are grateful to Dominic Whyley who is sponsoring Saturday’s FA Cup game.  Dom sponsored several of the games during last season’s cup run so we hope that will be a good omen.

Similarly most of the kit grid spaces have been taken.  The only players in the squad not sponsored are Kieron Forbes, Callum Martin, Graham Montgomery (impressed playing for Yeovil reserves the other night), Mark Boyce who is coming back from injury, Gary Burrell, John Sonuga, Derek Quaye and Luke Woods.

Mention of Callum, and the sad news that no sooner is he back but he is signed off for another three months.  Both Carl and Callum played so much football when they were youth players that their bodies suffered.  Last year a visit to the chiropracter put Carl’s back right and touch wood he should be less susceptible to injuries now.  Callum needed similar treatment followed by 3 months rest so will we hope that after this break he will find his fitness and we can finally begin to see the player we all hope is there.

Someone must still want to sponsor his kit though?

First FA competition success

First FA cup success of the season last night with a great result, winning 4-1 away against Welling United in the Preliminary Round of the FA Youth Cup.

Away against Cockfosters in the next round in a couple of weeks.

Let’s hope this is a good omen for Saturday.

Wealdstone on the radio

I was interviewed by Gordon Baxter, a DJ on Hayes FM this afternoon.

Hayes FM broadcast on 91.8FM.  They are a community FM radio station covering a surprisingly vast area from Harrow to Greenford to Northolt to Perivale to Uxbridge to Heathrow to Staines.

On Saturdays they feature local football clubs taking reports from games involving Hillingdon Borough, Hayes & Yeading, AFC Hayes and Uxbridge and they have are starting to take reports from our games, home and away.

Tony Waller and Nick Dugard have been involved so far (anyone else who would like to get involved please let me know) and the plan is that the radio will call someone at the game for an up to date report.  so if you can’t make a game and live in an area that gets coverage tune in.

And tomorrow afternoon you may hear the interview Gordon did with me around the club coming to Ruislip, the importance of youth and community, the Open Day we have on Sunday and some thoughts on the season so far.

It is great that we’ve been accepted by so many in the Ruislip/Hillingdon community so quickly – but plenty more to do.

Fancy a round?

Wealdstone’s first ever golf day (well first one in my memory) will take place on Friday 26 September at Stockley Park Golf Club.  Cost will be £50 per person to include full English breakfast, 18 holes of golf and a meal afterwards.  Currently timescales are for a 10:30 breakfast call with tee offs starting at 11:30.

This is a fundraiser for the Club and we are hoping to attract local businesses to the event, but we will be delighted to welcome as many supporters as possible who are able to play.  We are also hoping to have a number of surprise ‘guests’ including former Wealdstone heroes.  More details of that when  we have them.

For more information please see Dennis Byatt.

Open day this Sunday

If you are free this Sunday (7 September) between 12-3 do come down to Grosvenor Vale where we are holding an open day.

Primarily aimed our neighbours and other local residents we are opening up the social club and will be looking forward to talking to local people to introduce the club to them and hopefully entice them to a game.

The Wealdstone Juniors are also holding a similar event so the whole club will be on show.  Lets hope the weather is favourable and we get a good turnout.  Anyone who is free and wants to help out – we would be delighted to see you.