We’ve achieved a lot …

…but it’s just the start.

I am very proud of what we have achieved over the last 12 months, on and off the field.  Sometimes it is easy to forget that as we get caught up in the next issue.

However, no complacency.  There is still much to do and 2009 will be every bit as busy as the year just ending.

The major things to sort in 2009 include the Club’s long term future be that at Prince Edward or Ruislip and also to try and get us on a sounder long term financial footing.  Hopefully we will keep progressing on the pitch and see crowds and interest continue to rise.

So a very happy new year to all readers and let’s hope that we have the same feeling of achievement in 12 months time as we do tonight.

Sad news

We have been informed of the passing of Brian Goymer, Wealdstone goalkeeper in the Amateur Cup Final success in 1966.

Brian was also a Barnet legend and played in their Amateur Cup Final team in 1959 when they lost to Crook Town.

I hope there will be more about Brian and his career with the Stones in the next home programme, but we send our condolences and wishes to the family.

All credit to the manager

A day on and still the satisfied glow of a day when almost everything seemed to go right.

It’s only right after such a result to pay tribute to the manager and the players.  Gordon said to me before the game that he was going to be “controversial”, playing James Gray up front and starting Ashey rather than David Hicks, despite the latter’s recent good form.  With four goals between them you’d have to say Gordon got it spot on.

It is rare to watch a game and feel confident all the way through that you are going to win comfortably, even more so on a big local ‘derby’ like yesterday.  We have enjoyed some excellent wins in recent games against the likes of Staines, Maidstone and  Tonbridge (all three clubs currently in the play-off zone) yet in every one of those games the players have made us sweat somewhat before securing the three points.  No disrespect to Harrow, and maybe the loss of Robin Shroot affected them, but I think we would all be far happier (and age less quickly) to win in yesterday’s fashion more often.

It wasn’t just the game that went well.  The crowd was excellent pushing up towards 800 and I hope that many who came yesterday return on 10 January when we play Billericay.  With the forthcoming entrance promotions we will be doing it’ll be great to see attendances regularly starting with a 4 and maybe even pushing 500.

I think the quality of the football as well as everything we have achieved so far at Ruislip deserves the support we are getting and we will work hard to keep improving our crowds.

The mayoral visit was also successful, and it was nice to be able to present Graeme Montgomery with a keepsake for his time with the Club as he moves on to the pro game, as well as being able to say thank you to West One for their support this season.

So onwards and upwards, 2009 and first up Boreham Wood on Saturday.  More about that in due course, but for now let’s enjoy a happy Christmas – and thank the Ryman League for the decision not to play on Boxing Day so we could focus on a day we will all remember for a long time.

Another frustrating day

I’m a bit fed up with opposition officials telling me how we didn’t deserve to lose.

A dodgy penalty, possible offside on their 2nd equaliser and a weak referee only too pleased to help out a floundering goalkeeper when disallowing a ‘goal’ for us.  But just as against Billericay, and against Canvey and against Ramsgate we have lost games we should have got something out of to late goals.  Very frustrating.

As for the crowd today, good support for the boys at times but a disappointment when some of our own fans complain to me about the language that others of our own supporters use.

I’m not going to get all self righteous and say people shouldn’t swear, we all do it, it is an emotional and passionate game – particularly one like we saw today and there were supporters from both sides whose language was over the top and at times unacceptable.  I cannot condone this.

When we are away from home however it is the responsibility of the home team to steward or police properly and it is very disappointing when stewards (or first team ‘officials’) provoke or inflame potentially volatile situations.

That said we will once again have to look at some of our upcoming home matches and consider whether we need to employ some professional stewards or police – with all that we are trying to do in building new support with the local community we need to be seen to be setting the right example.

There are some revealing comments on our fans forum this evening, particularly one from someone styling themselves simply as ‘Sutton’. I have said before, and I believe strongly, that senior club officers should not go on message boards, regardless of whether they can hide behind their cloak of anonymity.  I cannot prove who ‘Sutton’ is but I will say that I only spoke to one person at Sutton about what happened off the field, in the boardroom after the match and interestingly he also mentioned the game at Grosvenor Vale earlier in the season.  I am not going to name names  you work it out.

Anyway a week until the big local derby.  Until then, enjoy the festive period and see you next Saturday.

The supporters club look a good bet

Just back from the racenight which took place tonight at the Club.  As always a good evening with Ryan Ashe in particular cleaning up with a succession of winning bets.

Well done to the Supporter’s Club, and in particular Dave and Jez Albert and Hillsy for organising a good evening and new committee members Adam Edwards, Mark Barton and Mark Randall for getting the new club shop ready.  It is just a shame that we couldn’t see it open during the afternoon.

It is really good to see the Supporters Club getting their act together at present, and together with their new committee members I hope we are going to see this renaissance continue to gather pace.  I’ve asked them to be in a position to donate a large sum at the beginning of next season so they will need to stay active to make that a reality.

The incessant rain today meant that we lost the opportunity to go ahead with a number of things that were planned, including free entry for kids, an initiative that backed up our recent tie up with Ruislip High School.

Dennis was all set to get more raffle books out and sold for our Grand New Year’s Draw, some hardy souls were due to work on the drainage ditch and as mentioned before the Supporters Club were opening their new shop.  Fingers crossed the next home league game goes ahead against Harrow – but there is a lot of water to be drained.

Most of all we would have hoped for another three points to continue our recent progress.  The players, together with some of the reserves, were able to play on an all weather pitch at Hillingdon this afternoon but I know they were also frustrated about not getting the chance to play a proper game.  It also means Hicksy and James Gray remain suspended.

Anyway a good night, and also good to see a Wealdstone Juniors Christmas party going on in the main hall meaning that whilst it might still have been raining outside, inside the Social Club was busy and (hopefully) taking plenty of money behind the bar.

Really exciting news…potentially

I believe that tomorrow’s Harrow Observer will be running a story about Graham Montgomery being on the verge of a move to the football league – to Dagenham & Redbridge FC.

As yet nothing has been finalised though after a little negotiation we have accepted Dagenham’s offer.  We expect everything to proceed smoothly over the coming days and we will announce the move officially WHEN IT IS CONFIRMED.

However, this looks like being fantastic news for Graham, and for the Club and we are delighted for Graham who has taken his chance this season and earned himself this exciting opportunity in the pro game.

The likelihood is that Graham will stay with us for the rest of this month as no move can go through with a football league club until the transfer window opens in January, so the Harrow game may be his last for us.

But as I said, whatever is said in the Observer nothing is finalised yet – and the Club website will carry the news when it is confirmed.

Expanding the board

I wanted to post briefly on Andrew Lane’s recent appointment as a director of the football club.

Andrew is the first person I have appointed to the board and I have no doubts that he will make an important impact, especially based on what the impressive contribution I have seen so far, which includes helping to add more structure to what Dennis is doing, working with Barry on next year’s budget as well his informed and useful input on a variety of other subjects.

Andrew, who runs the London offices of an international bank, has been a supporter for 35 years and if people don’t know instantly who he is I’m sure they will recognise him when they see him.  I hope more people will get to know him now anyway.  He is also taking on the company secretary role from Trevor Davies, and I want to thank Trevor for his contribution and advice – which I know will continue.

It is important we identify and make use of all the talents we have at the club.  We will always find a role for someone with something to offer, and that includes on the board of directors, which is certainly not a closed shop and where I hope others will play an important part in the coming months.  If the club is to prosper we need all the help we can get.