Congratulations…

…to Dover Athletic for winning the Ryman League in March.  I presume they will be presented with the trophy at our game their in April so I guess there will be a bumper crowd there.  Regardless of the size of budgets or anything else, to win a title (which has never really been in doubt) is a terrific achievement in senior football.

…to Jermaine for two more great goals taking him past 30 this season

…and (for us most importantly) to Phil Ralston, John Moran, Leslie and all our reserve players who retained the Middlesex Premier Cup last Wednesday.  I only arrived at Ashford on Wednesday to see the second half but as has been well documented we saw two further strikes to crown a 4-0 win against Staines Lammas – with Dan Lake’s strike right out of the top drawer.  Steve has taken some great pictures which you can see here.

A great response

I’ve been delighted by the early response to our 100:400 appeal.

In just 4 days our supporters have already pledged 25% of the £40,000 total.  Several people have told me that the “talk in the bar” is how we will hit the target easily- but to do that we need to see people turn talk into pledges and pledges into cash.  So please let us know.

There will be a page shortly on the club’s website where people can donate directly but otherwise please tell me, Jeremy Albert or Nick Dugard at a game or email or call us.  Let’s keep this thing going.

The team did their bit yesterday too.  I went into the changing room before the game and explained why we were doing this push for cash – that behind it all we believe they are the team that will deliver success to our club.   Three more points yesterday means we can start to dream but we have six tough games left so no getting carried away just yet.

To reinforce that the playing staff want this to be successful we are going to hold a special ‘Meet the Manager’ evening on Thursday 9 April in the Aquarium Bar.  This was at Gordon’s prompting as he wants to get across to supporters how far we’ve come and how far he feels we can go.  Some of the players will also come down to the club after training so we want this to be a rare opportunity for supporters to talk directly to the players and management – as I have always said we are all in this together and this type of event shows that.  Please put the date in your diary.

Radio Northwick Park were at the game yesterday as well and interviewed Gordon and myself.  So interest is rising, another good crowd, with an encouraging response to the England ticket offer meant a very good afternoon for all.

Let’s hope for more progress this week – on all fronts.

100:400 early update

I won’t do this all the time – but already I have received 4 pledges this morning.  Thanks guys.

It’s a great start – it’s only 9.30.

Remember we will gratefully accept any amount higher or lower than £400 – it all goes direct to the playing budget next season – and if we can receive more than the target then better still.

You can donate through a lump sum, regular weekly contributions or even through new teamdraw memberships – which of course gives you an opportunity to win the money back!

The big announcement

It’s not great news. The press release is here.

…and I hope it won’t come as a big shock because I have tried telling everyone this all season – we are running out of money – fast.

We’ve had a great season this year, we’ve more than established ourselves at our new home, we have made a positive impact on the community, on the Council, on the Ryman League, on the County FA and so on.  Attendances are up, more people than ever before are involved with the Club at all levels and we have enjoyed the best football we’ve seen for several years. We’ve tried to establish a commercial operation for the first time in years but this has clearly suffered given the external economic situation and we are now working hard to improve the way we can be successful commercially (more about that another time).

But this day was always going to arrive and now it is here.  Andrew Lane and I met with Gordon last night after the Reserves great Cup Final win and discussed what this all means and our forecast budget impact. We also told Gordon that we hope and expect the budget figure we are starting from will rise significantly – but we can only budget on facts not expectations and we will not put the club in a position where it cannot pay what it owes.

100:400 is our response.  Of course, some will (rightly) say “here we go back to the supporters”.  But let’s get this straight.  Sure we are asking people to contribute additional funds but many are already doing that because they wanted Gordon to have access to a striker (Davis Haule) and we hope these people will continue.

Ultimately we are a fans club and whilst we strive to get Ruislip turned around and into profit, while we work hard to try and be successful commercially we have to decide what we all want.  Do we want to give Gordon a chance to carry on with a group of players who we believe can be very successful for us or do we just accept the situation and play kids next year.

I do not expect any individual to contribute any more than they can afford or wish to.  I will not criticise any supporter who does not want to be part of this scheme because we do keep asking – but the continued progression of the Club is only due to our supporters/to us who keep stepping up to the plate when required.

Now is one of those times – if you can help please do.

I’ll be writing plenty more on this in the coming days and weeks and together with Nick Dugard and through the local papers we will be keeping everyone informed of our progress.  If you want to chat about this just get in touch.

The sun shone

Thoroughly enjoyed yesterdays game…well most of it though distinctly unimpressed by the referee and his contribution.

Staines will probably go up (though beware Tonbridge with their recent signings) and with the goalpower in their team I thought we showed great spirit, passion and no little ability to match them and in fact I thought we were the better team in the second half when we had the 10 men.

Great support as well, perhaps the first time in some months since we have seen support making that noise – please keep it up, yesterday demonstrated that the players do respond.  And it was good of Bob Sherwood to introduce himself to me as well.  Hopefully future games with Staines will be played as yesterday in the right competitive spirit.

This is a big week coming up.  Games on Tuesday and Wednesday (Middlesex Premier Cup Final) and we will be making a big announcement at the end of the week.

Martin’s latest

Here is the latest news on our two star twin brothers.

Carl first.

Carl played for Aldershot reserves during the week in a 2-2 draw with Gillingham reserves.  interestingly both Marvin Morgan and Scott Donnelly were in the same team, Marvin scoring.  Aldershot Manager Gary Waddock was impressed with Carl and wants him back for pre-season training.  We know that Carl’s ambition is to be a professional footballer, we also know that he is more than good enough to achieve this so this is an exciting opportunity for him.  Watch this space…

What about Callum?

Well, the fleeting glimpses we have seen of Callum this season have, I think, persuaded many that if he is fit he will also be a major asset for us.  The bad news is that his groin problem means he is unlikely to play again this season.  The good news is Callum appears keen to play and our job over the next few months is to help him regain full fitness for the start of next season.  That means we need to see what medical and other assistance he needs to sort out his problems – let’s remember that because of injuries he hadn’t played for 3-4 years prior to this season so these problems have not been surprising – and we also need to get him to commit to the Club.

So the plan is to have a fully fit Callum Martin integrated into the team delivering for us next season.

In the meantime, it won’t be a surprise that we would be delighted if anyone was able to help financially with the cost of Callum’s recuperation.  If you have been excited with what you have seen this season and would consider investing in this player have a word with me tomorrow or over the next few days.

Well done WFCSC…and Barry Fry

A great evening last night.

The hall looked great, with over 120 people comfortably seated, the organisation was excellent – those Supporter’s Club guys are getting used to running these events.  The catering was good and well managed and Rob Nothman, who we are delighted to see has become a regular supporter this year, was as always totally professional in the way he MC’d the event.

Barry Fry was “different class”.  He shuffles about complaining of a dodgy knee, talks in a soft gravelly voice and told me he was recently diagnosed with diabetes.  However, whilst he was excellent company during the meal once he started speaking the passion and energy flooded out and the way he described his career was brilliantly delivered.

So many people worthy of a mention.  The Albert brothers, ably supported by the rest of the WFCSC committee, as last year, proving they are able to deliver a successful, well attended and enjoyable dinner.  It takes considerable work and worry but the results show the value of the effort they put in.

I wanted to mention Graham Smith for an extraordinary gesture that certainly made Barry Fry’s evening when Graham presented him with a copy of the programme of the 1960 Schoolboys international, England v Scotland, that Barry played in.

Paul Rumens has become Mr Memorobilia and the auction last night was very successful, with a Mark Barton inspired Ladbrokes table amongst those bidding.  A big thanks also to Les Aggio for not only donating back a picture of Pele he had won after the ‘Heads and Tails’ game but also then buying it in the subsequent auction.  Roger Slater tells me that Les actually then gave the picture to his brother Ray, both of whom were there last night – and both played under Barry Fry at Barnet in 1978/79.  Thanks also to Andrew Lane who donated two tickets with hospitality for a forthcoming Chelsea match which was bought by Dennis Byatt’s brother.

A really enjoyable night, and a success all round.  Hopefully the majority of people there will return for the Graham Taylor dinner on 23 April.

A small outlay makes a big difference

Many of you will know we are doing a push on new teamdraw memberships.

Teamdraw is the club lottery, administrated by Nick Dugard, where we typically pay £4.33 per month via standing order (in other words £1 a week) for an entry into the draw – with a number of prizes including a £100 top prize and a £50 second prize every month.

Since we kicked this push off a few days ago 14 new Teamdraw memberships have been taken out – which equates to nearly £750 worth of income per year.

So as you can see it doesn’t take much to make a big difference and given there must be quite a number of Wealdstone supporters without a teamdraw membership or many others (including myself) who have just kept it at the £1 a week for many years there is clearly an opportunity to make a big difference with a small outlay over the coming weeks.

See Nick or Dennis to get a form or click on the link above.

Thanks for your support.