There is some honour in football

Amidst all the furore surrounding the Thierry Henry goal for France this week I am pleased to report that at Ryman Premier League level honour and fair play seems alive and well.

I received a call yesterday from the Cray Wanderers chairman Gary Hillman, following our game on Tuesday night.

He wanted to apologise to me / Wealdstone for the actions of their player Scott Kinch that led to Rob Fitzgerald retaliating and seeing red.  He told me that his Board had held a meeting the previous night and Kinch’s action had clearly been seen by some of their officials.  Gary told me that they were taking appropriate action against Kinch as his behaviour was deemed unacceptable and he offered to speak on Rob’s behalf if we were planning to appeal against the sending off.  I thanked him and replied that it seems pretty clear that Rob did raise his hands, and whatever the provocation it is highly unlikely we could get his red card reversed.

So I want to thank Gary for making the call.  It was a tempestous match at times on Tuesday and the sending offs were an unfortunate incident which was clearly unnecessary. Especially considering the manner in which Cray lost the match many people might not have made the same call.

One interesting question is what action would we take if one of our players was sent off for spitting at an opponent?  I hope we would do the right thing but let’s hope we never have to find out.

 

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Welcome to meetings city

I was asked on Saturday why I hadn’t posted anything after the Rotherham game.  I had planned to – but I also felt that enough other people were making it clear what the day meant whether through the press, the Forum, verbally or by email.  I didn’t think there was much to add.  What I will say, probably as a final word for now, is that it was one of the great Wealdstone days that we’ve had over the years, one which makes you proud and hungry for more.

But Rotherham is also now in the past. We have to think about Farnborough this coming Saturday and eventually getting back into the routine of league matches.  Roll on tomorrow night, especially after the frustrating events of our trip to Margate.

I had to leave Mill Hill late on Saturday and driving, a little faster than I should have done in the conditions, arrived at Hartsdown Park at 3.00 on the dot.  As I pulled up at the Stadium my daughter called me and said she had read on the Forum that the game had been postponed.  I said I didn’t know what was happening but there were people leaving the ground.  Of course, it was a referee’s worst nightmare in that conditions appeared to change almost immediately, but I will go with the views of all our players and management who felt the ref had made the right call, frustrating as it was for everyone.

So life goes on.  Our short term challenge as a Board, remains as it always is to progress the situation the Club is in, to see how we can channel more resources to the playing front while seeking to improve things off the field.

Things have been going well and we are stepping up our efforts in a number of areas.  But there is (as always) much to do.  I listed out all the people I need to sit down with over the coming weeks and stopped at 14 – so plenty of work (and talking) ahead. That process never stops and I am meeting with both Gordon and Leo later today.

We will hold the Club AGM early in the New Year and at that time will seek to share the vision of where the Club is heading and the outcome of all of these meetings.  Until then let’s get back to winning league matches.

The big day arrives

The benefit of playing on a Sunday means we are the last team from the Ryman League still in the Cup and we will be in the draw – though hopefully we will still be in the game at that time.

Good luck and best wishes have been coming in from many quarters. Alan Boon at Staines spoke to Paul and wished us all the best.  Staines have enjoyed a fine result today at Shrewbury so it can happen.

Much work has been going on by so many to make tomorrow possible.  Thanks to everyone who has helped.

Let’s hope it’s a great day tomorrow, and as for the result, well it is the FA Cup.

Now we can focus on Sunday

The run continues in anything but convincing style, but credit Harrow who are clearly are more determined outfit than what we saw last year.  But we are through and can look forward to an intriguing game at Zamaretto League leaders Farnborough Town in a few weeks time.  I also think we should credit our own players.  This was a tricky tie which we could have easily lost given the excitement of the FA Cup but without playing at our best we’ve come through, won a bit more prize money and march on.

But with the FA Trophy now put to one side us we can now fully focus on this weekend’s big events.  Ticket sales are going very well.  We will make an announcement later today but we reckon there are less than 600 tickets remaining.  The advice is buy in advance.

The FA Cup really is something else.  The press interest is like nothing else and with Nick Dugard we have been compiling a list of expected press and media people which so far is up to about 30 people including television, radio and newspapers.  There will be more yet.

There is also plenty of press activity going on with the national press including the Times, the Guardian and the Daily Star so far, local radio (in South Yorkshire as well as London) and local newspapers.  We are trying to get a number of the players involved and will try and get as many links published on our website or through the WFC Forum.

One really interesting media request has come from an independent website promoting the FA Cup called www.therealfacup.co.uk, a site written by fans that has taken off and is now getting thousands of hits per week and has featured on the Guardian’s ‘Favourite Things’.  We were delighted to hear that Wealdstone v Rotherham won a vote as the tie for them to feature in the 1st round and as the people behind this site are ‘real fans’ they have even bought tickets for Sunday rather than request any complimentaries. We expect previews of the game including an interview with one of our players to go up on Friday.

We are also trying to arrange for BBC London to film at training on Thursday night so keep an eye out on the Friday and Saturday local tv news.  ITV sport will also be very much in evidence as one of at least 3 camera crews on Sunday.

Masses of work going on – please keep an eye on the website and forum re ticket news and any other important news like car parking.

Let’s all enjoy the next few days, we’ve waited long enough.

 

New Reserve Team secretary

I want to welcome Alison Moran as our new Reserve Team Secretary, and at the same time thank Lesley Jones for all her work over the past 18 months.

The Secretary’s job at a Club is a largely thankless task involving considerable arranging, organisation and administration.  Fingers does a priceless job for the Club but few people really see how much is involved.

Given all the (understandable) focus on how the first team does, we see great value in a strong, professional and well organised Reserve team and I am sure Alison has a lot of value to add here.  Alison is hardly new to the Club.  She has run the Wealdstone arm of our juniors for many years and displayed great tenacity and drive in making that part of the Club what it is today.  Welcome aboard Alison.

The press begin to take an interest

There is nothing like the FA Cup to wake the national press up to a football club.  Aylesbury certainly enjoyed their moment of fame before the last round and now we are getting a hint of what can happen when you enjoy Cup success.

Fortunately, and with Nick Dugard’s lead, we are generally able to deal with press enquiries as they come in, whether through Nick, Gordon or myself. We try and be proactive wherever possible and I think Nick’s excellent efforts mean we often get more than our fair share of press, though it is fair to say that most weeks are not like this – and who knows what will happen if we progress further in the Cup.  A nice problem to have.

Today’s Non League Paper has a nice feature on our shy and retiring vice captain Lee Chappell and earlier today I was interviewed by Non League 24 for a feature they will be doing on the Club in their forthcoming new magazine – we will be in either issue 1 or issue 2 a month later.  Tomorrow night I am doing the Non League show on Radio London (from 9-10) and then on Tuesday we believe the Times may be coming down to Ruislip – presumably now for the Trophy replay.  Perhaps we might even expect a decent preview in the local press too.

Next weekend we already know of two camera crews including one from ITV and that Radio London and Radio Sheffield will be providing commentary.  Then there are the requests from photographers and others to be at the game.

With a week still to go I would imagine there will be plenty more calls and enquiries.  Watch this space.

 

When 5 becomes 8

OK let’s get this bit over – we should have been out of sight on first half chances alone yet credit Harrow for their second half performance, and especially Rocky Baptiste who clearly has ‘still got it’, however whether we were not clinical enough we had the game won at 90 minutes and crucially we had the game won on 95 minutes – we just didn’t have it won on 98.

I don’t normally come on here and have a go at referees, but perhaps the crucial incident in yesterdays game was when the original ref Mr Mackay had to go off with an injury at half time.  His replacement, Mr Kitchen, etched his name in Wealdstone – Harrow Borough folklore for all the wrong reasons – at least from a Wealdstone perspective.

Let’s get this straight, 5 minutes of injury time was signalled and announced (and even this I thought a little harsh to be honest).  When Rocky ballooned a free kick over the bar as the clock ticked past 95 minutes I expected the whistle to blow as Sean took the goal kick. But on he played and on.  When the final whistle went we had played over 8 minutes of stoppage time.  My recollection of the additional 5 minutes was that there was no real stoppages, no substitutions, bookings or anything.  So why signal 5 minutes and play 8.  Certainly it was not a game that deserved 8 minutes injury time.

To my mind the referee has materially affected this game, and could have cost us £3,000.  I have no complaints about how he handled the rest of the second half but getting timekeeping right should be the easiest thing.  I’d love to know what he was thinking after the 95th minute – was his watch running?

However cheated we feel there is nothing we can do about it.  We must look ahead and deal with the game on Tuesday (and hopefully win)  before focusing on Sunday. Hopefully there will be another ‘big’ Grosvenor Vale crowd and one that is noisy and gets behind the home team.

Let’s hope the ref remembers to look at his watch this time (unless we are one goal behind).