Entertaining tomorrow

Although the news about Rick will cast something of a shadow over the day tomorrow we will still welcome Canvey Island to what is always a hard fought encounter.

We have a busy day though both before and after the game. Before the game we are providing lunch to a good number of sponsors and vice-presidents. A chance to say thank you and to welcome them more into the club. We have a couple of large parties involved in sponsoring the game tomorrow as well and in the evening Jon Taffel is belatedly celebrating his half century.

Could be a busy day, let’s hope the football doesn’t disappoint.

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Sad news

Very sad news this evening as we learnt of the passing of Ricky Murphy, a guy who has coached our goalkeepers and managed our reserve team in recent times.

Ricky left the Club for a while and was on the verge of returning last year when his illness took over. He was a lovely guy, always with time for a conversation and clearly popular with whoever he came into contact with.

Rick, who was only in his early 40s, leaves a young family. We will mark this news appropriately at tomorrow’s game and he will be very sadly missed.

Another club guilty of cheating

Welling earlier in the season, now St Albans. The statement on the FA’s website is pretty clear and St Albans have been deducted 10 points, leaving them 11 points adrift from safety.

I don’t know whether these punishments are right or not or whether Club’s found guilty should be summarily relegated. The FA statement says the following “In summing up, the Chairman of the Regulatory Commission had serious concerns over the financial irregularities within the Club during the 2008-09 season. Such irregularities enabled the Club to have an unfair sporting advantage over others within the League which is simply unacceptable”.

Really makes me mad.

Why I might consider emigrating

If there is one thing that makes me mad it is the way so many people think about top level sport in our country.

A couple of events over the past 48 put this in sharp focus to me. Firstly Andy Murray losing in the final of the Australian tennis. I noticed on Twitter from an early point in the match as things started to go wrong for Murray just how quick people started to criticize, abuse and dismiss him.

While I am not that bothered about tennis and think something serious must be wrong that in a mass participation sport that generates many millions of pounds every year at Wimbledon we only manage to have one decent world class player every generation, to my mind Murray is the best British tennis player I have seen. It is hardly Murray’s fault to play in an era that contains two of the greatest players ever in Federer and Nadal, and a world number 3 Djokovic who would be top of the rankings in most other times. To be ranked the fourth best tennis player in the world (I know he is currently ranked 5th) is pretty impressive in my eyes. But whether it is a lack of a major title (especially Wimbledon), failure to be the world number one or else his supposedly surly manner (as if everyone has to be a media darling from an early age) our press and many others seem determined to do Murray down at every opportunity. And if he once said he supported Scotland or anyone who were playing England then so what!

An Australian colleague of mine sent me some clippings from an Aussie paper that took great delight in showing how our papers had turned on Murray as a failure (I wouldn’t mind winning $10 million in prize money – quite a failure) and wondered how much pressure we will put on our athletes in the run up to 2012.

So that’s tennis but what about the national game and the madness of the last day of the transfer window.

Has football finally gone mad? many people wondered as Torres went for £50 million with 70% of that reinvested in Andy Carroll (one England cap and a few Premier League appearances/goals behind him), who is now the most expensive English player ever. That question was in fact asked by Rio Ferdinand, that self-proclaimed man of the people, via twitter. I wonder if things are any more mad than when Manchester United paid Leeds £30 million for him eight whole years ago. Perhaps with inflation built in Torres is a snip.

Interestingly as one person said, had Manchester City bought those two players for that amount people would have been very indignant but maybe Russians are easier to stomach than Arabs and nothing Dalglish can do can be wrong.

Frankly I don’t care and continue to pity those who buy into this Premier League make believe world. It must be the most successful alternate reality show ever invented. No doubt tomorrow’s headlines will be screaming about Rooney scoring two goals for the first time since who knows when. Who cares!!!

Not that it is comparable – because frankly it is a different sport – but seeing Windsor & Eton going bust seems to have hardly registered. Whatever their demise can be blamed upon and no doubt paying out more money to players than they could afford would have been at the root, it is sad news nonetheless which no one at our level of the game wishes to see.

Forgive me this rant, and I haven’t even started on Steve Evans and Crawley but sport in this country, which can be so exciting at times, certainly has the power to depress and disillusion.

Reflections on turning fortunes

It’s been a while, but with so many things happening at the Club and outside, the blog has had to take a backseat for a little while, so apologies for the lack of saying anything.

So time for a couple of posts this evening while I’ve got a few minutes.

Firstly some comment about on the field activities. After the slow start to the New Year with three defeats we’ve bounced back with three straight wins. Barring a real collapse we look to have established a good gap to the bottom 5 who look a little stranded now, and if we can continue playing as well as we did against Concord on Saturday we should keep moving up the table.

Saturday was one of those days when everything went right. I am sure plenty of people woke up and decided that a trip to Canvey Island on a cold day to a game, which on paper looked very tough, was a trip too many. Well those who did travel got full value. Sometimes it is easy to say the opposition were poor and we had the breaks, but I felt that from 20 minutes on we played excellently and were good value for our big win.

Of course Richard Jolly grabbed the headlines. Jolls proved he is the goalscorer we all know he is and the way he took each of his four goals was calmness personified. We knew that bringing him in would give everyone a buzz. Whether he stays longer than a month we don’t know at the moment, and maybe it is unlikely given the Sutton manager’s comments today, but whatever the future holds it is good to have him back around for now.

On the other hand we were disappointed to see Greg leave. He has been a popular figure at the Club but to my mind hasn’t ever got going this season and perhaps a change of scenery will be what he needs. He has certainly started well at Hendon and we wish him well.

Some have questioned whether bringing in the various loan signings is a good move or not. We took a decision to do something because we needed something to spark us up after three straight league defeats and 5 games without a goal. I know Gordon is thinking longer term too and will use the time while the loan players are with us to assess what we need for the rest of the season (and longer term).

For now though, upwards and onwards and to Maidstone on Saturday.