How we got caught up in Poppygate

Did we save the day for England? Well not quite but the way we’ve things have worked out with the England fans team has been great and we have seen once again the importance of developing relationships.

The saga over the past couple of days over whether FIFA would allow England (and the other home countries) to play wearing a poppy is the type of story made for the Daily Mail and the other tabloids and sure enough they’ve risen to the occasion. A happy by product of this has been the coverage we’ve received, as we host the England Supporters in their match against their Spanish counterparts.

We’ve got to know Garford Beck since we’ve been at Ruislip. One of his roles in the game is as manager/organiser of the England fans team. Garford brought the team to Grosvenor Vale for a recent game against the Welsh and as they had a good experience wanted to bring the team back for the games against Spain and Sweden in the coming days.

We’re very happy to help. Anything which brings people onto the site is normally a good thing and the bar take is most welcome too. Following the Welsh game , the two forthcoming matches were both allocated to one of the pitches run by Wealdstone Juniors at the top of the site.

However, as the poppy story broke, the Mail and others were able to report how the England Supporters will be wearing a specially designed kit with the poppy as an integral part of it. This really caught the imagination. Sky are now due to come down and the BBC are also showing interest. High ranking officials from the Spanish Embassy are coming, and we also expect some senior figures from the Football Association. So Saturday’s game is suddenly big news. It will be now played on the main pitch as well and we are keen that not only the players and organisers but all our guests enjoy their experience of Grosvenor Vale and want to come again.

From a practical point of view we might need some help too. Paul Rumens, Peter and Pauline Worby, Fingers and Leo Morris will all be making sure everything is where it needs to be but we might need some others to help too and would welcome any Wealdstone fan who can get along on Saturday to help – we will get any specific message about help required out on the website or Forum.

And these relationships are important. Notwithstanding fees received for use of the site and money taken over the bar, I have no doubt whatsoever that the more good relationships we have with people in the game, the more this can only benefit Wealdstone FC in the long term, whether through future commercial opportunities or just through added interest in the Club.

Stop press!  FIFA have relented and are allowing England to wear the poppy so maybe the press interest in coming on Saturday will fade but let’s hope for some coverage that makes us proud of Grosvenor Vale and Wealdstone FC.

 

Good to progress

Whatever my comments earlier winning tonight was important.

The prize money, while not life changing, is always welcome but I thought it was good to see a solid, battling performance highlighted by two classy goals and that gives us plenty to be pleased about tonight.

Margate had the first 15 minutes but they didn’t really cause too many problems. Other than that I thought we created a lot more, and looked like getting through them on several occasions, especially in the second half. Both goals were similar, good passing movements releasing Lee Chappell on the left hand side to put excellent balls in, first for Jolls and then Alex Dyer to finish expertly.

It was tense towards the end but we never do anything easily – but we were always doing enough – and we now head to Banbury in three weeks time.

Scott Fitzgerald and James Hammond both picked up slight hamstring injuries but we will see how they are for Saturday’s tough trip to league leaders Billericay.

We had a good Trophy run last year highlighted by the great trip to Brackley and two epic matches against Newport County. Let’s hope for more of the same in a few weeks time at Banbury.

The pain of missing games

Saturday was a very difficult day for me.

I had a family commitment (as I have every week for the next 6 weeks) on Saturday morning which meant I couldn’t leave Mill Hill until after 12.30. As I drove onto the M25 at South Mimms with my daughter in the car, I wondered whether it was worth driving 2 hours to Margate, to get there just before kick off with the knowledge that I would have to leave fairly quickly after the game. I considered that it wouldn’t take much traffic to make me miss kick off – or worse. Yet I drove on as I really wanted to be at this game. What with a week away recently and 1-2 other things recently, other than Aveley I have missed a more games than I would like recently.

After a great journey round the M25 we ground to a halt a couple of miles before the Thurrock turn off. It took ages to get to the motorway exit and looking at the hardly moving traffic ahead heading to the river crossing I felt that even getting to the game for half time was probably unlikely so, with great regret aborted.

These days of course we are lucky in that we can follow so much of a game through Twitter. And for two hours on Saturday afternoon we did just that. What you learn is however painful and tense the game itself is it is far worse following on Twitter. Not only do you get regular updates, especially from the Wealdstone FC supporters feed, and also from Mickey Kane, as well as more people every week, James Smith and Sudhir Rawal two others who have joined in recently. They all have that bit of opinion and colour which helps you suffer that bit more – especially when we are ‘on the rack’. When Margate won their 6 corners in a row towards the end of the game we were waiting for the inevitable. Fortunately it didn’t happen and we live to fight another day.

Following a football team has always been a lesson in knowing how to deal with pain but when it turns out that not being there is even more painful than being there you know what you have to do (get off Twitter!).

 

Is tonight’s game the season?

Big game tonight. Some might say that if we lose then we will have nothing much left to play for this season.

Well that is plainly wrong. Firstly we desperately want to win tonight and travel to Banbury in the next round. Much like the Margate tie, Banbury is a tie which both Clubs (or all three as it stands) will think they can progress from.

But whether or not we are in the Trophy after tonight, or by the end of November, we have only played 1/3 of the season so far and are only 4 points off the play-offs (11 points away from the drop zone). What the Ryman League season tells me is there is no outstanding team and everyone is capable of taking points off anyone else. Sounds familiar? seems to happen every year. People said beating Tooting was just beating a bad team but they then beat Lowestoft in their next game.  Similarly we beat an apparently struggling Hastings comfortably but they have now won their last 3 games.

Any team who puts a good run together will quickly shoot up the table. There is no reason why that can’t be us.

And yet, there is a feeling of under achievement so far this season. We know that in too many games we haven’t delivered what we expect. We know there are too many players not playing as consistently as we would all like. I am convinced there is better to come.

Of course the FA Cup was a huge let down – for everyone – and I think it set a tone for the following weeks which we’ve struggled to get away from.

We then had that 5 match run against leading teams, Hornchurch, Cray, Hendon, Lowestoft and Lewes. We were disappointed to only take 2 points from those 5 games, when with a bit more luck and more clinical finishing we might have got draws at Lewes and Cray, taken something from the Hendon game and beaten Lowestoft.  3 straight wins and a courageous draw on Saturday were good come backs and obviously we must keep it going tonight.

So even though from a cup perspective we will only be left in the Middlesex Senior Cup if we lose tonight, the season will be far from over. That said, let’s be clear, victory is what is required tonight and a good performance against a decent Margate side will be a necessity to make that happen. See you there.

Keeping this thing going

A few people have asked recently is The Electric Chair still going?

The answer is I haven’t given up on it but it is not so easy to keep it going. The fact is after 4 1/2 years and nearly 400 posts keeping any blog going is difficult. Things move on, other priorities emerge and I do spend plenty more time using Twitter now – see @howiejk, although the content is not just football (or ice cream).

For all that, I will try and publish more blog articles.

As always there is plenty happening at Wealdstone FC and I need to try and find more time to keep things more current through this blog.

So a few posts to follow about a bunch of subjects as they come to mind, I’m going to give the blog a new look (temporary for now) and I will try and update more regularly so please do keep coming back.