Worst night of the season

…and I don’t mean losing the match against Canvey 1-3 but seeing our goalkeeper carried off, in obvious agony, with what appears to be a double break of the tibula and fibula bones. The ‘good’ news is that it appears they are clean breaks and with a bit of resetting and repositioning in an operation tomorrow hopefully recovery will be reasonably quick – but more news to follow over the coming days.

Jonathan North is not only a great goalkeeper but also a thoroughly decent guy, a pleasure to have around the club and someone who has loved being part of our success this season. We have recently signed him on a new 2 year contract with the hope that he will be our goalkeeper for many years to come. We still hope that.

As soon as he had bravely tackled the onrushing forward Jonathan’s immediate reaction made it clear this was a bad injury. Coming relatively soon after the incident with Barrow goalkeeper Danny Hurst that’s twice we’ve stood and watched a goalkeeper suffer a serious injury recently and require the great care and attention delivered by the paramedics. Seeing a player carefully carried off in a stretcher must be the worst sight in football.

Seeing it once is one time too many – seeing it twice in less than 3 months is horrible.

I thought our players did ever so well given the shock that must have come with seeing their mate in such distress. On another night we’d have scored 6 but a combination of good and sometime fortunate keeping from the Canvey guy and some profligate finishing meant we only scored one, which wasn’t enough. But if we play that well every week then we’ll win more than we’ll lose.

But anyway, this is not about football tonight. Our thoughts and best wishes are with Jonathan and we hope fervently that he will make a full and speedy recovery.

Newport 2 days after the event

Feeling better after 3 good solid points tonight. A great reaction from the players to beat a decent Met Police team. It was important to get going straight away after Saturday.

Result aside Saturday was a huge day for us. Looking back there are some things that we will look to improve on next time, some things we are delighted with, and other things that went just as expected. We have asked Neil Rands to do a report on how things went and what we need to learn. Nick Dugard did something similar after the Rotherham match and it set a good baseline.

And we do want a next time. 2092 represented the biggest crowd we have had in 25 years or so? Following on 2 seasons after the Rotherham game. This is why we do it and we want more of it.

As for the game I think you have to say well done to Newport. They came with a game plan and executed it well. Remember they are two divisions above us and the task was always going to be a tough one. But once again we didn’t let anyone down. In six games against higher league opposition in the FA Trophy we have won 3, drawn 2 and lost 1. Not a bad record and the players can hold their heads high.

I hope many of the two thousand people there will come back. The crowd tonight, of 428, was encouraging for a Monday night. We are a club going places and we want as many people as possible to be part of it.

I am thrilled by the efforts of so many people who as always gave their time to make sure we could enjoy a great day. If we had 2,000 crowds every week then we could pay people to do these jobs for us. Maybe one day. It’s something to aim at. 

We will take an honest, thoughtful look at where to improve and what to do better next time and we will involve all the right people in that. But for now, let’s be proud of what we have achieved so far this season, and let’s go on and make sure that the last few weeks of the season brings us what we deserve. 

Why did we give extra tickets to Newport for the second leg?

I’’m aware there have been some discussions about why we gave an extra 175 tickets to Newport yesterday.  If anyone is interested I thought I would set out why we took that decision.

Firstly let me make clear this was my decision –so I take full responsibility for this (not Peter or Fingers or anyone else) though I did talk it through with them).

The game is ‘all ticket’ which means we cannot sell to ‘’walk up’’ people on Saturday. Remember this is a police decision not ours. As it stands at present by my reckoning we have roughly 1000 tickets still available (at the current allowed capacity) to sell to ‘home’ fans before Friday at 10.00pm. Given we have already sold somewhere around 500-600 tickets I am not convinced we will sell all of these tickets though I would delighted if we did.

This tie is about the football first and foremost and us doing whatever we can to create a(nother) memorable occasion for everyone concerned with the Club. However, from a business perspective, given that we are not convinced we will sell out, we would be extremely foolish not to ensure an extra £2,625 (gross) of guaranteed revenue from giving Newport that extra ticket allocation.

Knowing that this money is guaranteed means we can use it – directly – to purchase additional raised terracing (3 steps) for home support behind the goal and along the side by the main stand. This is not cheap and is being part sponsored but now becomes affordable. This means that our fans will have a better view and create a better atmosphere.  We are negotiating with the company and hopefully will do this deal by tomorrow.

We have already spent £3,500 on work at the top end of the ground that will help with the capacity. So we need to strike the right balance of spending appropriately, and maximising income. Remember also that money made from this FA Trophy run needs to work for us next season as well, on the field, as we will look to further support the playing budget if we can.

We also hope (though can’’t confirm until tomorrow or Tuesday until we have spoken with the authorities) that the additional raised terracing and the work at the top end might enable us to raise the capacity further in which case more tickets for home fans might become available but don’t take this for granted until after the authorities have made their decisions.

Sometimes decisions need to be taken. In this case I think we taken the right decision balancing up all these needs. Some people may not agree and if they wish are welcome to talk to me tomorrow night or during the week.

I don’t believe that any Wealdstone fan will miss the game and we will not be giving up the Brian Collins stand or other key parts of the ground. However, we do look to strike the right balance between improving things off the field and giving us the best chance of being successful on the field.

Finally, any Wealdstone person reading this – remember, buy your ticket before Friday. Details of how are here.

Believe

Seems to be the word of the moment. Rightly so.

We’ve got the semi finals of the FA Trophy (yes say it out loud) and this amazing achievement has been achieved with plenty of belief.

The players have belief in abundance, the management team too and even those of us who have experienced so much disappointment and heartache over the years are beginning to believe.

The best comment at Cambridge was when someone said just after we had been pegged back to 2-1, “if we’d been offered a 2-1 lead away at Cambridge United in the FA Trophy 1/4 final with 15 minutes to go then we’d have snapped their hand off – so enjoy it.” That was great advice, if a bit impractical at that moment.

But the sentiment is absolutely right. We must enjoy the next nine days, as we have enjoyed the last two weeks since Cambridge. It might be a while until we get this close to Wembley again.

Realistically we still have a mountain to climb. The suspensions make life even more difficult for us and I think that playing two legs is very much in Newport’s favour. But you never know and we will give it everything. And whatever happens, whether we win or whether we get hammered, we can hold our heads up high. We have got Wealdstone FC back on the map, and expectations (always high at our club will have just gone up another notch or two).

We also have a Middlesex Senior Cup Final to look forward to on Easter Monday and you know what happened the last time we got to that final.

We’re loving the ride at the moment and make no mistake we’d love to keep it going all the way to Wembley. But at 10.00 on Saturday when hundreds of Wealdstone fans on 5 coaches set off from Grosvenor Vale we will go there confident, proud and determined – and full of belief.