Thursday, 3 November 2016

Sausage Baguette

Yes I know we've got 2 wins on the trot, Rocco scored in his last game at the ARS for a few months and, cor blimey, a clean sheet to boot. But let's not get carried away just yet.

Whyteleafe on Saturday. Never a dull moment down there but don't tell anybody about the sausage baguettes from the tea bar. They're darned good and tend to sell out, so be quick. Decent cluhouse as well, usually with real ale and food available.

To get to the ground you need to walk the mean streets of Whyteleafe. The lack of meanness will hit you full in the face but there's leafiness aplenty. Not too many boozing opportunities however. There's the Whyteleafe Tavern at 208 Godstone Road, which is passable for a pre-match refresco, but better still is the Radius Arms a few doors away at number 205. A micro-pub that's been open 18 months serving proper beer and fruit based drinks gleaned from apples and grapes. No Europiss however.

Trains from London leave from London Bridge or Victoria and arrive at Upper Warlingham or Whyteleafe. Fastest service is Victoria to Upper Warlingham which leaves at 23 or 53 minutes past the hour (there's just a few minutes walk between Upper Warlingham and Whyteleafe stations).

A note of caution, there's due to be a strike affecting Southern services at the weekend, so it might take you a little longer than expected to get there. Don't take it out on the railway workers though, they've got your best interests in mind.

Hopefully we'll see Rocco for a last hurrah before he selfishly buggers off to see a bit of the world whilst his knees are still up to it. If not, I'm sure he knows we wish him well 'til the next time (and beyond).

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

A cat called Gareth.

Since we were last here we've had a few ups and downs, mainly downs unfortunately.

The trip to Bromley for the match against Cray Wanderers wasn't quite what you may have read elsewhere. There was little sign of any ambition to win on the night, although we did have the odd chance to nick something from the game. Mainly it was about 2 rows of 4, staying fairly close and frustrating what looked like a talented Cray side.

There was a lot of defensive discipline on show though and that's why we left the ground in a fairly upbeat mood after a 1-0 defeat.

Very nice clubhouse at Bromley, complete with its own cat. Gareth is his name. Like GFC at the ARS, Cray make absolutely sweet fa from it but they are hopeful of a home of their own at some point. Plans are at an advanced stage but stuck in the mire of endless referrals to this, that and the other.

Upbeat thoughts soon took a nosedive with a disappointing home draw against Godalming Town. The real downer was the double leg break suffered by Chris Tardif. 1F is always worth a good few points over a season so this is a real blow to hopes of maintaining Step 4 status, particularly given the seemingly never ending problem of getting a full squad out for matches.

It got worse still a few days later with Jack Domaille suffering knee ligament damage that will keep him out for a prolonged period.

Fingers crossed for a reasonably trouble free recovery for both players.

The gloom was lifted slightly with a somewhat rare 3 points against Sittingbourne last weekend, this despite a degree of profligacy in front of goal that, if we're not careful, could become as worrying as our frailty at the other end.

Good to hear there was decent support from the Garenne, us Manelanders need to pull our socks up in that respect when we go to Whyteleafe on Saturday.

Tomorrow it's Chipstead at the ARS, another must win. So get your arse to the ARS and sing yer 'earts out for the lads. OK, you won't be able to talk on Thursday nut, between you and me, your work colleagues don't really want small talk with you so it'll save embarrassment all round.

With new kit recently arrived at Ormering Towers hopefully these ramblings will start to become a little more frequent than they have been of late. There are a few things to be said after all.

Keep it green (and keep the faith).

Allez les Verts!!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Bloody fog.....

Never around when you might find it useful. Then again if fog had spared us a drubbing on Saturday it would have meant a mid-week trip and we could do with as few of those as possible.

Hastings were well worth the win but the margin of defeat was down to good old fashioned ineptitude on our part. Heads had dropped somewhere below sea level but there was one positive in that the lads rallied in the last ten minutes leading to a consolation goal by Zico that sparked a brief moment of joy on the terrace.

The look on the face of Chairman Sticks pretty much summed up the thoughts of all present.

Tomorrow we're off to Cray Wanderers, the second oldest team in the land apparently but with a recently found pot of gold. Threadbare squad again but at least Tony Vance has managed to pull one together, it was a bit of a struggle to even get a starting eleven. Getting desperate he scanned the occupations of all the GFA registered players and identified an estate agent playing at Port Soif.

As we all know Guernsey estate agents have had plenty of time on their hands for several years now, so Vance's discovery means we have another new face turning out, one Vijay Wiltshire. Don't expect another youngster though, this one's 31, but good on him for stepping up and good luck to him and everyone else travelling.

Expectations are not going to be high and, let's face it, we'll probably take heart if we keep it tighter than at Merstham a couple of years ago.

Cray play at Hayes Lane, home of National League South Bromley FC. If you're driving, set your satnav for BR2 9EF, otherwise iIt's a 15-20 minute walk from Bromley South station, which can be reached as quickly as 17 minutes from Victoria. Plenty of trains after the final whistle as well. There's a 'Spoons opposite the station, the Richmal Crompton (named after the author who was a teacher at Bromley Girls School back in the day) and chicken lovers will be pleased to learn that tomorrow is Wing it Wednesday in 'Spoonsland.

Keep it Green (and keep your heads up)

Allez les Verts!!

Friday, 14 October 2016

Diggling By The Sea

Lewes. Lovely little town, unless you have mobility issues. The Dripping Pan. Lovely little ground, unless you have mobility issues. The locals all very friendly on the outside but they're laughing on the inside, safe in the knowledge that the steps and hills will get you in the end.

The lucky ones made it to the clubhouse, only to be disappointed to find they had a bit of a Harveys festival going on, it was terrible. Then there were the pies from the teabar which had everybody yearning for one of those burgers of indeterminate origin available  at most football grounds.

So the town got a tick, the ground got a tick, as did the natives, the Harveys and the pies. The game may even have merited a tick if it hadn't been instantly forgettable.

A trip to South Park was eschewed in favour of a splendid ribeye steak and Tring Brewery's Moongazing at the Prince George in Watford. A wise choice in more ways than one as it turned out.

Tomorrow it's a trip to the Pilot Field in Hastings, 950 years and a day after a certain battle. Transport links were better in the 11th century when you could simply sail into Pevensey Bay and ride hither and thither on horseback. Nowadays it's a train that travels through East Sussex in seemingly ever decreasing circles before limping into Hastings. Always good to visit the Old Town before heading to the Pilot Field and we aim to be in the Olde Pumphouse on George Street (a favourite of Diggler's for some reason) shortly after opening time at 11, no chance of a lie in then.

With a squad of 14 due to travel the smart money will be on our fine away run continuing a little longer but you never know (and because you never know you keep coming back to this tremendously annoying, complex yet simple game of football).

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Curtain Raised

Been away for a bit soaking up some vitamin D but, before I headed off, I did get to enjoy a day out in Carshalton.

OK we lost, but an incremental improvement in performance was evident. After the match I said to Tony Vance, the NDC and anyone else within earshot really, that it looked like the lads were 2 games away from being ready for the start of the season.

And lo, the remaining 'pre-season' programme saw a somewhat remarkable and unpredictable draw away at Tooting & Mitcham then an on paper thumping of Herne Bay at the ARS in the curtain raiser to the season.

After last night's very good 4-1 win against Walton Casuals, by my reckoning, we've played 1, won 1, with a goal difference of +3 but the powers that be won't see it that way. Everyone's feeling a lot more positive than a month ago though and, whisper it, there's a faint chance of witnessing something strange away to Lewes on Saturday.

Away from the pitch we had the announcement of Sticks as the new dear chairman (NDC). Difficult to argue with that and the llamas in the stable block are excited at the potential for the club's view on democracy and community to shift further towards a Western european ideal than may have previously been the case. Sincerely hope Sticks is donning his blazer and making the trip to Lewes where he can here from the host club about how they're approach. Some good things going on at the Dripping Pan.

If you're going to the match on Saturday you'll be pleased to know it's an easy walk from the station, turn left and left again and you're there in a couple of minutes. Clubhouse will have real ale on from the local brewery, Harveys. They have a great reputation among ale fans and their standard offering (Sussex Best) puts many others 'specials' to shame.

If you're after a pre-match tipple in a local hostelry then Lewes is teaming with options. Turn left out of the station, right at the roundabout then second right finds you in Southover High Street where, at number 9,  the Kings Head looks a good choice. Close to the ground as well, set your satnav to BN7 1HS.

Momentum gets a lot of mentions in the news these days, let's hope it keeps growing in Sussex this weekend.

Keep it green

Allez les Verts!!

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Casual Observations

If you're ever lucky enough to find yourself in Tolworth, Superfish at 25 The Broadway is the place to go for a decent bit of fish, surprisingly enough. Your luck increases with the beautiful peaceful walk to King George's Field, home of Corinthian Casuals.

As a club, Casuals is clearly run on a shoe string with a heavy reliance on a small number of volunteers. Take a look at the on pitch activity however and you'll be in awe at the altruistic nature of the players at the currently highest placed amateur club in the British Isles. Truly inspirational.

Wasn't expecting much from the game and the final score of 5-2 suggests expectations were met. Based on goals that I saw it was only 2-1 though which is a marked improvement. Overall the team did look better organised but multiple collective meltdowns at, what once upon a time was, the relatively simple task of defending. Possibly time to reintroduce the mantra of 'if in doubt kick it out'.

After the match Tony Vance talked of a period of transition and 2-3 years before maybe things will be flowing better. Totally get that but mounting injuries mean there's an increased chance of the 'r' word becoming a reality. Many fans have no problem with that, if you're happy to take promotion then relegation is a de facto part of life after all. TV is on the record saying, in a roundabout way, that such a scenario would be disastrous (potential loss of sponsors etc).

If that's really how Guernsey based sponsors view their support of Guernsey sport competing at the highest possible level then, given the circumstances of the time, maybe there is no point in any of this. I'd like to think they're not so shallow however.

With the DC no longer on the scene there is an opportunity for a refresh when it comes to control of the club. Always touted as being run democratically for the benefit of the community democracy, so far, has been decidedly North Korean in flavour. Hearing whispers of a possible change in stance however and a proper membership scheme giving voting rights when it comes to selection of a management committee has to be the way forward.

Also there needs to be a debate over what is meant by a 'family club'. It's said that there are a number of former players considered persona non grata due to issues off the pitch. In reality families contain all sorts. There has to be a question mark over whether 'families' that  exclude model individuals are proper families. These lost family members could be the difference between Isthmian or CoCo League football next season. In short, do you want sugar sweet or the best team Guernsey can put out.

I see murmurings here and their about Vance and Fallaize and their suitability for the job in hand. Having the opportunity to speak to them fairly regularly I don't doubt their passion for an instant, although I would say they could show it more on the bench. I don't see anyone else in the Bailiwick with the qualifications for the job unless, of course, everyone's prepared to learn through relegation(s).

Finally, the trip to Carshalton on Saturday could be painful. If you're going take a right on exiting the station then left at the bottom of the slope and toddle down to meet us in the Sun. Only a short walk to the ground thereafter and whatever the result you will have a highlight or two from the day.

Expectations will be low and, again, attitude and aptitude are arguably more important than points.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Monday, 5 September 2016

Donkey Spirit

A good point in the end on Saturday after another abysmal first half show. Being slow out of the traps is nothing new for us but early indications are that we've taken it to a new level this season.

Tomorrow's match at Corinthian Casuals doesn't exactly fill us with high expectations. They've had a good start, second in the league having dropped fewer points than we've one, and they'll be looking to cement their position as the current highest placed amateur side in the football pyramid.

An accolade they'd held for years until we came along so there's an incentive for whatever squad we put out tomorrow night. Whatever happens it is unlikely to be as abject a performance as we witnessed in Tolworth two years ago.

If the playing squad bring along the donkey spirit that was missing 2 years ago and maybe even talk to each other on the pitch then maybe the result won't matter so much. Show grit and determination from the off, that donkey spirit in other words, and the pressure for points in the short term will ease.

In short play as a team, support and encourage each other throughout, whatever happens. If the coaching staff deliver the half time bollocking before the match that might help as well.

If you see Manelanders disappear before the end of the game it's just to get the 9.43 train. Casuals would surely add a few to the gate and take a few more quid in the clubhouse etc if they kicked off at 7.30 (the trains are every half hour to 9.43, hourly thereafter), but what do I know.

Manelanders going by train just need to take a left out of Tolworth Station, another left down Toby Way then left again along Hook Rise South. On your left behind the fence is a development site where once stood the Toby Jug pub - the site of the official unveiling of Ziggy Stardust. Developers want to put over 700 homes on what is a fairly small plot, if you ignore the rock history element.

The tea/burger bar at Casuals is somewhat on the slow side but pre-match sustenance can be obtained along The Broadway (other side of the big roundabout left of the station), particularly at Superfish which has good reviews by people that know about food. It's got a grog licence as well, what's not to like?

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Friday, 2 September 2016

6 Ps in South Park

If the first half at Ramsgate on the opening day of the season was like a blancmange, the performance at South Park on Bank Holiday Monday as a bit of an Eton Mess of a thing. Or akin to an evening at Port Soif, an occasional promising move but, ultimately, no penetration.

In the South Park goal James Wastell, a tremendous chap, was rarely troubled. In the photo above you can see him relaxing midway thought the second half.

Bright spots were few but Tom le Tissier did alright between the sticks, and there were some decent cameos from the young 'uns (Seb Skillen's was more than a cameo to be fair).

All in all however it looked like a pre-season performance, with a few more games needed before we're ready for the season proper.

Bizarre story in the Press about Tony Vance laughing off suggestions that GFC are - or will be - involved in a relegation battle. Can't imagine anyone's really thinking about relegation at the moment, other than in a moment of black humour looking forward to the prospect of a return to the Small Field. That said there's no reason why we won't be involved in a relegation battle, someone has to be after all.

Let's not tempt fate by predicting anything against Chatham at the ARS tomorrow but a nil return would be followed by Corinthian Casuals, Carshalton, Faversham and Tooting & Mitcham, none of which will be a walk in the park. In a month's time the GP story may not seem so bizarre, let's hope not though.

If you're to the ARS tomorrow be the twelfth man and get behind the lads.

Keep it Green.

Allez les Verts!!

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Norwegian Blue

This week's 'One for the Ladies'.
Despite it's proximity to the approach to London City airport Thamesmead is not permeated with the odour of kerosene.Everyone present on Tuesday was aware of something in the air that night though due to a combination of the whiff from the local sewage treatment works and midges. Whiffy as it was, compared to Nutty Neale's aftermath on the terrace at Tooting & Mitcham, it was like something by Christian Dior.

Other than the result it was a good evening all round with the performance of Thomas Dodds being the clear highlight. Making his competitive debut for GFC a neutral would have been forgiven for thinking he was our most experienced player. OK, a visually impaired neutral but bearing in mind his position on the pitch it was a seriously impressive performance.

Thamesmead's ground is a fairly typical municipal facility but tidy, functional and more up to date than most. Importantly, no running track around the pitch so everyone's close to the 'action'.

The moment of the match was Simon Geall putting in a peach of a ball for our goal. He enjoyed the moment so much that he revealed a face that only Mrs Geall had previously witnessed (just the once on the beach at Port Soif a few years ago).

After the game someone mentioned that Tony Vance had been quoted in the media along the lines of taking a reduced squad to away games due to cost reasons. If that's the case the club needs to sort its priorities out, fewer blazers and more tracksuits on the plane in other words.

A draw against Greenwich Borough was, on balance, not a bad result. Big strong team, the sort we have always struggled against, against our notoriously porous defence. There are signs that work is in progress to address that notoriety though so the lack of a win so far this season is not, yet, a reason for concern.

Tomorrow we head to South Park, always a good day out with a nice clubhouse, decent tea/burger bar, friendly natives and 'bants' with the keeper.

If you're going by road allow plenty of time each way as huge tailbacks are predicted on the M25 tomorrow. If you're going by public transport I suggest you don't get a train to Reigate as you'll then need a taxi. Take it from me, the taxi drivers of Reigate are next to useless, if they knew their way around town it would help.

Instead get off at Redhill take a 435 bus to the Prior Road stop along Park Lane East. Walk in the direction of travel of the bus, turn left into Sandcross Lane then right into Whitehall Lane. Should take you just over 5 minutes walk after a 13 minute bus ride. Coming back do the same in reverse but you'll be catching a 430 bus. Google Metrobus Redhill for precise times but the buses tend to leave Redhill 5-10 mins after the train arrives and so on.

An alternative walking route is to turn left into Eastnor Road and toddle down to the Barley Mow, a watering hole would you believe. After an hour or so there cross the road and walk down North Road. At the end turn left and Whitehall Lane is a hop and a step on the right.

Like you may have have been I was shocked to learn of the Dear Chairman's resignation. Shocked as I wasn't expecting it until Wednesday.

The power struggle could be interesting unless the club achieves its vision of being democratic. One or two of the existing directors would make excellent DCs but if the club appoints a replacement director in respect of the original DC I hope they go for someone 'left of field' who can provide a different perspective whilst having sound ideas of their own and being separate from the day to day commercial/playing side of the club.

As for the original DC, I join in the several others that have thanked him for his undoubtedly hard work in getting GFC up, running and where it is today. I can't help thinking that if it wasn't for the time spent on GFC other things may have turned out slightly differently.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Sunday, 21 August 2016


One for the ladies.
A decent enough crowd of 1142, though not a patch on the days when we were, apparently, playing pub teams, saw what can only best be described as a game of two halves at the ARS on Saturday.

Eschewing the opportunity to log in to a dodgy stream delivered via servers in multiple former Soviet republics (yes Dear Reader the match was being touted alongside numerous top flight matches across Europe) I witnessed proceedings courtesy of  Auntie Beeb's wireless coverage via the iPlayer.

Now I already knew that Simon de la Rue has a face (and hair) fit for radio but it turns out he's got a voice for it as well. It probably helped that he had a co-commentator from Thamesmead so the mix of commentary and conversation not only kept him awake but made for a balanced broadcast that provided more than enough pictures for anyone with a vague notion of what a football pitch looks like. Very good coverage indeed.

If I was the DC and I was thinking about relaunching GFCTV I would give serious thought to a mix of live audio stream and video highlights at a reasonable cost, £3-4 a month say.

Not for the first time a dreadful first half performance. Words were spoken at half time, aren't they always you might be thinking and you'd be right. Sometimes the half time talks reveal a side to Messrs Vance and Fallaize that would make some in the Garenne feel ever so slightly uncomfortable.

I witnessed this myself at halftime in the play-off match at Leatherhead a couple of years ago when a combination of accoustics and a very small open window at the top of the wall meant I heard voices as I made my way to the clubhouse. So enthralled was I that I never made the half time pint.

Anyway the 2nd half was largely like the first but flipped on its head and turned inside out. The press was on, the momentum swung and Oi Oi, that man Pedders otherwise known as the ageing,balding (not say one of the finest footballers the island has produced) Dave Rihoy pulled rabbits out of his magic hat. Both teams could have got a late winner and there's probably a scientist somewhere that can explain how Thamesmead hit the inside of the post only for it to bounce out. Witchcraft probably, courtesy of someone from the Torteval definitely.

So a cracking cup tie, lots of plebs got their picture with the cup and I discovered some enticing prices for a trip I'm planning in the Autumn at the kind of hotel that's right up my street. I will be paying my own way however, unlike the bloke(s) from the FA.

All of the above means that Tuesday is POETT day.Talk to people in some parts of London and they'll have you believe that Thamesmead is the last place on earth you'd want to visit. All I can say is everyone I've ever known from that neck of the woods has been completely lovely and the football club and all associated seem sound as a pound, so a warm welcome awaits. It's not on a tube line though which may explain the negativity in some quarters.

Make your own way to London then it's about 30 minutes by train from London Bridge to Abbey Wood then 5 minutes on the 229 bus towards Thamesmead Town Centre (get off at Lister Walk). Going there trains and buses run approx every 11 minutes, lots of them coming back as well. Abbey Wood is in TFL Zone 4 so a travelcard or season ticket that includes Zone 4 will cover the bus as well. Alternatively pay via an Oyster card and the bus will be £1.50 each way, you can't pay with cash on London buses. Otherwise it's a 2 mile walk. The Lister Walk bus stop is just a few minutes walk from the football club (walk in the direction of travel of the bus, the ground is on the right).

If you do need to rest between getting off the train and getting a bus there is a boozer next to the station as well as the usual variety of eating, plucking and retail opportunities you expect in suberbia.

All we need is for a decent squad to turn up, got to be worth a go as a home tie against Chertsey Town of the CCL awaits the winner.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Friday, 19 August 2016

Fever pitch

They say the best way to treat a fever is rest and plenty of fluids. Which probably explains why the GFC directors and associated liggers holed up in the OGH for a drinks reception with the 2 year old version of arguably the most famous trophy in the people's game.

The OGH is the perfect venue for this iconic symbol of the people's game, there's no better place in the island to ensure it's centre of attention for the island's proletariat during its stay. It certainly won't be anything to do with some bloke from the FA getting a couple of nights in one of their over priced, over chintzy, pokey little rooms. Could it?

The plebs needn't worry though as they will get their chance to be close to the cup tomorrow morning at the ARS, if they're prepared to miss a few minutes of 'Ring and Buy' to guarantee their place in the queue that is.

Tomorrow's match against Thamesmead will be the first FA Cup tie played outside of the UK. Thamesmead are up for it. Everyone at GFC is up for it. Having turned up in their thousands for the likes of Bedfont Sports (usually known as the Small Field) and Spennymoor, not to mention the hand wringing at away draws in previous seasons) you'd think the Guernsey public would be up for it. With a quarter of the seats at the ARS yet to be sold it could well be that Guernsey prefers Dengue to Cup Fever but I'm hopeful that the great Guernsey public has finally woken up to the fact that sitting at football (unless forced by the Feds) is just for the elderly, infirm and criminally insane.

Sadly though I suspect the match will attract an audience somewhat smaller than was the norm in the CCL days. Thamesmead have got off to a good start in the Isthmian North. Our lads must be feeling they have something to prove having just a single point from two games. Notwithstanding we have a few injury problems this could be a cracker of a match in what IS the only domestic club knockout competition that captures imaginations around the globe.

If you can be there you have to be, surely?

After the match do what I would do. Put your champagne socialist hat on and piss off down to the OGH to enjoy yourself with everyone else.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

FKW, Cray, Results...

A full midweek propgramme in the Isthmian South saw Carshalton cruise to a 3-0 win at home to Molesey last night in front of just 137 whilst Tooting & Mitcham won 3-2 away at Chatham.

Tonight's scores:-

East Grinstead 2 Dorking W 3, Faversham 2 Ramsgate 0, Greenwich B 4 Horsham 1, Herne Bay 1 Hastings 1, Hythe 1 Chipstead 1, Sittingbourne 4 Three Bridges 4, Whyteleafe 3 Godalming 1.

Early days, there's a surprise, but just 3 teams remain with a 100% record - Faversham, Dorking Wanderers and the oft derided Carshalton.

Tomorrow Cray Wanderers visit the ARS. With origins dating back to 1860 they've a bit more history than we have. Spent a few seasons in the Isthmian Prem not so long ago but following relegation had a couple of season in Division 1 North. Many consider D1N to be weaker than Division 1 South, Cray's time in the North saw a not too inspiring finish in 16th in the first season but they made the playoffs second time around.

Saturday saw a 3-3 draw at home to Sittingbourne and Cray themselves have recognised a bit of good fortune  - they were 3-1 down at one stage.

Advantage must lie with GFC for this one, despite the defeat to Ramsgate who succumbed themselves tonight in their long trip to Faversham.

Before you head to dreamland tonight please spare a thought for people old enough to know better than to wear replica shirts and shorts out in public.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Monday, 15 August 2016

Ramsgate - not quite the end of the world after all.

Expectations weren't exactly high on the way down to Ramsgate, a town most notable for being ignored by Chas and Dave in favour of a near neighbour a long, long time ago.

Most of the talk on the train was about nefarious activity, financial prudence and one man's noteworthy crusade to identify the finest watering holes for anyone venturing towards the so-called London Stadium in the next 9 months or so.

There was also talk of Guernsey's lost generation, 2 of whom were scoring in the Rawlinson Cup at the Track later in the day.

We arrived in Ramsgate to find the place seemingly closed, so to the ground we went. The Ramsgate clubhouse is becoming familiar but worth re-iterating that it's not too shabby at all, light and airy in fact. Main teabar is just outside, well before the turnstiles, where despite the staff being involved in some kind of epic soap opera (veggies turn away now) an early contender for 'bacon cheeseburger of the season' could be found.

Then into the ground itself to be delighted to discover that a number of the official attendance of 210 were playing hide and seek (OK it may have had something to do with the seize cents soixante quatre). Then the day started to go downhill.

Yes dear reader, the match kicked off.

We were truly dreadful in the first half. Kyle Smith was running his socks off up front but between him and Tardie there was what can be best described as a blancmange, such was the lack of shape and application. We were lucky to go in just 1 down at half time. Not just through the host's domination of play but their generosity in perhaps one of the feeblest penalties you will ever see (unless of course you are prone to the occasional nightmarish flashback of Pat Nevin and countless others).

The second half started in much the same vein. Ramsgate had a 'goal' disallowed for offside and goalmouth activity at the other end typically looked like this:

But things did improve. Changes were made, things improved and we found an attacking threat with the blancmange being replaced by players running and supporting each other. Chances were forged and we even scored. The chap at the top of the page, Robbie Legg, made a big impression when he was introduced and he was influential in the build up to Dom Heaume's goal. Still not a lot to him but he plays without fear at this level. The small tank previously known as Craig Young also stood out.

At the other end Chris Tardif was playing his usual blinder and he was being pretty well shielded by the defence in front of him.

Ultimately we were undone by one of those good old football cliches - a cruel deflection.

Ramsgate are one of the favourites to go up but, bearing in mind we were shockingly, nay appallingly, bad for long periods, they're possibly thinking they have a lot of work to do. Their
management team, the Sartorial Brothers, may well be banking on constantly being in the ear of the 'lino' as one of their key tactics for the season.

The second half revival meant there was an air of disappointment at the final whistle but looking at the performance over 90 minutes a draw would have been akin to nicking a point.

Still, not quite the doom and gloom some were anticipating        pre-match. If only that lost generation could be persuaded to ignore the charms of the goddess Breda and return to the fold....

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Back from the abyss....

... and for once I'm not referring to the Torteval.

With just a couple of days to go until the season kicks off I have to be honest and say feelings are a bit all over the place.

The only new faces this season are likely to be a couple of new drafts from Steve Sharman's under 11 squad (that's what they look like to an old git like me at any rate). Talismanic striker on holiday in the States so missing the first few games. Not sure why as the last time I looked the States was just a short drive from the airport and the ARS, but there we are. Guernsey football, well Channel Islands football as a whole really, is frankly in a bit of a mess.

If you're in the 'good enough for Step 3' camp I fear your expectations for the season may be a tad high. For me a good season would be mid-table obscurity for GFC and and a closing of the divide with the local game. I look at some of the names associated with GFC, some of the names associated with the GFA and some of the names associated with local clubs and I scratch my head trying to understand why heads can't be banged together to resolve this situation.

In the close season we've seen the odd suggestion here and there that UK based players will be required to go onwards and upwards. That is probably the case but from where I sit I would rather see any available funds going to compensating Guernsey based players (in other words players based in Guernsey by choice rather than only as part of a package to play for the club) first and see where that takes us. Despite what I say about low expectations Guernsey is producing talented footballers and who knows what might happen IF we can get a full strength squad over for the vast majority of away games.

Of course we could throw money at a few hired hands but that's the football equivalent of a Ponzi scheme and has seen the end of many clubs. Certainly not the Guernsey way and I can envisage Messrs le Tocq and St Pier, not to say that bastion of free speech the Press, having palpitations if the island was ever associated with such fast and loose financial practice.

Enough waffle. It all starts at 1pm on Saturday at Ramsgate, one of the pre-season favourites for the league title. All we can ask is that everyone gives of their best. Granted, that's a bit of a cliche but that's football (and another cliche). So strap yourself in for another rollercoaster ride and

Keep it Green.

Allez les Verts!!

Monday, 18 January 2016

ARS, Goal, Perspective

Been a while.

And, sad to say, I only saw the second half of the match against Whyteleafe. Looked like a fair degree of huffing and puffing but we held out when the visitors threw the kitchen sink. As for the winning goal, well I have to say I was bemused as to the delay ......................

ARS, Goal, Perspective

Been a while.

And, sad to say, I only saw the second half of the match against Whyteleafe. Looked like a fair degree of huffing and puffing but we held out when the visitors threw the kitchen sink. As for the winning goal, well I have to say I was bemused as to the delay in taking the throw in whilst they waited for Doddie to cross the pitch (given it was so late in the game). He was spot on with the throw though and the finish by Ross Allen was something to behold (go to ITV Channel Islands website for the best view).

The pitch at the ARS didn't look great. It seemed very bumpy in places but will,eventually, cease to be an issue when GFC gets it's own ground. Don't expect an announcement any time soon but it is being worked on.

We're top of the form table at the moment, which is fantastic, but we are a long way from assuring promotion. So let's try to keep things in perspective. For now.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Monday, 4 January 2016

Hot Flush

First off Happy New Year from Ormering Towers where we've been battling our way through a big batch of grog with a rapidly approaching best before date (nothing but the cheap stuff for us), hence the lack of activity of late.

Since we last made your acquaintance we witnessed a game of two halves down in Reigate. 3-1 down to South Park with half an hour gone we were haunted by thoughts of hammerings past. The midfield was struggling to adjust to the absence of Messrs Fernandez and Black. The defence got nostalgic in its approach to set pieces. The normally point saving Chris Tardif was having a bit of a stinker and Robbie Legg was miscast as the lone frontman, tasked with holding the ball up whilst waiting for the obvious candidate to get forward in support. Credit is due to Robbie for not letting his head drop after what must have been a torrid 45 minutes for a young player still finding his feet at this level - another sign of a good future perhaps.

In short, it wasn't great but the lads did well to make it to the break without further damage and things certainly changed in the second half. With Ross leading the line and Robbie skipping down the wing supplying plenty of ammo the whole team clicked into life and before we knew it we were in the lead. At the end a draw was, perhaps (grudgingly), a fair result.

And so it was that we entered 2016 in, what not too long ago seemed an unlikely, 3rd place in the league looking forward to the visit of the Wasps from football hotbed East Grinstead to the ARS.

As it happened this was another game of two halves, although this time it was down to a swirling wind. Well in charge in the first half, with wind in our favour, it could/should have been more comfortable than a 2 goal advantage at the break.

Things got a little squeaky in the second half, particularly after the visitors got a goal back from the spot and you have to wonder if we would have come away with 3 points against stronger opposition. But 3 points it was, thank you very much, with Craig Young capping off another hard working performance with a fine third goal in injury time.

The highlight though was undoubtedly Jacques Isabelle cocking his trigger to score a belter of goal in the first half. A moment that triggered a myriad hot flushes throughout the Garenne Stand. Mother Ormer is, we understand, still having palpitations.

So two games of two halves and, on balance, two good results.

The players and coaches have done a very good job in turning things round from what, let's face it, was a pretty low point. If we had any of that cut price grog left we'd be raising a glass to them, fingers crossed we can do that in Tolworth on Saturday.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

A sausage, a wrap and a mild mannered janitor.

With the trials and tribulations of last season fast receding and o the back of three impressive displays, unbeaten against teams expected ...