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!!

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 ...