“Essex has the sunshine
And the girls all get so (fake)tanned
I dig a French bikini on Canvey Island dolls
By a palm tree in the sand”
What relevance is current form in Non League football? Saturday’s visitors to Lewes, Concord Rangers, came into the game in 2nd place in the Ryman Premier League with five wins on the bounce, scoring fifteen goals in the process, conceding just one goal, but that illusive 100% record taken from the previous six games (why is current form always taken over past 6 games?) had been broken when Lewes visited Canvey Island back in December and came away with a remarkable 6-3 win. Results since just show how unpredictable this league as the Rooks had only won once (although that was on Tuesday) but have spent the last five weeks on the road. Home is where the heart, and in theory three points is, and with a very impressive record at The Dripping Pan against teams at the top, confidence was high for three points.
Today was an early start for me. Putting my directors hat on as I left the house it was annual appraisal time for Simon Wormull, the Lewes manager. We try to do things differently from other clubs at the Dripping Pan. In any company, annual appraisals, or PDR (Personal Development Reviews) should form part of good governance so why should football clubs be any different. The process gives Worms the opportunity to say what’s going well (big tick for the flapjacks), what could be better (need to sort out the toilets) and what his plans are for the pre-season schedule (front row tickets for Mumford & Sons already sorted) as well as giving us the opportunity to give him feedback (don’t play yourself at left-back) on the job he was doing. As Brian Clough once famously said, “We discussed the situation for 30 minutes and then decided I was right”. Continue reading
….from town to town, I’m a real cool head, I’m makin’ real good bread”
A trip to Canvey Island on a wet, wild and windy April afternoon probably doesn’t feature in any Top 100 Days Out in England programmes, but for Lewes fans it was going to be THE place to be. Through a combination of favourable results and some excellent performances, the Rooks came into the second to last game of the season still in the play off spots. Granted Wealdstone and Cray Wanderers had games in hand, and the momentum was with The Stones, especially after their 6-0 away at keeper-less Tooting & Mitcham United in the week, but every manager knows it is better to have points in the bag than games in hand (that is unless you are the team with games in hand).
So this was our last away trip of a long season that had started for some of us back in early July with a friendly away at St Neots Town. Fortunately, our hosts Concord Rangers had just ruled themselves out of the fight for the play offs and so they would simply open the front door and allow us to have the run of the house, right? That is what normally happens isn’t it? Perhaps they would also put a striker in goal for us like Tooting? What are the odds of that? Continue reading
I am a very goal driven person. I religiously write down what I want to achieve in my little black book that I carry around, making sure that my objectives are SMART (an acronym familiar to those who have gone through formal management and leadership training) and that I regularly review them. They are split into personal, work and of course football. You see I see football as part work part personal so it is only fair I have a category especially for it.
My broad football aims this season were based around Non League football. Sure, I still had a “commitment” to the 92 Club in terms of new grounds at Morecambe and Chesterfield but they would be for later in the season. Winter in Morecambe is not the most hospitable places as I remember from two years ago when we saw Luton Town there. But I wanted to “tick off” the Blue Square Premier, South and then venture down into the heart of Non League football in the South – The Ryman League.
Cliff gives us to the tour
Slowly but surely I had visited grounds on my travels this season and commenced the “plan of attack” on a lovely hot day in July at Canvey Island. Having never been on the “Island” before, Danny and I couldn’t resist a little peak into their neighbours, Concord Rangers ground. We drove down a road that Terry and June would have been proud to have called “Chez nous” before a set of floodlights popped up like one of those houses that wants to receive every TV channel in the world with a huge aerial. We had a wander around, peering over the wall before a chap armed with a circular saw asked if he could “help us”. This man was Cliff Larkin, and he genuinely wanted to help up. Cliff is the Chairman’s brother-in-law as well as being hugely proud of what this little club had achieved and recanted the tail to us like Peter Ustinov would have done on Jackanory. Continue reading
Proud as punch to display that
Today’s football had been planned for week and was due to coincide with a nice family lunch as a starting point. CMF wanted to spend some of my money on Christmas presents and I had no intention of venturing into any of the 21st century cathedrals we have built in the South East of England. So I agreed to drop her off at Lakeside and pick her up afterwards, leaving me with a 3 1/2 hour window. I hate to say that I was turning my back on Lewes, who were playing at Ship Lane against Lakeside but there is only so many cars you can count on the M25 there. Instead I had two options. Billericay Town and Concord Rangers. So I went to the God of all decisions. Twitter. I asked which one I should go to, and within minutes I had my answer:- Continue reading