Monthly Archives: April 2013

Jolly good finish?

I’ve read a lot on Richard Jolly’s Twitter lately about how frustrated he is. If that sounds sexual, it probably is. Football is passionate game. And Jolly has displayed his passion for the club on many occasions down the years.

sexual tension

Everyone has championed social-media, and Wealdstone in-particular have embraced it. It has certainly rounded the non-league game and added to the experience. And of course special kudos to @Wealdstone_FC who, through a small dedicated band of contributors, have cemented their title as “the best non-league tweeters around.”

Way back when in 1997, for example, when the Stones needed to match Braintree’s result to ensure the title no one truly knew how Braintree were doing.

In those days the only way of following Braintree’s score was to physically send someone to telephone/text others the updates but even then mobile phones were still much in their infancy.

So as Jolly prepares to hang up his boots for good, the archetypal self-styled ‘fox-in-the-box’ will be missed as much for his social-media contributions as he will for his goals. His tweets have epitomised my points about social-media in the non-league game and no-one can accuse him of being anything but refreshingly honest throughout the season.

On Saturday, Jolly got a (nowadays) rare run-out against Canvey and with two goals to boot it goes without saying that he is eager to finish on a high. And the stage could be written for him.

On Wednesday night, Concord Rangers will return to cauldron Vale. I’m licking my lips. Concord will feel they owe us one. Anyone who was at that game on Thursday 28 March will never forget it.

No-one could really have predicted such a euphoric twist could they?

I see twists

We were just minutes away from impending doom. A season-damaging defeat. In fact, such are the fine lines in football, had we lost it would have been us travelling to Concord for Wednesday night’s play-off semi and not vice-versa.

forum hammering

But boy did we turn it around. And the passion, predictably, boiled over.

The social-media post-game was incredible too. Most felt Concord were the best side to have visited the Vale in recent seasons, and from what I saw, I couldn’t disagree.

Thank God football isn’t always fair.

The ugly scenes of Concord jostling around the referee at the final whistle, to the amusement of the baying Stones, were recorded and retweeted. The scrutiny on non-league football is bigger than ever thanks to Twitter. Everything is recorded and everyone has an opinion. But you certainly have to credit it with adding to the excitement.

Concord will have gone away that night with battered pride. But the age-old cliche never dies. Maybe luck evens itself out?

If it does the Twitteratzi will be hoping revenge isn’t dealt on Wednesday.

The attendance might just top 1,000 and the prize now is even greater. Competitive it will be. And of course for the losers, far crueler than that night in late-March.

The beauty now of the football and social-media marriage is that for Jolly, “piss-take” it may be, he has potentially two games in which he can write himself into folklore. He might not start, it’s probably likely he won’t, but if we find ourselves 0-1 and staring-down-the-barrel at the same scenario we were a month ago there are few better strikers you would want to step off the bench to salvage something.

Like Drogba bowing out at Chelsea, the script is written for Jolly to do something of equally seismic proportions – even if it is from the bench. And if he does, Twitter might just blow up. And Jolly might just demand he starts the final…

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Wealdstone: The Movie

This is the story about the vicious circle of non-league football and the same tired old faces trying to formulate a route back to the plinth. Do they romance the fans through frivolity or do they continue to be frugal in their approach and hope that honesty is finally rewarded? Contains strong language, late turnarounds and inevitable disappointment. 

Wealdstone: The Movie

When anticipation and disappointment often collide.

On a supporters’ front, I remember the nomadic days of Edgware when, as an impressionable young-lad growing up in the 90s, I tried to sell the Wealdstone ‘brand’ to an equally impressionable bunch of school friends. The team was on a crest of the incredible. Successive promotions, exciting players, and some of the greatest pieces of touchline banter I had ever witnessed. My pals bought into that too. Premier League it wasn’t but it offered something that couldn’t be achieved in the upper echelons of the professional game.

And then came the freeze. The team stagnated, Prince Edwards collapsed and baring a magical night in South London sandwiched in-between, the following decade was less than spectacular. Those impressionable young lads were growing into unruly teens and their satisfactions lay away from Wealdstone. They sought other equally seedy past times. The attraction was dead.

You can almost see the movie now. The dark and barren days of winter flashed by; memories of a band of enthused supporters trying to sweep snow from the pitch ahead of a home game against Aveley. Who? Exactly.

Nevertheless, the days of The White Lion Ground had long gone. Northwood offered little solace. It was as dead as the surrounding area.

And then came the present decade but not before the last closed out with a mouth-watering FA Cup tie against league opposition. Read Grosvenor Vale.

It was the best team we had seen in years. Bartlett had assembled a team of young lads who could play attractive passing football. The unruly teens had grown into horny young men, and Wealdstone were satisfying all of their urges. They were coming back in their droves and then some. With optimism came belief and with this came last season’s FA Trophy feast.

But there is only so long that something can keep rising for. The law of psychics dictates: what goes up must come down.

And we pick up the movie in the present day.

While the undoubted hard work of the club’s board has helped sustain the club to this point, I hope we aren’t left to rue the perceived ‘lack-of-ambition’ on the playing front.  (Krais: “We’ve managed this carefully and we are under budget for this year.” )

madness

Porta-loose: ‘money happy’ Whitehawk

This team has no Beckford, it has no Morgan, it has no Baptiste nor Jones. It has no match winners. However, what it does have is a squad of ‘very good’ young footballers. And those ‘very good’ young footballers are attracting increased support and increased interest. The Concord turnaround being an example of a match that tickled the bollocks of all in attendance.

I just hope the board remembers that while sustaining the team long-term, there will be no long-term without supporters, without people that care. This Football Club is in a position to achieve now. And, it would be worth remembering that, without chucking endless money or completely risking the club’s financial stability, a little bit more in the way of a gamblers mentality might well lift the club to the next level but more importantly sustain it long-term. Success this season keeps the positivity that engulfs the club going and brings with it the supporters of tomorrow.

Failure now, on the other hand, and the vicious circle may begin again from the top. It may be another 20-years, many lost supporters and even more hardship, before the club is in the position it finds itself today. Our team, fans + players + staff, now need to ensure today’s current ‘impressionables’ remember something worth coming back for – even when they reach those unruly teenage years.