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.
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?
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.
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…