After about 18 months away I have decided to get back on the blogging trail once again as I charter my trip throughout the 2015-16 season. Over the past season or two I have attended fewer games than I did when I was in my blogging heyday but I have enjoyed the games I have done far more. Much of my time is still taken up by writing for Sports International magazine and presenting and planning the Women’s World Football show podcast. Both of which I am very happy to say are flourishing as is Women’s football in general. Although I have only been involved in covering the Women’s game since 2012 its grown substantially in that time thus taking up lots of my spare time and capital.
Due to all that I doubt this blog will be as busy as it once was back between 2009 and 2013, but I think that there is scope to get regular 4 or so posts a month on here, maybe more, maybe less. To use a footballing cliché let’s just take every game as it comes eh? There will however be no women’s football reported on here for that is the domain of my other, far more professional outlets.
There used to be a time when there was a definite off season in relation to my footballing activity but with the women’s game running through the summer it really feels like the off season is no more. However this Saturday marked the start of my journey throughout the 15-16 season and it was a nice local one to kick off the party, Retford United v A Chris Waddle XI
It goes without saying that football and pubs are superb bed fellows and coupled with the fact that we have had (by UK standards anyway) a heat wave here in the UK this past week, it made sense to knock back a pint or two before the match then take a brisk walk up to Cannon Park for the match.
Today’s entry fee was the standard £5 with no programme produced. Over the past couple of seasons I have cut down on non Lincoln/Sheffield United programmes due to the fact that most with some notable exceptions, (Stavley for example) have gone down the pan quality wise yet up in price. For the record I have no problem when the price rises with quality of written content but when the price goes up and the quality (note quality not quantity) goes down then that’s taking the piss somewhat and while this is disappointing, sadly I can kind of understand it. Programme sales are in decline at almost all clubs so there is often little motivation for editors to put together detailed programmes when at some levels they will only be read by a handful of people. I also know it’s not the easiest thing in the world to put a programme together. What I would advise editors is that a good programme doesn’t have to have 100 pages. The trick is to optimize the space you have. You can write an interesting article in about 400 words or so. A couple of those, league tables, stats, blurb from the manager/chairman and the jobs a good one as they say. That’s pretty much all folks want. A shiny cover and 10 pages of crap with out of date league tables and text written in size 36 characters won’t cut the mustard I am afraid.
It is always encouraging for a manager when he has a good turnout to the first training session of the season and likewise it was great to see we had a full complement of Retford Imps. Indeed Felice and Lee were already at Cannon Park when I arrived with the latter sporting a rather dodgy looking shirt. Looking around there were quite a few dodgy blue and white striped shirts. Chris Waddle was a legend for Sheffield Wednesday in the 90’s after scoring a spawny goal v the Blades at Wembley in an FA Cup semi final and he can still pull the fans in. It was great to see him more than happy to pose for pictures with the kids (and not so little kids eh Lee?) Baz joined us shortly before kick-off and much hatching of plans for the season and piss taking ensued for the remainder of the afternoon.
As with pre season games nobody seemed to know anything about any of the players on show for either side so it was a case of just enjoying the weather and the game. The first half finished 0-0 with both sides creating a few half chances but nothing more.
Retford United have had a pretty chaotic time of things as of late (well the past 7 years or so is more accurate) but it looks like things could be a little more stable than they have been over the past couple of seasons which is great for the town. Some fantastic news has been the addition of Mr Dave Whathall to the sports club committee. Truth of the matter is this should have happened a long time ago as Dave has a wealth of experience in the game stretching back to watching Spurs do the double in 61. He also has his pulse firmly on the groundhopping scene so it will be interesting to see him bring his knowledge and forward thinking vision to the club. He could well be the badger’s signing of the season. I only caught a brief word with him at HT but he seemed on fine form. Keep up the great work old chap.
The second half was much better that the first. Retford took the lead with a great first time shot that slipped under the advancing keeper. Retford had the chance to go 2 up but the chap in goal for the Waddle XI pulled off a fantastic save to his left. Moments later it was 2-0 when a long range shot was deflected past the keeper into the bottom right hand corner. The XI weren’t beaten though as they pulled one back through a penalty then drew level as I was having a piss. No idea what the goal was like but the fact that I have attended one game and missed one goal due to my bladder isn’t a great sign.
Over the years I have learnt its pretty pointless trying to learn anything from these kind of games and the earlier in pre season they come the less you can read from it. I am sure the Retford manager and players will have been grateful for the game and it was a decent enough work out for all involved. A bit like the blog post really. It’s good to be back and hopefully more will follow. It won’t be for a couple of weeks though as I fly to the USA Thursday morning so the next game on here will be the LA Galaxy v the San Jose Earthquakes.
Over and out.