10:24am Monday 2nd December 2013
By John Light
NOW we can dream again! Four league wins out of five and a proper approach to the FA Trophy. Play-offs and Wembley seem closer each game.
The Pennock approach is pragmatic. Ady knows how to achieve results and is certainly achieving some. So much of what he says is sound and sensible, there being no meaningless forecasts, just steady progress on the football front.
It all started with Scott Bartlett’s first match in charge. “I picked a team that would work hard and win the game,” said Scott, and so they did.
The new manager has tweaked a few things but has stuck basically with the same players and that has meant we have seen Paul Green playing again. Paul had been blamed for the goal scored by Brackley in a pre-season friendly and, despite his obvious attributes, had been side-lined. Scott brought him back and he has played ever since. Dave Hockaday wrote off too many senior players and his treatment of them, in terms of team selection was one of his greatest mistakes. Was prozone another?
After commentating on the match at Welling I was told that over 400 successful passes had been made and there had been 13 attempts on goal. These statistics proved we were the better side. The game was lost 5-2. Surely those figures were more important. When asked about Prozone the new manager said he preferred to use his own eyes. Hooray!
As well as using his own eyes he is opening mine. His words on formations are sensible in the extreme and he knows that if we have to grind out results to get to where we should be so be it. This column has one regular critic. I can see now he was and is right. Well done Michael, and apologies.
Of course we have too many players and the manager does not wish them to be sitting in the stand watching matches and not playing. Getting rid of them will not be easy. Who will match their wages and length of contract. We may see players leaving either permanently or on loan with FGR still paying a percentage of their wages. Whatever happens finding the optimum number of players will not be easy.
Initially I was surprised to hear the comments on the strength of the squad being lower than expected. However after some thought I can see the wisdom of those remarks. A strong squad, however managed, would have achieved better results.
However good our players are they are obviously having to work hard and perform to earn selection – reputations will count for nothing. Of course this is just as it should be but did it happen until Scott picked the team?
My recent holiday gave me plenty of time to study the league table and the more I did so the more confident I became. Cambridge, Luton and Kidderminster must be bankers for a top five position. Nuneaton and Alfreton deserve every credit for being where they are but there must be questions about their ability to stay the course.
Grimsby are still in both cup competitions which may sabotage their league season, however I see Barnet and Gateshead as real threats, but ones we can overcome. “Time to stand up and be counted,” says today’s Non League Paper. Are we not doing exactly that?
I wonder if the FA is. There have been rumours of match fixing for some time but no sign of action from the game’s governing body. The recent scenario has come to a head because of evidence from the betting industry and as a result of a newspaper investigation. The evidence of a laissez-faire attitude from the game’s governing body is considerable. As paying punters we deserve better. Action please!
Cricket is now getting matters right but were slow to start and again it was bookmakers and press who exposed the problem. Now the games realises young players can be influenced by senior ones and the ECB and the Players Association are working to stop this. It was interesting to read Colin Peake was impressed with what the summer game is now doing. He was right to be but it could and should have been done sooner. Firm and speedy action please football authorities. Do not let us down.
Firm and speedy action is exactly what we are seeing at our football club and I am sure we shall see some surprises before the season is out, not least James Norwood’s hair colour. I am told it was blonde on Saturday! Yes – perhaps I am dreaming but Wembley is in reach isn’t it? And Division Two?
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