12:11pm Monday 6th January 2014
By John Light
WELCOME Jerome Binnom-Williams and Lee Hughes and congratulations to manager Ady in seeing a need and swiftly acting.
One goal in four games indicated a lack of a cutting edge and the game at Hereford showed a short term replacement for Chris Stokes was needed. Jerome, here for a month, has the pedigree to cover the huge gap caused by the injury to Chris. He can attack as well as defend and could be a fine asset.
The signing of Lee Hughes gives a sharpness to a blunt attack. The willing Danny Wright has lost form and goal touch and our goals look most likely to come from midfield where Kelly and Norwood always threaten. Matty Taylor and Reece Styche will be able to learn much from Lee.
I have no problem about signing him. His life could have gone downhill after his release from prison but football has played a proper part in his rehabilitation. Popular with two previous clubs for all the right reasons he will have much to offer Rovers.
It is quite obvious Ady values experienced players, whereas the previous manager was happier with young or, perhaps less assertive ones.
Dave Hockaday stated we had problems because we were a young side but never gave Luke Graham, Chris Todd and Andy Sandell the chance to put that right. Sandell was here briefly, but we must remember he came direct from a league club and became a subsequent success at Newport. More recently there was the case of Paul Green, banished to Hereford on loan and ignored on his return, just because of one mistake in a pre-season friendly. The signs now are that the squad are happy and united.
What about Andy Mangan? This is what I am sure many of you are saying. I cannot enlighten you, but am well aware there is sometimes a proper need for secrecy.
During my involvement with Gloucestershire two experienced players were long term absentees, remaining on the payroll. To protect one player misinformation was released, nothing was said in the case of the other. In both cases the Professional Cricketers Association were most helpful, working closely with the club. A way forward was eventually found, but everyone needed patience.
Mine ran out over the Aldershot postponement. Rain had fallen, was falling and more was forecast. There were obvious doubts the fixture was in danger.
Aldershot did nothing, awaiting the attendance of the match referee who was late. He then made the inevitable decision. A last minute deluge can sometimes happen, but this was not the case at Aldershot. The club were casual in not anticipating what could happen. Too many of us were caused considerable inconvenience.
Contrast that with the proper approach shown by our club when Salisbury were due to visit. Prompt and proper action was taken, so thanks to all concerned.
The Conference governing body should bring all clubs up to speed regarding early inspections. It would save many of us being let down yet again.
Another question for our Conference leaders. What is being done about pushing for three up – three down? In the 25 years I have been watching Conference football the standard has risen consistently.
Promoted clubs hold their own easily and now is the time to really push for an extra club to be promoted, yet the silence from our Conference leadership is deafening. Is the view turkeys will not vote for Christmas being meekly accepted? So many would vigously support the campaign that before long the turkeys will be plucked, dressed and oven ready. Give us a lead please.
News of incoming players has given cause for optimism and obviously there may be movements out. However with players on top money and good contracts who will be keen to go? Ady has a real problem in trimming the squad so we must not expect too much movement unless a 'Jon Batty' deal is done.
Surrey County Cricket Club were anxious to unload wicketkeeper Jon and when he signed a three year contract with Gloucestershire they paid a fair proportion of his salary, decreasing year by year. We were therefore able to afford him. Whatever happens I feel we shall go into the New Year with a slimmer, trimmer squad.
Happily the much loved drum has been repaired by Rovers fan and rock drummer Richard Chandler. We all await it being banged in triumph.
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