4:58pm Monday 17th February 2014
By John Light
Football starvation is affecting us all in different ways.
One reader tells me he was missing information about our player’s new hairstyles. Worry not – the young men who represent us are at the cutting edge of Cotswold fashion. When games restart there will be much to report. You will be kept informed about any further use of “The Brogan Basin”, an essential hairdressing tool.
But of course it is the matches that matter, and the resulting points haul a tough match at Aldershot tomorrow, Tuesday is followed by the home game against Southport and could mean a haul of four points. Any more would be a bonus, but less than three would not help the play-off push.
With games coming thick- and- fast we will soon know if such a push is a realistic ambition. Statistically it could be, but we all know the game is more than facts and figures. Accrue points, keep there or thereabouts until Easter then push on. That must be the Pennock plan.
Too much pressure, as in the Hockaday days, gets to the players. Our new manager has taken that tension away, so we may see some spirited entertaining games. This was beginning to happen before the rain came. It is important our players hit the ground running when they get back to action.
Spurred on by competition for nearly every place I am sure they will be. In what could be a thrilling end to the season a successful marketing ploy could be the offering of a mini-season ticket for the remainder of home games. There are some crackers coming up.
It is a pity we will not be able to listen to The Stroud FM Locker Room as the season comes to a climax. Richard Joyce always provided a programme that was fresh, well researched and balanced. As a broadcaster he has an easy style and appearing with him was a delight and a privilege. I noticed I came out on top with the most special guest appearances on the show. It is very sad that an area as vibrant as the Five Valleys cannot sustain a community radio station.
However, Joycie has a few tricks up his sleeve and is intending to do a podcast.
For many of the players it is now contract time. The offer of a contract for next season does not necessarily mean a swift signing of it. The contract can be the basis of subsequent negotiation, or the player can say thank you, but I will see what else turns up. In some cases the player may wish to leave for personal reasons and will decline the offer. It is an uncertain time for all concerned.
Agents are of course heavily involved and with players able to talk to other clubs if their contracts ends at the end of the season they are especially busy, probably doing most of the talking!
What we can be confident of at FGR is that players want to play for this club, realising its potential. Manager Ady is a cautious man, not willing to hand out deals that are little more than meal tickets. He also knows the value of talking to the players and anyone uncertain of their future will get a fair hearing. It is only right that both footballer and club know where they stand and I am sure this is now the case at The New Lawn.
We will all have our own ideas about who should stay and with plenty of games coming up everyone will have a chance to prove themselves.
Perhaps one lesson has been learned already – the two loan signings from Premier League Clubs (Alabi and Binnom- Williams) did not really cut the mustard. Promising in many ways, they were understandably far from the finished article. We have in the last two years seen teams of talented youngsters not punching their weight. AP is showing us the value of experience, the case of Lee Hughes being a prime example. I expect Luke Oliver will be another.
Back to the Locker Room. Joyce allowed me to play a record of my own choosing, usually from my Doris Day, Guy Mitchell collection. “Heartaches by the Number” by the excellent Mr Mitchell was the last one. I was due to be on air last week and intended to play “Going to build a mountain” by Anthony Newley. We can cant we?
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