AN AWAY win, a clean sheet, three points! Welcome to the wonderful world of Ady Pennock.

In the close season manager Ady stamped his mark firmly on the team. He bought strength, height and above all toughness. No longer would we be physical or mental pushovers; any team that this season beats Forest Green will know they have done so by overcoming a side that never gave up.

A more combatative Rovers’ approach was flagged up at the Fans’ Forum.

“This season we are going to be more in your face” was how the manager put it, also stressing how hard the squad had worked to get fit. 

Some matches, like the one on Saturday will not be pretty but if the bottom line is three points does that matter?

A match is won by scoring the most goals, not by making the most passes. We now have a manager who realises this basic fact.

His selected Southport team surprised many, and shocked a few, and I suggest this will happen throughout the season. Ady has already said that all his squad are ready and capable of first team football. He sees them all week and can assess niggles or ailments.

He will know who is ‘up for it’ on a match day. There will be player rotation and perhaps horses for courses. Change, for change sake will not been on the agenda, picking a team to win each individual match will.

The manager knows he will have his work cut out to keep every player happy but accepts this is part of his job. Not wanting complacent players, happy to quietly serve out their contracts, he expects everyone to want to play each week. For this to happen we may see some players move on. All of us will have our own ideas as to who they may be.

Listening to our manager after matches and at the Fans’ Forum I am increasingly admiring of his communication skills. The videos produced by SNJ Ash are proof of this and these skills will be of special use in dealing with players who are not selected.

The Pennock approach, an approach that is splendidly supported by Dale can be very simply expressed. It is not rocket science – it can be summed up in two words – COMMON SENSE.

The manager looked at the situation, assessed it and in the close season has worked hard to put things right. Time of course will tell, but I think there is every reason to be confident.

Now to a fine answer given by our chairman at the Fans’ Forum.

The question concerned his hopes for the club and of course the possibility of moving the ground. Dale was quite clear and totally realistic. The only way for the club to become sustainable was to move into the Football League. That would bring more income (TV money, sponsorship, etc) and there would be bigger crowds.

A new ground, perhaps near the motorway may then be needed. A dream perhaps, but one that is simmering on the back-burner. On Thursday evening it was clear both men shared that dream. If this season is to belong to anyone I suggest it will be Vince and Pennock. They have achievable goals backed by a common sense approach.

I am hopeful these words also apply to the trustees and members of the Supporters’ Club. I value my membership of the latter and know there are good people in both groups. There has been pre-season talk of these bodies amalgamating. In a club of our size surely this is essential.

Working together they can achieve so much more. Anyone who is opposed to this happening needs to look hard at their reasons, and perhaps even their motives for keeping the groups separate.

Now is the time for one healthy, vibrant group to emerge, matching what we all want to happen on the field.

Congratulations to clubman of the year Richard Joyce on his full-time role at FGR. Joycie has worked his socks off for this opportunity.

Finally, see you on Tuesday at home to Chester and Alfreton on Saturday.