RYMAN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CHAMPIONS 2004/05
Now, doesn’t that read nicely? In fact, while it’s probably gone by now, there’s a rather nice thing on the BBC website that proclaims us, in big fonts, as earning our second championship in a row.
Most of what I said after Dorking about us winning promotion still stands, and isn’t worth repeating. Actually, yes it is:
“We will be playing Ryman Premier football next season. Looks good, doesn’t it? Finally, we will get mentioned on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday. Finally, we’ll be displayed on Sky Sports News and on their live scores service on the Internet. It seems right that we’re going to be playing in a division that more people have heard of. It’s now time we can justifiably get out the maps for next season. Where is Heybridge? What’s the parking like at Wealdstone? How far is it to walk to Leyton FC from Leyton tube station? “
In all seriousness, I am really going to get a kick out of the first game of next season with the Sky Sports News streaming news type thingy displaying our name on it every Saturday. In fact, I’m going to set the SW19 DVD recorder just to hear Jeff Stelling announce our name and result. This may sound sad, but I don’t think it is. Probably the thing I’ve missed from WFC days is recognition. Not in a sort of “fans united” way – getting props from people like the FSF is nice but not exactly earth shattering – but getting our name on regular media.
Be honest, since we went off the proverbial radar, how many sports pages of national newspapers have you bothered to read? How many times have you watched highlight shows of the Premiership or the Championship? In time, we’ll be getting slightly more regular press. And never underestimate the power of seeing your team’s name in lights – after all, your editor started supporting Wimbledon because he watched Grandstand, saw WFC’s name on the results and thought “Hey, that’s my local club”…
As for this year’s championship, it hasn’t been welcomed with the mass hysteria last year saw. It’s obvious why everyone was so happy 12 months ago, but if anything winning this year was a far bigger achievement. It could have gone very wrong. Importing in DA was a big risk, but he’s done his job and is probably our best manager of our brief history. Think about it – we have had almost a new squad, with the risks new signings entail – and yet still have lost only three times this season. OK, the football hasn’t been the most pleasing to watch, but the means have justified the ends. One thing, if the CCL was the exception, the R1 is the rule…
Speaking of which, The Kids 1 Fascist Bully Boys 0 is a bit hard to write up in itself. Admittedly, missing the last 20 minutes didn’t help me – read the NLP’s Sussex League section today – but once we went in front after about four minutes it just seemed over as a contest. Don’t know why.
It’s easier just to mention what did happen. Shane Smeltz scored one, then the referee disallowed it for the most dubious offside decision since the infamous “second phase” goal that Wycombe scored against us (and no, I still haven’t forgotten. Or forgiven). Shane Smeltz scored again, and amazing it did count. Though it did seem to happen in slow motion. Leon McD ran for everything, and got mostly everything. And could consider himself unlucky to not be on the scoresheet. The Met looked a bit more lively in the second half, but I don’t really think that they were going to score. And you can fill in the rest of the details yourself 🙂
Oh, and Danny Naisbitt played. No further comment necessary.
Plus points: Winning the Championship. Leon McD’s bestest game in the whole wide world ever. Shane Smeltz scoring once. Shane Smeltz scoring again and this time having the goal counted.
Minus points: DN still scares me
The referee’s a…..: Steven Cook. Now to be renamed Steven Cock. His performance at Sutton was apparently abysmal, his performance yesterday was definitely worse than that. He used to be so good at CCL level. But then, the CCL did make distinctively average performers look world class (no comment about Kevin Cooper). Suffice to say, Shane S’ disallowed goal was given as offside, despite the Kiwi Womble passing to himself in the buildup.
Them: Insert all cop jokes. Let’s see how many times Leon McD gets stopped and searched now. It was nice to see the away side come all coloured up, they even bought their own official team transport with them.
Womble reject: Yesterday saw Kevin Cooper return to AFCW. Can we finally lay the “Kevin Cooper should still be playing for AFCW” thing to rest now? Yesterday, he was anonymous – whether he felt uncomfortable playing at KM again is something only one person can answer – and indeed hasn’t set the world alight in R1. Put it like this – if he was half as good as people think he was, he would have scored at least one against us. In short, he had his chance to stick it to us and didn’t. And remember kids – he was the only player who felt the need for a contract even before DA saw him play….
Point to ponder: A lot of people don’t rate Smeltz. Why? OK, he doesn’t get stuck in, admittedly, but he does at least know where the goal is, as two of his three strikes yesterday proved. And as we’ve been told so many times, teams in R1 are more into kicking the man than the ball. To my mind, he’s like Dean Holdsworth, you wonder why he’s playing but his goals prove it to you. Remember that he is an international, and I don’t subscribe to the logic some AFCW fans have that a player is automatically crap if they’re not scoring 10 goals a game in R1.
Come to think of it, we might do all right next season up front. As it stands, we have the not-so-much-maligned Richard Butler. If his performance yesterday is a sign of things to come, then we’ll be fighting off bids for Leon McD. And yes, Shane Smeltz will be a good asset if he’s allowed to settle.
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) The sight of those yellow/blue policemen helmets, as modelled above. Given out on the Walk For Wimbledon II thing. My respectful nature prohibits me from making any sort of comment whatsoever. (2) Speaking of WFW2, about 300 turned up to do it. There is no truth in the rumour that 200 of them did it because walking from Wimbledon to KM was quicker than the rail replacement bus. (3) Dean Martin at half time. Why? I know that Tony Christie is making a comeback, but still. Who next? Matt Monroe singing “I’ll walk with God”? (4) What was the tune that the Met came out to? All I know is that the Clash covered it, when they weren’t ripping off paying homage to reggae music. Shame really it wasn’t that song by NWA.
Franchise watch: Haven’t done one of these in ages, as their ability to draw games recently has put me off writing about it. Can’t think why. Anyway, they lost 1-0 to Torquay yesterday and look in very lovely looking danger again. Their away support now has really increased. In fact, so big that Torquay gave over the away support section to, er, Gulls fans. Never mind. One thing – as funny as Franchise going down again would be, anyone else worry that they might do all right in League Two? The thought of Wankelmann, Scriven and that dumb bent bitch Dr syPhylis Starkey MP (what’s she a doctor of anyway? Witchcraft?) larging it up after scraping a win past Leyton Orient next season isn’t going to keep my dinner down..
Anything else? Yes. Call me a miserable bastard, but can we stop doing that Delia Smith drunken slobber thing please? It was mildly amusing when she first did it, and even then only because it was a “did she really just do that?” thing, but now it’s quite tedious. The only people who can still find it justifiably funny are Ipswich fans. Other than that, it’s the sort of thing that Tim Lovejoy and Soccer AM will fill their shite programme with for the next five years. And I’d rather wipe my arse and find blood on the toilet paper than listen to that….
So, was it worth it? Champions
In a nutshell: Champions