It must be a hot summer’s Sunday, because a new WHAK is out. Hooray.
As you put down your Pimms and fight off the bastard flying ants, it’s almost impossible to imagine that the first PSF is under a fortnight away. It does seem though that games at KM will be a little bit easier now they’ve rebanked the West Bank end. Also appears that the club realises how shit the JS view is…
Anyway, signings. As the world finally knows now, Ricky Wellard has signed. Ashford’s announcement came a bit too soon for AFCW, who finally announced it when all the paperwork had been signed and sealed. In amongst all this, there’s also mention of Steven Gregory’s transfer not going to a tribunal. Now, admittedly I forgot we even signed him, but at least we should avoid the Chris Sullivan farce from last season…
Not mentioned anywhere (yet), but it seems like we’ve signed Brett Johnson from Northampton. OK, he sounds like an Aussie Rules Football player – oh, wait – but he may have been at training yesterday. He certainly was at the Fun Day yesterday afternoon though. In fact, the shots of him with Quiche, Wellard and Derek Duncan does seem to suggest they all look relaxed and happy to be here. Could have been the heat though.
Assuming it’s all confirmed and all that, it does signify just what sort of surplus L2 player TB is after. Johnson is 23, has a bit of experience but perhaps didn’t get the run-out he maybe needs. He’s a centre back too. Oh, and he was at Brentford and played for TB at Aldershot.
There might be more raised eyebrows at yet another youngster in our ranks. While one hopes we do get an older head in, that doesn’t always translate to improving the team. A more experienced player will either be willing to impart his knowledge to an eager young squad, or he’ll end up being a costly waste of space, demotivated and only there for the paycheck. Think Jason Goodliffe, and then think Grazioli. If the former isn’t available, we shouldn’t waste our time with the latter.
I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see more than two additional players come in, especially from L2 (and especially if they’re in the BJ mould). Providing it doesn’t put a massive hole in the budget, we’ll need a decent squad for next season anyway. And it might prevent certain players thinking they just have to turn up each week…
The other thing from WHAK is SW19’s favourite subject right now – TV rights. I think more people must have read the various goings on from this site alone than ever watched Setanta to begin with. At least SW19 wouldn’t have spent more than Â£10 on the Prem rights though.
Anyway, the club says it’ll be OK with the fallout. Nothing we didn’t know already, if truth be told. What us fans didn’t know until today was that it was pretty likely if our first game was at KM, it would be on the Friday night. Well, we were asked “informally”, which basically meant that the fixture bloke was going to give us Luton Town first game of the season.
Not only that, but we had been advised that as a side with a decent away following more of our games would be moved for midweekers. This came from a “chairman of a leading Blue Square Premier club”, so obviously nobody from Woking. Now, I’m sure we can imagine the fallout from that, although your editor would rather welcome a few Saturdays free…
Those celebrating games being at Saturday at 3pm next season may wish to pipe down a little bit though, if the NLP today has any accuracy. Martin James, the guy representing Sport360 (the BSP’s ad agency) reckons there may be a TV deal after all. To quote:
There are a number of broadcasters in serious contention, and they are the kind of people who all the clubs would want us to be talking to. We’re not talking Top-Up TV or anything like that. Is there a chance it could be free to air? Yes, there is.
Needless to say, this is all at the phone-around-and-gauge-initial-interest stage. The face-to-face meetings start next week, according to the report, so time will tell if this is all bullshit. If we’re feeling generous and take Sport360 at its word, it does show that the relatively cheap price of the BSP is rather attractive to a potential broadcaster. It certainly does confirm the theory that a Wrexham v Chester fixture next season would be of interest. And from what I’ve seen of the BSP in recent years, the standard of football isn’t much worse than League 2.
Of course, the problem for the Conf itself is what will get broadcasters to sign up. James continues:
“If someone was to offer me Â£3m to show 10 games or slightly less, but offer to show 50 games I would take the larger amount of games. It’s not my decision, it’s the league’s. But profile is very important to me and it should be for the clubs. I’ve got six sponsors lined up for next year, including two or three new ones. But every one of them is reliant on TV, and the larger the amount of games the better.”
The Conf is in a bit of a Catch 22 here.They need the most high-profile TV channel they can get (as in, a Sky/ESPN/BBC type broadcaster) but those broadcasters only want the AFCW v Luton type fixtures. With all due respect to the likes of Handy and Grays, even the cheapest TV deal will only take them on as a contractual obligation.
Next week, if such a TV deal does happen, the loss of Setanta will really start to hit home. Even getting 30 BSP games a season will put some noses out of joint. For some clubs, it will be the ultimate case of, “you’re not important enough”. No wonder some club chairman were trying to get the defibrillator working on Setanta’s body even after it was confirmed clinically dead…
Anyway, SW19 is hoping that Sky take up the BSP rights again, if only to use the term “skyjacking” whenever fixtures are moved for TV.
Speaking of fixtures, WHAK states that it’s unlikely we’ll be playing on the 14/15th July, so we’ll get a “training game”. Whatever that is. Also, and to bring people out in a cold sweat, there will be a number of triallists at pre-season training. Which basically means anyone who goes to any midweek fixtures will play the usual game of spot-the-recognisable-player – a special prize for anyone who can identify more than two of them.
If AFCW has any humanity, it will give us ample warning of triallist games to save the therapy needed afterwards. All it needs to do is just advertise the fixture with “AFCW XI”….