I suppose I can say that at least I made it as far as Leigh Delamare westbound services…
So, to nobody’s surprise, Newport got called off at 1pm today. You can guess where I was when I found out the news, and to be honest there was so much doubt beforehand that perhaps it might have been better announcing it last night.
Have you noticed that whenever we play in the border town on the other side of the Severn, the weather is always a problem? The storm in the Conference South opening game, that snow storm in the Conference, and now two games that you can blame Noah and his sodding boat for.
Reading the Cewnty forum, it sounds like there was surface water to the point that it was now coming up from the pitch onto the surface. Although this is pretty startling to look at, though considering the weather they had there last night matched the crap those in Londinium had to put up with earlier this morning
And as I type this, apparently it’s pissing down there again.
The next attempt, presumably as an aspiration rather than a firm date, is February 25th (no other midweek dates until April available, apparently). Though that of course relies on there being no rain whatsoever from now until then…
So that’s two postponements in similar circumstances at the same venue. Somehow I get the feeling we won’t be playing at Rodney Parade this season. Question is, where?
In these sort of cases, I’m not sure what the FL can do. Force them to play all their games away? Threaten them with expulsion from the 91 Club unless they sort out alternative digs pronto?
They left Spytty because the pitch wasn’t good enough (oh, the irony), and moving it to Cardiff sounds tempting but I’m sure the local heddlu are going to love that. Mind you, if NA can’t pull a few tricks with Cardiff City, I didn’t know that Cardiff Arms Park was still standing and looking decent.
And if the rugger types get all sniffy like they usually do, there’s a suitable alternative next door…
Anyway, that’s not our problem. And to be honest, I’m glad we told Cewnty to do one when they tried to get us to switch it to KM tonight. Maybe if that was to count as our “away” game and we still had the home game on Good Friday, we could have been tempted.
It does prove that clubs really need to be allowed to take more advantage of pitch technology, especially 3G. Maidstone United seem to have come a cropper with the Conference over this sort of thing (and their little aside that the Conf board “did not exactly go out of their way to ensure that the facts and figures on 3G were made available officially” makes me seriously glad AFCW is out of non-league football), and those who went to the ladies game down there a couple of months ago say how much better the field is these days.
KM has many faults, but at least our pitch drains properly – even if for certain games it would have been better getting called off 😉 As for today’s debacle, to be honest I’m not massively upset that we’ve got a free evening.
Obviously getting Saturday out of our system is important, but given the injury to Fuller and the flu virus that wouldn’t have fully gone by now, I think we could have been looking at our third straight loss down in South Wales tonight.
If Cewnty knew about NA’s tactics, they wouldn’t have worried about the sodden area around one end of the pitch – it’s not as though any of our strikers will be in the opposition penalty area to begin with.
We know that the players have had a bit of a bollocking, but it won’t harm them to have this week off to let them stew a bit more.Â And I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks next time an opposition player should aim at Sammy Moore’s larynx.
This does give us more time for our Cup Final on Saturday, at Fratton Park. Assuming that is still on, of course, and if it does get called off – I wonder if we’ll take our allocation for the re-arranged game?
It wouldn’t be a bad time to kickstart things again, because since we gubbed them 4-0 at KM it feels like we’ve lived off that result ever since. That may have been the last time we properly played well, and they have no excuse not to perform again.
I’m surprised at how people quickly seemed to get over Rochdale (Oxford was so expected that it was pointless getting worked up about it), but once again NA and co are going to be coming under pressure again to get results.
We had two unconvincing wins, before we went to the Kassam, which if nothing else proves that if you do win a game, you should always enjoy it (as too many of our fans weren’t doing) – gift horses and mouths spring to mind here.
While our management team are doubtlessly re-working training ground schedules, they’ve got a bit of a lucky break here. One thing we have managed to do this season is that even when we haven’t been winning games, we haven’t been losing so many that it becomes a problem.
It may sound concerning to read that people like Pell and (especially) Francomb are playing like horseshit. And in the latter’s case, it just once again prove the SW19 theory that we should never sign former players (although if Wyke and Hylton were to become permanent in the summer…).
But then, if long stretches of awful football, dubious tactics, the odd gubbing and the odd decent victory is what the rest of the season will bring us, that puts us in line with 90% of the division.
And unlike Newport, at least we actually play games to find that out.
Two other bits of news today. The first one is that Mick Buckley has joined the Football Club Board. To be honest, I don’t know who he is, although he was co-opted onto the DTB last time out and was the former CEO of CNBC Europe.
Obviously, any moves to further “professionalise” things can only be good, although I still think the football bit of Football Club Board could do with a bit more to it.
Finally, and this really did come out of the blue – goodbye Tempest and hello Admiral. Yes, we have new kit makers, and ones you’ve heard of as well.
To be honest, I can’t say I’ll be that upset to see Tempest go. Although they were with us from 2002, and they certainly helped us out in the early days, there was always a sense that we could do better than them.
I rarely touched their merchandise, but they never got fulsome praise from those who did (my mum knows a lot about sewing, and she always said how consistently poorly made their garb was).
I guess the writing was on the wall for them when they stopped their stand sponsorship, and the design-the-kit competitions always seemed to look like a pigs ear when they finally produced them. Added that it sounds like we’ve been looking for a new maker for the last eighteen months, and we’ve now made that step up.
Exciting times ahead on the fashion front, though. From next season, we’ll be wearing the bods who made this. And this. And this more contemporary one.
And, er, this.
The initial reaction is a very, very positive one. Somebody somewhere else even linked to a kit from 2011, and if it’s as nice as that one I imagine it could be a very popular seller.
It does also appear that we can now kiss goodbye to the kit design competitions that always seemed to end up being more hassle than they were worth. I can’t say we’ll miss them, and I’d rather let those who know how to design (and make) them do so.
Admiral were of course responsible for one of the best kits of the WFC era (sorry I couldn’t find a bigger one). Think only the Puma ones were better, and at least people have heard of them.
It seems that Admiral themselves are looking to relaunch in the UK, and anyone who goes in Sports Direct will testify, most branded stuff is effectively the badge name only.
If the design is good, the quality matches, and they can supply it quickly and efficiently, then it’s a good match. Since we stopped selling the O’Neills rugby shirts from a while ago, there’s never been that much in the way of merchandise that has looked anything beyond darts pub leagues, so this is hopefully another step in the right direction.
One thing I would hope we start doing, especially as we will now have a proper kit manufacturer, is that we start putting the shirt into local shops. We’re launching it at Centre Court, and whatever sports shops are in there I would hope get at least a token stock of shirts in.
If we can persuade the more casual fan – and those who just simply like to wear football shirts as fashion items – to at least look at one of our shirts in a sports shop rather than a Chelski one, that’s growing the brand awareness of the club.
Currently, it’s always been a bit self-contained, like a boutique shop. If you want a shirt, or a t-shirt, you either have to shop online or go when the shop is open (never on matchdays).
I would hope Admiral have told the club that if you want to grow people’s awareness of AFCW, you have to come to them rather than expect them to come to us. Put it this way – how many people around here “support” Chelski by simply wearing a shirt they picked at DW Sports?
Not to mention that if you see one of our shirts in a shop away from KM, you would have a little bit of pride in seeing one on display. Like we used to when the WFC-era Admiral shirts started popping up in SW19.
And no, I’m not going to buy one…