March Madness

I’ve been trying to get around to writing a post for… Well, since the last one! Ideas flow in and out opportunities come and go but it’s been a period when both have been fleeting – very much ‘each a glimpse and gone for ever’! But this evening I’m finally in the mood to write something and I think I’ll stick with a football theme. In my last post I spoke of our amazing win at Harlow Town. The day after that game I attended a match at a very different level and in rather better weather. I was invited by Reece (one of our players) to photograph the Jubilee Cup Final between Wrongens FC and Port Louis FC over in Edmonton (London – not Canada!). These teams play in the local Sunday League and Reece is assistant manager of the Wrongens. Although the standard of football was not the best there was clear passion with moments of brilliance 🙂 There being no barrier around the pitch, I found myself in close proximity to one of the referee’s assistants for a lot of the game and we shared some friendly chat during quiet moments. Here are some photos from the match…

A 1-0 win for the Wrongens. The Port Louis keeper dropping the ball was the error that gave the Wrongens their winner in an otherwise very even game.

Now a quick look at last Saturday where Wingate & Finchley played host to Potters Bar Town in a local derby match where both teams really needed the win to battle against the risk of relegation. It was a keenly fought game as you would expect and sadly it was also a game in which the referee and his assistants were less than competent although at least they were even-handed about it! Here are some shots from that match…

The Game ended 4-2 to Wingate & Finchley and that lifts us out of the relegation zone for the time being and puts us just one point below Potters Bar. We still have some awkward games ahead of us but the teams below us, especially Harlow Town, look to have more difficult opponents in the run in to the end of the season so if everything runs to form we should be able to avoid being sucked back into the relegation zone. Ironically the key match will probably turn out to be the last one of the season when we play the current bottom side, Burgess Hill Town, for they will have nothing to lose by then and we will possibly still be at risk of relegation! Isn’t supporting a football team fun!!! 😉

It’s a Funny Old Game

The Beautiful Game… Never sure if that epithet is ever more than a press reporter’s dream? Following Wingate & Finchley in the Bostik Premier League has been an interesting experience this season. Back in November when I wrote about our awayday in Tiverton I think I mentioned that we were struggling in the league and that I had chatted with our Chairman about the possibility that we’d be in a relegation battle very soon if things didn’t improve. I, and I suspect this goes for most of the fans at Wingate & Finchley, am not given to the sort of manager / chairman witch hunts that Premier League fans feel they’re entitled to. Things didn’t improve. We had a good run in the FA Trophy but our league performance remained poor. We went through a period when it seemed that the goals against would always be 4! At one stage – after losing 4-0 against Kingstonian at home – I finally lost my rag after the players didn’t even come to the bar after the game to see the fans and called them out on Twitter. That’s a one-off – hadn’t happened before in 14 seasons of supporting the team and is unlikely to happen again. But it serves to illustrate how bad things had become. It says a lot that a couple of the older players did contact me to express their thoughts and I think it was good for us all.

Where do our problems lie? One issue is finance – our club runs on a very short set of bootlaces. On a level playing field this isn’t a problem but there are some club owners that throw money around in their efforts to seek success – last season it was Billericay Town and this time it’s Dorking Wanderers. Money can be a transient thing – the history of non-league divisions is littered with clubs that no longer exist after the rich owner got bored and took the money away. I’d rather accept losing and possibly getting relegated if it guarantees the club being there to support for many years to come.

Another issue is Managers and Chairmen. Our club looks to give young players and new managers a chance to grow in the game. Bringing youth through is what our Chairman stands for and I agree wholeheartedly with his approach. We had Keith Rowland as manager for the previous two seasons and he achieved both the club’s highest ever league finish and most points in a season while he held the reigns. Unfortunately he was unfit to resume this season so we had to seek a new manager at short notice. We signed a team in Nicky Shorey and Glenn Little. Potentially this should have been a good appointment but within 3 weeks Nicky had to leave (Why is personal and not for this forum). Glenn stayed on and did his best. But while we saw some amazing progress in the FA Trophy, our league form was very poor. Eventually, Mr Chairman took the decision to look for another manager and Glenn left. It’s probably the nearest we’ve ever come to a genuine manager sacking – and it was probably done a couple of months later than ideal. The Chairman’s wish to bring forward new managerial talent possibly clouding his judgement on this occasion?

New manager appointed… Well actually it’s old mate David Norman coming back in as Director of Football on a loan from his current team, Rhyl, with Steve Clark as Manager and Franco as assistant. We now have until the end of April to drag ourselves out of the relegation zone. Dave brings Organisation. Steve and Franco bring passion! Saturday saw us hammer fellow relegation strugglers Harlow Town 7-2. Could be the result that sets us on the road back to safety? Oh! and our skipper, Sean Cronin scored a hat trick – which is quite an achievement for a centre back – that’s why Ali is patting him on the head ;-)! Lets see how it goes 🙂

Trucking Digest

After last weeks quick look at Warframe, which I will be posting more about, we’re back in Truck Simulator. Last time I was showing off the Euro6 MAN TGX for our general haul fleet. In the end I couldn’t resist getting a version for our heavy haul division. This is the 640HP 8×4 model. I have done a few runs with her and she’s not as un-manoeuvrable as you might expect. Here she is on her first revenue earning run… Ideally she would normally be exclusively used on loads over 25t but sometimes you have to do fill-in jobs like this run down to Bologna with 23t of beverages… But here she is doing what she was bought for – shifting 60t of special cargo from Linz to Brno with an escort…
..It seems we made the TV news in Wien with our oversized industrial condenser 😉

For these photos she’s finished in a special Performance livery which was available as a mod in the Steam Workshop. Unfortunately the mod providing that livery and also the 100 years of MAN bus and Truck that my other Euro6 TGX was painted in has been removed from the Workshop so both trucks are back in their base liveries again of metallic blue and red. That’s the issue with mods – sometimes they get removed from circulation by the author. They may reappear in the future.

In American Truck I’ve been doing a little old school trucking in the Freightliner FLB. Here she is on a run from Santa Cruz (CA) to Newport (OR), passing through San Francisco on the way, with a light load of new cars…

I intend to do some more old school in Europe too, so that’s something for the next Digest. Have a great day everyone 🙂