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 🙂


A Photo a Week Challenge: Meme-worthy Photos

In Reservoir Dogs style, the Wingate & Finchley Media guys and the Blue Army Ultras head for the stand behind the goal. There’s some confusion about who is Mr. Blue 😉

Catch up with Nancy’s Challenge Here.

A Photo a Week Challenge: Depth of Field

If you read Nancy’s post you will find the factors involved in limiting depth of field explained. The f-stop description is as Nancy says – counter intuitive. The key to understanding is that f-stops are a ratio with smaller numbers indicating a wider opening to let light in. One of the best ways of understanding this is to view the number as being the number of holes of that size that would fit on your film so 2.8 is, by definition, a much bigger hole than the hole that would fit onto your film 16 times. f-stops have been around a long time and the direct correlation to film / sensor size no longer exists. Nancy mentioned that focal length also plays a part in the depth of field – it’s worth adding that cropped sensors affect your lens focal length compared to full frame sensors and therefore also have an effect on the depth of field in your final image. I hope my additional thoughts help.

Limiting depth of field is a technique used in sports photography to isolate the action from the background. Thus, you will find many sports photographers shooting using aperture priority to keep the depth of field small whilst adjusting the ISO setting to maintain a suitable shutter speed. Some photographers will shoot with the lens wide open – I tend to try and use somewhere between f4 and f5 because sometimes I find that f2.8 is a bit too tight for my subject matter. Of course when it gets dark and I’m photographing under the poor quality floodlights at a non-league football match then I have to resort to shutter priority and adjust the ISO to get reasonable exposures at the widest aperture – such is the life of a football photographer 😉 Here’s a couple of shots from a recent match at Leatherhead – one of action and one of a couple of stewards…