Wednesday 27 July 2022

Women Lead The Way!

Another fine performance by the England Women's football team has seen them reach the finals of the Euros. Well done to them and let's hope they can get one more win to cap an excellent campaign.

With each passing game (no pun intended) they have increasingly captured the nation's imagination and their profile has been raised.

At the same time, our women's cricket team has continued to perform brilliantly this summer. They have equally displayed high levels of skill and performances. Apart from a washed out test match they have swept South Africa aside in every game.

Both teams have raised more than just the profile of their sports. They have increased the overall awareness of sport and highlighted just what can be achieved by girls and women. 

Aside from the great skill and togetherness that has been displayed, it's wonderful to see how much the players actually enjoy the game. They play with smiles on their faces and mistakes aren't viewed as being the end of the world.

The sport is played with great sportsmanship and there is a real love of the game. I hope it's more than just nostalgia that makes me appreciate this. It's so refreshing!

I recall that when growing up footballers, cricketers and indeed most sports folk, would have a smile and a laugh. What has changed that that is rarely the case? 

I can only put it down to money. Women's sport has typically received less funding and prize money than men's. I believe that the highest paid women's footballer or cricketer is getting no more than £250k (there won't be many) per year. Per year!

These days it's a common salary per week for a Prem player!

If we hope to see the fun and enjoyment return to men's sport then that would need to be addressed. Sadly, it's not going to happen is it. Money is the master and it's has delivered the unlevel playing field that sees the same teams challenging and in respect of football, clubs yo-yoing between the top two tiers.

It's been a long time in the making but finally, we are starting to see the rewards of the investment that has gone into women's sport.

Ian Wright was spot on with his post match comments and if schools and clubs aren't already promoting girls sport, then now they should use this success as the catalyst to do so. Failure to do so is a real missed opportunity.

I've been involved in junior and school sport for some years. Sadly, there have been many examples where the girls teams don't get the same attention and focus as the boys. 

In some instances the main P.E. teacher would attend the boys games but you'd see another, less qualified member of staff at the girls. That's shocking but I'm pleased to say that in my experience, finally, that is improving.

It's ironic that it seems it's the old enemy that stands in the way of our football and cricket teams. I suspect that England will face Germany and Australia respectively in the finals of the Euros and the Commonwealth Games.

Let's hope that both can be successful. If not, no problem because they are already winners as will be the future generations of girls and women who now have people to aspire to and hopefully, develop a lifelong love of sport!



Monday 25 July 2022

Strikers Needed!

Less than a week to go before the season kicks off. How is the team shaping up in what for owner Thomas Sandgaard at least is a very critical one?

Not great is my immediate view. The summer has seen quite a turnover in players with more going out than coming in. Ironically, given the current industrial unrest we seem to be the only ones unable to attract any strikers!

Burstow, Washington and Davison have all departed with no one coming in to replace them.

Having known we’d still be in the third tier well before the end of last season, I fail to see why we have not addressed this. After all, we knew Burstow and Washington were going before we kicked off against Ipswich in the final game.

Sandgaard made much of not repeating the recruitment errors of the previous summer but here we are again looking desperate in our need to get at least one attacked through the door.

Surely we had identified several players but we haven’t secured anyone. This may be down to Thomas being reluctant to spend a realistic amount of money to do so. After all, we haven’t spent a penny on any player in this window.

Garner has stated that we may well not get anyone in before the end of the transfer window. What preparation is that!

The best and in fact (due to Aneke’s injury) only striker we have striker we have seems uncomfortable in the gaffer’s preferred formation.

That we have failed to score in the games against Sutton and Swansea (you can’t count an O.G.) is a real cause for concern.

As promising as Miles Leaburn is and we all, particularly those of us who recall his dad’s playing days with great affection, want him to succeed. However, it’s unrealistic to expect him to play week in and week out. He needs to be played sparingly.

I hope that he and Kanu aren’t viewed as cheap options when neither is fully ready for full campaign in the League One.

Whilst I think Garner’s desired style of play is admirable and when successfully deployed will be pretty on the eye, it does need to right personnel.

Man City and Liverpool etc. are successful with it but they do have rather good players that are capable of implementing it. What I’ve seen several times frightens the life out of me and we look likely to give the ball away all too easily in and around the box.

There are some big clubs in this division again this season but we probably couldn’t have wished for a tougher start than Accrington away. Without doubt they will press and harry us all over the pitch.

If we are serious about challenging up the top of the table then we need a good start. Devoid of the firepower up front that seems unlikely.

Should things go really Pete Tong then Sandgaard will come under greater scrutiny than he has been afforded to date. He recruited Garner and has a lot to say on the style of play and promised much in return.

Both he and Martin are playing massive parts in the recruitment too. The buck stops with him if it doesn't work. He would need to explain why his much lauded son has not been able to deliver.

I hope my negativity is misplaced as we so need to vastly improve on the pitch and we all need to be cheered up by the distraction that our club is!