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Friday, 13 March 2009

Mama Weer All Crazee Now

Big game tomorrow. Big, big game. We're away to Brighton, who are currently 6 points behind us in one of the relegation places and with a game in hand on us. They win and then win their game in hand and they go above us; we win and they've got it all to do. A draw... well, I'll take a draw at this point.

What makes the game really interesting of course is the presence of our former manager in the Brighton dugout. Russell Slade didn't take long to find a new club after his untimely exit from Huish Park, and why shouldn't he? A man with a proven record of success at small clubs was bound to attract the attention of a bigger club sooner rather than later, and while Brighton may not be a big club right now they'll be doing a decent impersonation of one when their new stadium is built in a couple of years time.

Which makes his removal from Huish Park even more inexplicable, and still we wait for a proper explanation from the club. Of course I'm not so naive to think there'll ever be a proper explanation - I've no doubt the club will continue to stall all queries and hide behind the "legal reasons" excuse and say nothing official; whilst unofficially those with axes to grind, things to hide and sometimes maybe acting out of pure mischief, will continue to spread rumours, half-truths and outright lies in the hope that if you throw enough mud that some of it will stick.

Sigh. I'm not getting into this tonight. I'm pissed off enough at the news released today that there won't be a reserve team to watch next season. The club are pulling out of the Combination League and any reserve team matches that are arranged will be played behind closed doors. The reserve team games left to play this season won't be played at Huish Park - they'll be farmed out to wherever there's a pitch going spare. I'm really disappointed by this. I enjoyed going to watch the reserves as much - more sometimes - as I enjoyed watching the first team. The games generally had plenty of goals, there were triallists to evaluate, young players to keep an eye on... just going along as part of a small crowd where you could hear exactly what the coaches were saying to the players and vice versa helped to make you feel more involved, a part of the club rather than a simple spectator. Also, one of the recognised perks of being a season ticket holder was free entry to reserve team games, apparently the club are going to address this when they price next season's ST's but it's not the bloody money, it's not being able to attend what games that are arranged that's the pisser. I know, moan, bloody moan. It's not that big a deal in the great scheme of things and if the manager is happy that specifically arranged friendlies played behind closed doors is adequate for his squad then who am I to quibble; but it's yet another small reason among many to fall a little bit more out of love with this club.

Good luck to the boys tomorrow. Russell will know all our strengths and weaknesses and will set his team up accordingly. It's going to be tough.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

You really couldn't make it up

Meanwhile, back down to the Wessex Stadium for the latest edition of 'Seaside Scummersiders', a soap opera in the setting of a small, unfashionable, non-league side with delusions of grandeur and ideas way above their station.

In the last episode fairy godmother Stephen Beer waved his magic wand and in a puff of smoke magicked up a cheque for £300,000, complete with tippexed out bits, which the board accepted gratefully as it enabled them to keep their jobs carry on saving the club. In a dramatic final scene we saw the fairy godmother smiling bravely from a hospital bed attended by anxious club directors before cutting to a locked door with a sign on the handle saying: 'press conference cancelled due to sudden illness'.

Unfortunately the bank wasn't quite as impressed with the tippexed bits on the cheque as the board were and returned it forthwith. Stephen Beer promptly had a stroke, in inverted commas, and was driven to hospital - it later emerged that this wasn't the first time he's been taken to hospital after receiving or giving some bad financial news, last time it was a suspected heart attack in similar inverted commas, following a similar economic embarrassment.

Actually, you really couldn't make this stuff up. The Muff fans are righteously aghast at how badly their club's board has handled the situation and their forum has erupted in fury at their incompetence, whilst suffering collective amnesia over their own effusive "thank-you's" and "welcome to the club, Stephen's" they were showering on the fairy godmother himself only a couple of short days ago.

The question is, where is all this going to end? The club owes around £500,000, staff haven't been paid in months and the vast majority of players have left, leaving them fielding teams of youths and triallists prepared to play for nothing for now. The board rejected one bid from a consortium of 9 local businessmen, and another from a different 3-man consortium which included former owner Ian Ridley, in favour of Beer's magic beans - though how the board were taken in by such an obvious Walter Mitty-type character is unexplained, though the suspicion is that Beer's 'offer' was the only one available that enabled two of the board at least to keep their well paid jobs. Both other consortiums would have started from scratch with a new board. The Muff fans only hope now is for one of the unsuccessful consortiums to resubmit their offer, and even then it will almost certainly mean administration and relegation. The only alternative appears to be liquidation and beginning again at a much lower level as AFC Weymouth... I'm not laughing now, I wouldn't wish this kind of mess on any set of fans. Well, that's not true either. I'd laugh my cock off if it happened to Leeds, or Arsenal, or Man Utd, or Liverpool.

Anyway, this one's going to run and run. Watch this space....

Leeds 4 - O Yeovil

Well, that was as expected. Not got a lot to say about that result really, no-one except the most drunken optimist expected to get anything out of this game and nothing was what we got. Skivo talked his usual good game afterwards but one of his quotes in particular struck me as almost desperate. He said (in his best Gary Johnson stylee) : " I'll take some of the responsibility, or even most of the responsibility as I pick the team. You find out about that and then you also find out the people who are with you."

Sorry to say it Terry, but judging by that performance and also by the fact that only 4 players (count 'em) turned up to his testimonial dinner last weekend (and one of them was his fellow coach, Nathan Jones) then he's got a lot of work to do to persuade the players that he's a worthy successor to the previous manager. The good ship YTFC is looking rudderless at the moment, going round and round in circles as well as leaking like a sieve.

I say that with no pleasure whatsoever. Skivo has been a marvelous servant to this club, a great player and generally a credit to the shirt but he's been cast out into the deep end by the board now and left to sink or swim. As much as all the fans want him to succeed, the odds against a player - even one as experienced and respected as Skivo - being able to move from the dressing room to the manager's office with all that entails and then take the club onwards and upwards are massive. I truly hope I'm wrong, but I fear the worst.

But before we drown in pessimism let's look on the bright side. Good old Gary is backing Skivo, and he's going to let a couple of his players come to us on loan, according to one of the ITK's on the Green Room. One of them was going to be TBCUTR's strapping young striker, John Akinde, according to informed sources; except the sources weren't so informed after all because he's gone on loan alright, but to Wycombe, not us. The other possibilty people are getting excited about is our old friend Lee Trundle, who Gary splashed £1 million on from Swansea and who's struggled to hold a place on the City bench since. He's just had a relatively unsuccesful month on loan at Leeds but is back in Brizzle now. Again, I hate to be a naysayer, but I just can't see Trundle coming to us, as good a player as he is. His career may be going down the pan, but I can't see him being able to swallow a drop down to lowly Yeovil as anything but confirmation that his career has gone down the said pan - his pride will never allow it. I hope I'm wrong - I'd love to see a player with his skill in a Yeovil shirt.

Talking of Trundle I remember the first time I saw him play - for Southport, when they played us in the Conference, about 10 years ago now. There were 3 Lee's in the Southport side; Lee Trundle, Lee Elam on the wing and Lee Furlong, who was a striker. Of the 3 it was Elam who impressed most that night from memory, with Trundle and Furlong both looking fairly anonymous. Don't know what happened to Furlong, but of course Elam ended up with us in L2 where he flattered to deceive for 6 months before being sold back to a Conference club... I think he's at Northwich or somewhere like that now. Trundle was of course the one who made it as a pro footballer, but he didn't look anything special that particular night. I think we won 2-1 and if I was any kind of blogger I'd go and look it up and provide a link to the match report but I'm not any kind of blogger, so you'll have to do it yourself.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

You couldn't make it up

Following on from last night's post concerning the less-than-mighty Muff, today was the day they were holding a press conference to introduce their latest saviour, Stephen Beer, and his £300,000 donation. To cut a long story short, the press conference was cancelled after Mr Beer was taken ill and was driven to Dorchester Hospital, apparently suffering from a stroke. The donation is due to be paid to the club tomorrow.

Now I know what you cynical buggers are thinking but I'm sure there's nothing even slightly dodgy going on. Naturally one hopes that Mr Beer makes a full recovery and that there are no problems with his very generous donation. My guess is that (a) he will and (b) the donation disappears into the ether from whence it came. And I called you cynical?!

Meanwhile the Glovers are in action tonight, away against everyone's favourite team, Leeds United. For once Skivo's got a full squad to pick from, so that's all 15 professionals plus a couple of loanees then. I'm not expecting us to take anything from this game. A point would be good, a win unbelievable, a loss expected. If other results don't go our way we could be in the relegation zone by 10pm this evening. Three weeks ago we were 8 points clear.

But let us not be downhearted! According to an ITK (In The Know) on the Green Room , we'll be signing a couple of Bristol City players on loan shortly. Thank the Gary for that. Our season's saved! Hallelujah!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Muff in the brown stuff

Curiouser and curiouser... The ongoing farce at our friends and neighbours down south might just be taking an even funnier turn (funnier for us Glovers that is, it must be a nightmare for the Muffers) tonight, with rumours beginning to grow about the motives and solvency of their latest saviour, one Stephen Beer esq.

Beer's the latest mug, sorry, businessman to put money into the annually ailing Terras; some £300,000 pounds all told, and if that wasn't enough he doesn't want anything for his money - as he told the Dorset Echo:

“I do not want to go on the board and I am not interested in sitting in the directors’ box. I just want to help the club get back on its feet.

“I will come into the club now and again, and go to matches but I have also got a business to look after and want to spend time with my family.

“I do not want to be the owner of Weymouth FC, I just want to be a supporter that has paid extra for his season ticket."

Sounds almost too be good to be true, doesn't it? Most of the debts wiped out and the club able to start again, try to stay up this season and sort out a sustainable budget in the summer whatever league they're in, thus safeguarding the club's future.... Although it's since emerged that the gift is in fact a loan, which presumably will have to be repaid at some point. Added to which stories have also begun spreading that Mr Beer's been a very good Torquay United fan in the past, before Weymouth won his affections. Oh, and a Plymouth Argyle fan. And is being chased for money owed by businesses in South Devon, his usual stomping ground. And was a guest of Dorchester Town's owner, Eddie Mitchell, at a recent game. Let's hope the beer doesn't turn flat.

All deadly serious for the Muffers of course, and one can't help feeling sorry for them, but not that sorry. At least it's distracting me from our own on-going farce. Being a YTFC fan at the moment is like being in a train crash - you know it's happening around you and everything seems to be in slow-motion, almost dream-like, but you just know that the BUMP is coming. Games are coming and then going, disappointing result follows disappointing result and with 2 points out of the last 15 and only 3 points off the relegation zone with 12 games to go... we, ladies and gentlemen, are in the shit.