Sunday, 24 July 2011

Well, these away friendly games are becoming a nice sojourn.
No generous bacon rolls at Woking, but a pleasant walk through the park, a civilised bar, no queuing and a decent pint, fair priced  'London Pride' to boot.
These games are also provide an interesting glimpse of some of the new acquired players and the up and coming youngsters.
I’ll spare you from the detailed Aldershot analysis and focus on some of the lasting highlights /impressions:

Francis: Had a good solid game, few errors, good in the air and actually got in the majority of any decent crosses that were going around. A renaissance?- Prob. Not if you read the various rumours about his imminent departure. However, with seemingly just Solly ensconced in the right back slot, a return to form would provide a good backup option (or on this form, genuine competition);
Mambo: Not startling, but good, solid performance against a useful forward with no panics. Coming on well, the club should continue to nurture his talent with good coaching and management;
Stephens: Busy midfielder, sprayed the ball around well, reminded me very much in his general gait and style of a playing Curbs. Not sure whether he will be the initial first choice (with Jackson and Hollands competing) but he will be knocking on the door;
Davisson: Do not know much about this lad, but in the first half he was busy, prepared to take on players and used the ball well with some excellent passing. I'm glad I had the opportunity to see him.
Once again, reminded me of one of our early stalwarts who I saw in my early days for a couple of seasons; Fred Lucas. I was pretty ecstatic about our young Spanish player Ruben Bover Isquierdo at Woking; I reckon this kid could also be an excellent find for now or the future;
Honore: Another youngster: do not know much about him either, but he looked sharp, keen, prepared to take on players and get stuck in. Like the look of him, but he was on for a very short time: deserves a longer spell to see if he shines;
Euell: Too little time to make his mark. I was not his greatest fan in his previous spell, however he may have the guile, pro skills and the need (given his reported probnlems off the field|) to make him a major contributor, If he hit form, he could vie for a first team selection rather than just a last sub’ option;
For me, a a disappointment was Hayes who seemed very much in the vein of a Benson look-alike, but slower. He played a little bit like he did not feel comfortable playing for what appeared to be a ‘second 11’.

Cannot make Tuesday night so will be interested in any comments on my own remarks on this and Aldershot, and keen to hear appraisals of Tuesday night.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

A First Glimpse

I finally caught up with taking a look at the new signings last night at Aldershot.
As my CAFCPICKS mate Barry predicted, Aldershot turned out to be a welcoming club with modest, but more than adequate facilities (apart from no light in the gents loo). However, this was partially offset by the cafe’s predicted ability to serve the best bacon roles around, as confirmed by an Old Boys football club mate, Henry Stock, which made his trip worthwhile in itself.
Since moving out to the sticks and spending time regularly down in the south of France, Henry’s visits to see the side have been curtailed. He has a strong pedigree being brought up in the area and his late father being been a fan since the 1930’s, having attended the winning cup final but had little knowledge of the current side.
However, for this game the three of us watched pretty much on the same basis, as I had seen none of the new signings before, and Barry had only sampled them at Welling.
I had had the good fortune to watch the brief snapshot film on Youtube of the Welling game. I picked out a few players from that and had already formed a view that the two Danny’s were ones to watch.
I expected to see two sides in each half but instead of this we had one selected side with a few substitutions in the second half. I gather that some players, such as Alonso, may be being rested after a late finish to their season, though beyond that the selection had the feel of a CP first choice 11 about it.
Armed with a CAFCPICKS Squad status sheet, the immediate task was to recognise and name the players, as a late arrival in our seats meant we missed the PA system and no propgrammes were available.
We expected Aldershot to be a reasonable test of the new squad as they have just one promotion and were keen to impress. They seemed to have an abundance of players, making lost of substitutions during the game and playing a neat passing game, but with little punch up front (though this was mirrored by the visitors).
Anyhow, this is my initial take on the new ensemble, to be possibly further refined at Woking on Saturday.


Elliot performed reasonably satisfactorily. Their goal was well struck but there were some who felt that he could have got close to it.
Solly had his usual sound, workmanlike performance. I was impressed with Wiggins who seemed solid in all respects (which was good as I felt that, budget permitting, Bessoine performed well last season and would have been a good signing).
The two central defenders (Taylor and Morrison) were fairly sound but were not really threatened to any extent, though on the occasions they were, there seemed a degree of panic clearances. It was good to see that they were both big lads and good in the air. I was a little surprised to find that they seemed to be football playing centre backs, prepared to take the ball out of defence and pass it (which may be good or bad!).
I came away with a strong feeling that the defence would look more solid with either a Doherty or a Dailly alongside one of them to hold the fort when the better sides take us by the throat. Without that I fear that the back four middle will not be as strong as that I had anticipated which is a slight disappointment.


I came expecting to see Hollands impress and dominate. By his standards he probably had a quiet game but he does look like one who will be a key player in both his tackling and distribution and enthusiasm. He laid on a great through ball for BWP in the second half. He looked slightly one pace, and that may be his limitations but I think he will get away with that, and may in fact look sharper as the season proceeds.
Jackson had a fair game and looks more of a seasoned, experienced pro than many of the other new fledglings, a quality that will be good to have around. There does seem a bit of a problem of just where he is best suited, whether it is as a wide midfielder or positioned more upfront as a more outright winger, though whilst he does a good job there he might lack the speed to be permanently positioned out there..
Green had a couple of sizzling shots which did not take me by surprise based on previous reports, it was just a case of waiting for them. He looked a sound player (a bit of the Colin Powell’s about him, and going back further, a shot in the Mike Kenning mould. It looks like he has a degree of trying to do too much at times with his head down (a touch of the Kyel Reid’s, but only a touch which I think that time, and coaching will resolve). All in all a very promising addition, though I was slightly disappointed by his crossing of the ball.
To me the revelation was Ruben Bover Isquierdo (who I hope was out number 18 player on show). I had not seen him before but he looked young, desperate to run his socks off and impress, not afraid to go into a tackle and a good passer of the ball. He also had a blistering shot well blocked in the second half. He was substituted late in the second half, and I feel that was really a recognition of the fact that he never stopped running and was pretty exhausted as a result. He looks to be potentially out best signing if he is coached well and nurtured by CP and colleagues over the coming months. A kind of improvbed, more effective Racon.   A real find.
Freddie Warner came on and performed well but had too short a time to impress. Wagstaff came on for the final minutes, looked very fit and showed a lot of energy but not much else in the time available.


BPW had a hard working game to little avail. He was presented with few opportunities though did look sharp on the rare occasion they materialised. Of course that his is game, and we can only hope that out midfield can set him up with the requisite number of chances this season. When the side is playing well he will make a major contribution but if we go through a bad patch he will be become anonymous.
Benson toiled for the whole game (as did all the side who seemed to sweat as much as you had heard they had in the heat of Spain, there was no lack of effort). He took a well taken headed goal that may add to this confidence. However, on this evidence this pairing is not going to set the world alight and it’s plain that we could also do with a powerful, physically strong (dare I say bruiser ) up front with the ability to take on players, wield a shot and lay the ball off. Trouble is that every club wants one of those. From reports, I gather that our other forward signings don’t’ match up to that requirement and there is little time to resolve that even if there is a will to do so.

So, in the end it was to an extent a reassuring experience to watch a side with a fair degree of talent on show, bags of enthusiasm but potentially a little short at the back and worryingly ineffective upfront. We manmaged few shots on goal, and of course with that missed penaly, should have come away in defeat.
It would be good to retrun after the Woking game with increased expectations.
At the moment it ooks like a play off challenge unless we have an inspired signing up front.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Crowborough on the Button (Revealed!)

Text now revealed for all to see!
On 'CAFCPICKS', Crowborough Addick (a regular inputter of astute stuff) refined the title of my last post, " New Dawn". 
His hope is that that this season's changes to our resources and less mercenary empahasis within the squad will preface a season that is a " A Dawn of Honest Endeavour". 
Nice thought, Crow', perhaps that should be this season's motto?

Sunday, 10 July 2011

A New Dawn: and some learning of names to do

I couldn't make the Welling game, but thanks to he/she who submitted a really useful video Youtube summary of the game.

I have been quietly absorbing, and trying to keep up, with the close seasons merry go round.
I decided to keep my postings back until I had anything substantive to add to the host of useful summer posts for the other Blogs. However, this posting breaks that rule, as I have yet to see the new influx and am not able to add any thought, let alone recognise most of them. However, you can be sure I'll add my thoughts to the simmering pot in weeks to come (post Aldershot).
Leaving aside all speculation about the 'Funder' and his/ her/ or their motivations, the end product has been impressive in terms of transfer expenditure (not forgetting the £1M so far from Jenkinson) and number and range of signings. I have suggested several times in the build up to the close season that we may have a rerun of Lennie Lawrences' successful close season, promotion inducing transfer activity some years ago. However, this season's haul has far surpassed that and the challenge now is to weld the best pick of the signings into a cohesive winning side ASAP.
It was quite a challenge to Lennie, but Chris Powell has a mountain to climb.
Judging by the various reports and the brief glimpse on YOUTUBE it doesn't look to be out of the question. Indeed, many other clubs are reported to be looking with great envy at our current situation.
It's still going to be far from easy to get out of this division but at least we have some new found momentum behind us and enough interest to generate some good early gates, the challenge being to then keep them.
A considerable challenge will be for the 'floating' fans to keep their expectations on a realistic level and keep with the side whenever a hiccup occurs (as it inevitably will!).