March 2008 Archives
TRAVELLING on the official supporters' coach, aka the Hipkiss Express, on Monday we spotted the team coach broken down about five miles from Peterborough at 1.30pm.
With mechanic attention required and time ticking on, the decision was made - the squad would travel with the fans. No truth in the rumour that the fans wouldn't give up their seats because they had paid!
Ever wondered what a team takes to a game? A skip, balls, physio equipment, music player, bottled drinks and many heavy kit bags just for starters.
The players were in 'game mode'. Some of the seniors focused on tactics and it was fascinating to earwig Paul Butler encouraging Linny, and the youngsters slight enough for three to a seat. Near the front, Linny sat with Hughesy, Butts with Murph and Tony D by Shaun Kelly.
Fashion accessory of the modern day younger player is definitely a mobile phone with rapid text facility! Physio Ben claimed not to know the way, but luckily driver Mark excelled with a back route. Not the day to get lost.
A cracking unplanned bonding exercise and oh how tempting to get off the coach and walk in the players' entrance at London Road after signing a few autographs!
OK, a 1-0 defeat against a team with a big wage bill, but there were plusses - 100% effort and creating chances at the business end.
One question from the lady fans... Where do you want picking up next time lads?
SHOULD Chester City fans offer themselves up for medical research into amnesia? As southern-based Exiles, there haven't been many matches down our way this season and in the three we have had - at Brentford, Dagenham and Barnet - the Blues have suffered their worst defeats, but more worryingly produced arguably their poorest performances.
I must admit I was not thrilled at the prospect of watching Chester over the Easter break - no chance of any points let alone exciting football, so why was I bothering to drive 170 miles knowing the inevitable, plus the added horror of seeing the Blues crashing back into the Conference and not being able to do one jot about it?
I even got to the ground early to have a drink and a catch up in the Blues Bar before the match so it would be more enjoyable! But I was wrong (again), which is why I love football so much! The football was a revelation (as were the performances by Holroyd and McManus) and the result was fantastic - a win against the mighty Darlo and three points nearer safety.
What went on behind closed doors during training in the week worked wonders and for Simon Davies to have gained the respect of the whole team to produce a performance reminiscent of the early part of the season was nothing short of a miracle. So much so, I changed my mind and decided I would travel back via Peterborough on Easter Monday. Another drubbing? No chance! Can anyone explain why as football fans we continue to go back for more? And how do you explain to non-football fans just by winning one match you grin like a Cheshire cat for 24 hours and hug everyone in sight (well, I do!)?
IN a season that has so far been a rollercoaster of emotions both on and off the field, the single outstanding positive for many supporters has been the emergence of a number of talented young players to make first team appearances. Kevin Roberts, Chris Holroyd, James Vaughan, Shaun Kelly, Paul Rutherford, Glenn Rule, Paul McManus and Sean Newton have all made the step up to League football this season and all look to have decent futures in the game.
At a time when money seems to be the be-all and end-all at the top end of football, the long-term future of the majority of Football League clubs, particularly those in Leagues One and Two, may depend on their ability to find and develop their own conveyor belt of talent.
Crewe Alexandra, over the years, has been a magnificent example of how a club can build and maintain its status using players they have nurtured through their youth development programme. At Chester City, the players that have made the breakthrough to the first team in what has been season of ups and downs will undoubtedly have learnt an awful lot about the harsh realities of life in League Two.
Going forward, this education will stand them and Chester City Football Club in good stead. The development programme at Chester City has continued to thrive under the stewardship of, firstly, Jim Hackett and now Simon Davies. With the youth team performing well in the FA Youth Cup in the past two seasons, there is a hope that there will be further names next season to add to those already mentioned when the team sheets are handed in.