SUNDAY mornings are so different! Now I look at the paper with a warm glow within.
I exude pride! Gone has anger and frustration. No longer underachievers FGR are in their right place in the league. I can live happily with this state of affairs, and much more importantly I think the team can.
Why the change? Firstly the brand of “in your face football” instigated by Ady is more suited to the Conference than the brittle passing game beloved of Harvey and Hockaday.
That may have been pleasing to watch but ultimately got us nowhere. I know I am writing this after just three games but a side of real substance looks like emerging.
One change that has scarcely been mentioned is the on-field discipline of the players. Fewer free kicks are being conceded, bookings have been minimal, while penalties have been non-existent.
In addition we are winning untidy games. Think how often we have lost or drawn this type of match. It is too painful to go further than the example of Tamworth last year. You know the feeling – we all suffered together!
Some fans think we are still suffering, criticising our style of play. I am not among them. You do not get out of the Conference by being Barcelona or Arsenal. You gain promotion by determination, stamina and of course all round ability.
When skill is required we have that in abundance. Norwood, Kelly and Bangura all on the subs bench – we have riches indeed.
At last we have the essential ingredient of mid-field enforcers. Wedgbury and Kamdjo are fitting into that role superbly. They go onto the field with the intention of winning every ball and at corners Clovis always looks dangerous. Is he the man to match Yan K’s scoring record?
Hughes and Parkin have the experience to worry any defence. Seeing Parkin at Brimscombe words like dashing and dainty did not come to mind, but now others do.
Energy and experience are just two. Look how effectively he brings others into the game. He can demonstrate a swift, sure touch.
Think of the first goal against Chester, Graham Withey, a true warrior of a centre forward with Bristol Rovers and Coventry who joins us in the Press Box representing the Press Association has explained to your columnist the strength of Parkin’s play and his value to the whole team.
Graham used phrases like “always in a good position to receive the ball” as well as “holds it up well”. As he gets fitter I see him being of increasing value.
Some readers will now be criticising me for over confidence, after all only three games have been played. This is of course true, but surely the evidence is there.
Each year the league gets stronger. More and more ex-league clubs join it, more and more clubs are full time and the number of foreign imports means that players who would otherwise be in the football league are in the Conference.
We have several. The Conference does not need a runaway winner to prove its strength. If that happens all it does is prove the weakness of the rest.
This year 8-10 teams will challenge for promotion and at least six could hold their own in Division Two. Look at Crawley, Fleetwood, in fact all the teams promoted recently. Then look further at the failure so far of newly relegated Bristol Rovers and Torquay.
I have said before it is time for three up/three down. A real campaign for this should start now. What a chance for our Conference leaders to prove their worth.
Now to the match against Bristol Rovers. To those of us who remember Bradford, Petherbridge, Pitt, Hooper and Biggs this is an unbelievable event. In local derbies form goes out of the window so too much must not be read into the result.
Whatever happens it will be a great event for both the club and Nailsworth. Regrettably my cricketing duties will mean I have to be elsewhere unless there is a monsoon. There is a three-line whip from the county club – damn it.
Mrs Light accompanied me on Saturday. She can have the last word. “The manager is honest and charming. Last time I watched boys, now I am watching a team of motivated men. The chips are excellent but it is still cold on the terraces.” Some people are never satisfied!