Sunday, 17 July 2011

No pain no gain

Who's in, who's out come pre-Season?

I've grown to hate certain aspects of the "close season" period from late May to early/mid-July.  It's not so much the fact that there is no football (as a club administrator I'm glad of the rest).  Instead it's the fact that due to our players being non-contract you can never quite be sure just who'll be there at the first session.
As such I was more than a little wary when I set off down to the Farm on an overcast Tuesday evening a fortnight ago for the first meet-up of players since the weekend's announcement of a couple of new faces at management level.
I'd already been tipped off that one, possibly two, of our core squad from last season had been training elsewhere and may not be re-signing this term, while another player had announced via Facebook that he was switching to "kick and clap".  Even among those who were expected to sign-up again for the coming campaign, we already knew of several first night no-shows due to various reasons, from work and holiday to "fitting an alarm system" and "got a plasterer coming round"!  With the decision having been made to restrict training for the first few weeks solely to those likely to be in contention for first team slots, this all left me thinking that the eventual turnout may well match the accompanying conditions. 
Thankfully, this wasn't the case.  

"I won't lie, this is going to hurt you more than it'll hurt me..."
About half Mack's anticipated first team complement were in attendance and despite persistent drizzle during what was a fairly stiff 90-minute session, all appeared to enjoy it and keen to kick-on in the coming weeks. 
Among those present at the first session were new First Team player/coach 'Nicho', back with the club after a couple of years (at Reckitts) and new Reserves player/boss 'Meddy', back with the club after a couple of years (at Withernsea).
A couple of weeks on and things are just about falling into place ahead of the opening pre-season game this Saturday, against HPL champions Sculcoates Amateurs.  The possible loss of two, maybe three, players from last season has been offset by the arrival of a couple of new faces and the anticipated return of a few more, giving Mack something to work with over the remaining three weeks prior to the big kick-off.

"No Mrs Brown, your son's doing fine...he's just blowing a bit..."
We currently have three games lined up ahead of the start of the new CML season.  Following Scully, the East Riding County Juniors make their annual trip to the Humber Riviera on Wednesday week before we meet Hornsea Town on Friday 5th August, hopefully for the Holderness Cup Winners Cup.  I say "hopefully" as there's been a bit-of-a-to-do involving our north Holderness rivals' right to be in the fixture, on account of there has been no Tanton Cup (the normal qualification process) this year.  I won't bore you with any further details...yet!
There should have been a fourth fixture on the calendar but both Grimsby Borough and Scarborough Town have pulled out of the 30th July date.  At time of typing this I'm still waiting to see if Mack has filled the date to his satisfaction.  If not we could always do some more running...

"You shouldn't even see a football before August"
Away from the action, I've been busy working on the new look programme and coordinating the first Eastenders Kit Sponsorship Raffle.
The latter has proved a real bonus.  Over twenty businesses are currently in the hat for next Wednesday's draw, with the first three out gaining a shirt sponsorship deal for the coming campaign.  And thankfully, there's not a "Twydale Turkeys" among them (Hull City supporters of a certain vintage will know what I mean!).
The kit raffle is being carried out in conjunction with Mansfield kit suppliers Hero, to who we are returning some twenty years after we last wore their merchandise.  Of course, this arrangement hasn't met with the approval of all.  "Why can't we have Nike?" has been an oft-repeated question in recent days.  "Because they don't do green & yellow quarters" is the short answer.
To my mind, working with a lesser-known brand name fits in with our rather unfashionable image and anyway, a company that is still going after 25 years in this day and age must be doing something right.
The weekend coming up also sees the second annual Fun Day take place at the Farm.  Again the centrepiece is the "Awd Ezzies" v "Ex-Tigers" match in memory of much-missed former Eastender "Raggy" Hudson.  I've been informed tonight that a certain Mr Windass is on the cards to appear this year, having been forced to drop out last year due to some poxy Master tournament on Sky.  Here's hoping.

Keep on running
With pre-season meetings and another sponsored event just around the corner, the new season is definitely upon us.  It's a busy time down on the Farm...and in some cases a painful one!

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