Wimb The Barman

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    Reading, England : FMS Short Story of the Year Winner 2006
  1. Thanks Gav and welcome Gash, sorry for the delay, work often gets in the way of my saves! It is the very same Scott Davies of Reading fame, I've been to Andover a few times to play cricket, nice area! hope you enjoy the tale While life may have seemed rosier on the field after the Burton game, my office was a very different place. Over the course of the week both Tahar and Oastler demanded assurances that they would be given a run in the first team. Despite my desire to keep both happy I could guarantee nobody a place in the team and despite telling both that good performances in training would get them in the team, both asked to leave the club. Having depth is important but having a happy squad was even moreso, so reluctantly both requests were granted. In other news we had two cup draws, being drawn to face local rivals Staines in the 4th qualifying round of the FA Cup and facing a trip to Torquay in the 3rd round of the conference cup. Saturday 20th October 2012 (17th) Basingstoke v Dagenham + Redbridge (12th) The Camrose - Blue Square Premier I made only one change to the side from the Burton game, with Morrisson returning after International duty and replacing Henderson in the starting lineup. Henderson had done nothing wrong and had in fact played brilliantly in the Burton game, but a lack of regular matches meant he wasn’t quite 100% and so needed the rest. BASINGSTOKE: (GK) Ikeme, (LB) Gordon, (RB) Kelly (CB) Coates, (CB) McGivern, (LM) Morrisson, (RM) Koopman, (CM) Davies <C> (CM) Foley, (ST) Baggie, (ST) Bignall Substitutes: Hateley, Antonio, Henderson, Stirling, Borini For the third straight game we managed to slam three goals past our visitors. The Camrose felt like a much different place then it had a month ago when Wrexham beat us 4-2 and come the final whistle it was our fans celebrating a deserved 3-1 victory. Full back Julian Kelly got the scoring underway with a well placed shot after fifteen minutes. But we would have to wait until the second half to secure three points as first Scott Davies and then loanee Wes Koopman finished off the rout. The Daggers did manage a consolation five minutes from the end but nothing could spoil the atmosphere at the Camrose after a third straight win. Final Score: Basingstoke 3-1 Dagenham and Redbridge Att: - 690
  2. This time there would be no celebrating, no getting carried away as I told the players they were due on the training ground Sunday morning for further training. In my eyes it hadn’t been bad performances, just a lack of consistency that had caused our indifferent start and the squad would no longer be able to celebrate wins in isolation. I was growing increasingly worried that the players had become complacent in just assuming the form would return. Truth be told perhaps I had been too quick to defend them this season and my own insistence that there was nothing wrong may have lured some players into thinking they were safe no matter what our results. After Weymouth game we received communications from the Jamaican and Nigerian FA’s that Morrisson and Ikeme had been called up for their countries international matches on the 12th of October ruling them out of our game with Burton. It was nice to once again see our players rewarded for good displays, particularly for the uncapped Ikeme, but it was frustrating to lose them at a time when we were desperate to kick start our season. As it would turn out we’d have ten days off before we faced Burton, as the game had to be postponed on the 12th due to a waterlogged pitch at the Camrose. Thankfully though we were able to quickly rearrange the fixture for three days later on the Tuesday. Tuesday 16th October 2012 (20st) Basingstoke v Burton (14th) The Camrose - Blue Square Premier Ikeme had returned from International duty, where he hadn’t made an appearence and could line up in goal. Therefore our only change was on the left wing as Morrisson was still away with Jamaica and was replaced in the starting lineup by Henderson. Tahar was the man to take the spare place on the subs bench. BASINGSTOKE: (GK) Ikeme, (LB) Gordon, (RB) Kelly (CB) Coates, (CB) McGivern, (LM) Henderson, (RM) Koopman, (CM) Davies <C> (CM) Foley, (ST) Baggie, (ST) Bignall Substitutes: Hateley, Antonio, Tahar, Stirling, Borini Despite our win last week, a midweek game on a wet night unsurprisingly drew another meagre crowd to the Camrose. Most of the time you rue international matches when you manage at this level, but today it may have actually done us a favour as Connor Henderson stole the show. We took the lead after seven minutes when McGivern headed home from Henderson’s corner, you could feel our confidence swell from that moment on and this was more like the Basingstoke I’d expected pre season. Fifteen minutes later Koopman crossed from the right to find Henderson at the far post for 2-0. From that point in the win was never in doubt as Burton struggled to deal with our dominant midfield, causing Ikeme few troubles. Finally ten minutes from the end Henderson popped up again to finish well from just inside the area to complete our second consecutive 3-0 victory. Final Score: Basingstoke 3-0 Burton Att: - 604 True to my word the lads weren’t allowed to celebrate the victory after they left the pitch, even after our first back to back wins of the season. In just four days we had a third straight home game against Dagenham and anything less then a win was unacceptable.
  3. I hoped that October would yield better fortunes for the side, but then I’d said the same at the start of September. Our lowly league position and meagre points tally didn’t make for good reading as I opened the Sunday papers but at least I had a positive match report staring me in the face. The victory over Crawley had certainly been deserved and the glut of goals gave both the fans and the players a much needed boost ahead of another busy month. Players at higher levels complain about the amount of football they have to play but they have it easy compared to players in the Conference. When you factor in that most of the guys here are semi pro then it makes the achievements of the lads even more astounding. In the short term our league form was a more pressing issue and our next opponents Mansfield would be a sterner test then Crawley. Tuesday 2nd October 2012 (17th) Mansfield v Basingstoke )(18th ) Field Mill - Blue Square Premier I was pleased to be able to name an unchanged 16 for the first time this season, hoping that the lads would carry their good form from the Crawley game into a tough away game. Mansfield were only one place above us but as a former league side with a much higher budget then ourselves, they were in a somewhat false position in the league. BASINGSTOKE: (GK) Ikeme, (LB) Gordon, (RB) Kelly (CB) Coates, (CB) McGivern, (LM) Morrison, (RM) Baggie, (CM) Koopman (CM) Foley <C>, (ST) Borini, (ST) Bignall Substitutes: Hateley, Antonio, Henderson, Davies, Goulding Baggie and Morrison were both in fine form as the game got underway, providing opportunities for both strikers within the first twenty minutes or so. However, like so many away games before we squandered the advantage by conceding a soft goal on twenty five minutes to Lyndon Hunter and from that moment on we struggled to get back into the game. That’s not to say we didn’t have chances to get level and Eric Foley was inches away with a long range drive a few minutes after the restart. Ten minutes from time the game was ended as a contest as Mansfield scored their second through Gavin Hurren and you could feel any confidence the players had sap away. Never the less we still managed to win a late penalty, only for Foley to blast wide with practically the last kick of the game. Final Score: Mansfield 2-0 Basingstoke Att: - 1802 Once the players had gathered on the coach for the trip back home I had one on one conversations with a few of the senior lads in the squad. Much like myself and the rest of the coaching team the lads were baffled at our awful start to the year, the tactics and personnel that had worked so well just a few months previously were involved in a relegation fight and with the window closed, that same group would be charged with getting us out of this mess. In such circumstances it was a comfort to have three consecutive home games with which to turn around our form and with 10 days between our next game against Weymouth and the one to follow we would have no better chance to turn the season around. Saturday 6th October 2012 (21st) Basingstoke v Weymouth (19th) The Camrose - Blue Square Premier Our unchanged lineup lasted a mere two games and I brought Scott Davies into the team as skipper in the centre of the midfield. To make room I moved Borini to the bench, placed Koopman on the right and moved Baggie up front. The crowd in the stadium looked sparse, lower then it had been for a long while, a disappointing statistic but one that I could understand given our poor form. BASINGSTOKE: (GK) Ikeme, (LB) Gordon, (RB) Kelly (CB) Coates, (CB) McGivern, (LM) Morrison, (RM) Koopman, (CM) Davies <C> (CM) Foley, (ST) Baggie, (ST) Bignall Substitutes: Hateley, Antonio, Henderson, Stirling, Borini At home we’d always been far more comfortable, even in defeat, so there was cause for optimism ahead of the game. We started in the best possible fashion, when Nicholas Bignall fired us into a sixth minute lead. The rest of the first half resembled most of the campaign, with possession and chances wasted and the match evenly poised heading into the break. In the second half we peppered the Weymouth goal with shots, but once again we had little to show for it. That only changed in the final two minutes as goals from Baggie and then a second for Bignall sealed a vital second win in three games. Final Score: Basingstoke 3-0 Weymouth Att: - 547
  4. Thanks Gav, it's been a bit of a struggle so far for Basingstoke, but hopefully they'll pick it up soon. Thanks for reading Back to square one, our recent three match unbeaten run seemed like a distant memory and we could ill afford to drop any further back of the leaders if we wanted to stand any chance of automatic promotion. What frustrated me the most was the amount of stupid points we’d dropped through either ill discipline or moments of madness. Saturday 29th September 2012 (20th) Basingstoke v Crawley (23rd)– The Camrose - Blue Square Premier Carl Ikeme returned in goal after serving his one game ban and Wesley Koopman was also available after being rested in midweek. There was also a very welcome return to the bench for vice captain Scott Davies who returned to the side after a few weeks out with hamstring trouble. BASINGSTOKE: (GK) Ikeme, (LB) Gordon, (RB) Kelly (CB) Coates, (CB) McGivern, (LM) Morrison, (RM) Baggie, (CM) Koopman (CM) Foley <C>, (ST) Borini, (ST) Bignall Substitutes: Hateley, Antonio, Henderson, Davies, Goulding The boys came out of the blocks in stunning fashion and within ten minutes we were one up through Julian Kelly Eleven minutes later you could sense the relief around the stadium as Morrison put us two ahead with a header at the far post. Into the second half and we soon made it three through Koopman who converted from the penalty spot after Borini was brought down. Lewis Perkins managed to pull one back for our visitors Morrison restored our three goal lead twenty minutes from time. Final Score: Basingstoke 4-1 Crawley Att: - 992 Before the start of the season, a four one win over Crawley wouldn’t have been met with much feeling of accomplishment however given the present circumstances it was deservedly celebrated in the players lounge after the game. After the recent return to poor form and our generally rotten start to the campaign, every win was vital. September had been a month of mixed fortunes for the club. At the start of the month we’d looked like returning to the Basingstoke of old, winning games home and away. Yet within a couple of weeks we’d slumped once more to needless defeats and had fallen back down the league. Even so we’d finished the month with a big win and it was my job to ensure we began a long run of good results, before it was too late. SEPTEMBER 2012 REVIEW League Record P7 W3 D1 L3 GS 10 GC 8 League Position – 18/24 - 13 Points Leading Goalscorers 12/13 Nicholas Bignall (3) Jason Morrisson (3) Transfers In Colin Coates – Distillerey -3k Transfers Out None
  5. Two games and three wins and the players were beginning to finally find a rhythm. Next up was a visit from Wrexham, and a 3rd win in 4 games would at least make our league position after 10 games somewhat respectable. Saturday 22nd September 2012 (17th) Basingstoke v Wrexham (12th)– The Camrose - Blue Square Premier The one major change to the lineup saw Jason Morrisson return from suspension to line up on the left hand side of the defence. Skipper Tom Hateley who had also been suspended had to make do with a place on the bench due to the fine form of Kelly and Gordon. BASINGSTOKE: (GK) Ikeme, (LB) Gordon, (RB) Kelly (CB) Coates, (CB) McGivern, (LM) Morrisson, (RM) Baggie, (CM) Koopman, (CM) Foley <C>, (ST) Borini, (ST) Bignall Substitutes: Hateley, Antonio, Tahar, Fry, Goulding Thirteen minutes into this one and things looked promising for us with Fabio Borini giving us the lead from an Eric Foley through ball. But on 23 one moment of madness would drastically change our fortunes. First keeper Carl Ikeme saw red for handling the ball outside the box. With no sub keeper on the bench it was left to Aymen Tahar to get between the sticks at the expense of goal scorer Borini who was substituted. We were only able to hold out for ten minutes before Wrexham equalised and whilst we went into the break level, we were soon overwhelmed and four one down. We did manage a late consolation from Antonio but that was the only comfort from a day in which we could and should have walked away with three points. Final Score: Basingstoke 2-4 Wrexham Att: - 1096 ******* I couldn’t be too upset with Ikeme, he’d hardly put a foot wrong since he’d been at the club and it was just one of those things that happens. After the game the press were questioning my decision not to have a reserve keeper on the bench but in my eyes there wasn’t much of a case to answer. In my five seasons at the club this was the first time I’d lost a keeper compare to an immeasurable contribution from the ‘5th outfield player’ we’d been using. So after ten games here’s how the table stood. | Pos | Inf | Team | | Pld | Won | Drn | Lst | For | Ag | G.D. | Pts | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 1st | | Morecambe | | 10 | 7 | 1 | 2 | 15 | 9 | +6 | 22 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 2nd | | Eastbourne Boro | | 10 | 7 | 1 | 2 | 12 | 8 | +4 | 22 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 3rd | | Rushden | | 10 | 6 | 3 | 1 | 15 | 8 | +7 | 21 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 4th | | Woking | | 10 | 6 | 2 | 2 | 13 | 5 | +8 | 20 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 5th | | Hereford | | 10 | 5 | 4 | 1 | 17 | 8 | +9 | 19 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 6th | | Alfreton | | 10 | 5 | 3 | 2 | 16 | 7 | +9 | 18 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 7th | | Kettering | | 10 | 5 | 3 | 2 | 10 | 5 | +5 | 18 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 8th | | Macclesfield | | 10 | 5 | 3 | 2 | 11 | 7 | +4 | 18 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 9th | | Mansfield | | 10 | 5 | 2 | 3 | 12 | 7 | +5 | 17 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 10th | | Ebbsfleet | | 10 | 5 | 1 | 4 | 9 | 7 | +2 | 16 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 11th | | Salisbury | | 10 | 4 | 2 | 4 | 10 | 7 | +3 | 14 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 12th | | Wrexham | | 9 | 4 | 2 | 3 | 13 | 13 | 0 | 14 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 13th | | Torquay | | 10 | 4 | 2 | 4 | 8 | 8 | 0 | 14 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 14th | | Burton | | 9 | 3 | 4 | 2 | 10 | 7 | +3 | 13 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 15th | | Dag & Red | | 10 | 3 | 3 | 4 | 6 | 12 | -6 | 12 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 16th | | Cambridge | | 10 | 3 | 2 | 5 | 12 | 13 | -1 | 11 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 17th | | Histon | | 10 | 3 | 2 | 5 | 12 | 17 | -5 | 11 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 18th | | Stevenage | | 10 | 2 | 4 | 4 | 9 | 10 | -1 | 10 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 19th | | Chester | | 10 | 2 | 4 | 4 | 6 | 10 | -4 | 10 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 20th | | Basingstoke | | 10 | 3 | 1 | 6 | 9 | 14 | -5 | 10 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 21st | | Weymouth | | 10 | 2 | 4 | 4 | 7 | 14 | -7 | 10 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 22nd | | Farnborough | | 10 | 1 | 2 | 7 | 7 | 16 | -9 | 5 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 23rd | | Crawley | | 10 | 1 | 1 | 8 | 5 | 17 | -12 | 4 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 24th | | Harrogate | | 10 | 0 | 0 | 10 | 1 | 16 | -15 | 0 | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| Plenty of work to be done if we were to gain promotion, but aside from freak circumstances against Wrexham, I felt we were beginning to click. Tuesday 25th September 2012 (17th) Histon v Basingstoke (20th) The Camrose - Blue Square Premier Once again I made two changes to the side, with Andy Fry giving Wes Koopman a rest in the centre of the midfielder and Alex McCarthy coming in goal for the suspended Ikeme. BASINGSTOKE: (GK) McCarthy, (LB) Gordon, (RB) Kelly (CB) Coates, (CB) McGivern, (LM) Morrisson, (RM) Baggie, (CM) Fry, (CM) Foley <C>, (ST) Borini, (ST) Bignall Substitutes: Hateley, Antonio, Henderson, Koopman, Goulding Histon were hardly high flying but they had still proved formidable at home so far this season and so I didn’t’ take them lightly. Fry was fitted in nicely alongside Foley but despite their good displays we lacked a killer ball into the strikers to create goal-scoring opportunities. When you don’t create chances you’re almost certainly going to put your own back four under pressure and sure enough we found ourselves 1-0 down just before half time when Danny Wright scored for Histon. The second half saw much of the same, though Antonio, on as a substitute at the break, was getting the ball into the box with a number of decent crosses. As we increased in more and more numbers we were left open at the back and with ten minutes to go Histon sealed the game with a fine counter attack that allowed Mark O Brien to score 2-0 and another defeat left us worryingly close to the drop zone. Final Score: Histon 2-0 Basingstoke Att: - 599
  6. A win does wonderful things for morale about the place. The players seemed happier in training, ticket sales for the next home game were up and the chairman hadn’t called me once since we’d left the pub late on Tuesday after celebrating the win over Woking. Despite our win we were still a lowly 21st in the league and some way off the top and with some way to go before I would consider us up to speed. There was some bad news for me to digest though. Firstly the FA came back to us and informed me that both Tom Hateley and Jason Morrisson would be suspended for an additional two games after their sending’s off for violent conduct in the Hereford game. Then physio Andy Reeves informed me that midfielder Scott Davies would be out for a further 3 weeks after further problems with his hamstrings. Losing the Irishman was a blow as his versatility and leadership had proved useful off the bench and we needed all the options we could to help ensure our poor form didn’t return. Saturday 15th September 2012 (3rd) Alfreton v Basingstoke (21st) – The Town Ground- Blue Square Premier Despite the win in midweek I made a couple of changes to the visit to high flying Alfreton who had lost just once all season. Alex McCarthy was given a chance to stake a claim between the sticks with ikeme looking jaded and Koopman returned to the midfield. There was also a chance for Tahar to play on the left with Henderson tired after his midweek exploits. BASINGSTOKE: (GK) McCarthy, (LB) Gordon, (RB) Kelly (CB) Coates, (CB) McGivern, (LM) Tahar, (RM) Baggie, (CM) Koopman, (CM) Foley <C>, (ST) Borini, (ST) Bignall Substitutes: Fortune, Antonio, Henderson, Fry, Goulding The game was one full of what ifs as both sides had numerous chances to claim victory. We had the first chance to seal 3 points after Bignall gave us an 11th minute lead after a fine assist from Baggie down the right. I knew that getting to half time with a lead was crucial but despite asking the lads to play deeper, our defences were breached just before the interval in the most unfortunate of circumstances when Foley put a header into our own goal from a corner kick to level the scores. I tried to freshen things up in the second half but even the introduction of all of our substitutes failed to provide the killer instinct we needed to score a second. The result was a one all draw and truth be told getting our first away point of the season was enough to dispel any thoughts of 2 points missed. We’d now picked up four points from our last two games and for the first time I felt as if we were moving forward rather then backwards. Final Score: Alfreton 1-1 Basingstoke Att: - 1724 **** Little to report in midweek, the players trained Monday and Tuesday ahead of our midweek trip to Stevenage and I made the usual calls to scouts to ask for their latest reports and recommendations. One thing that did happen on Monday was our first or our two fans forums for the season. These forums gave our supporters the chance to ask questions directly to myself and the chairman about the club, an important part of keeping a sense of community about the club. Since I’d joined the club as manager these occasions had usually been pleasant affairs, but I did wonder what the reaction of the fans would be after a rather indifferent start. The forum continued for another half hour, with questions ranging from ground improvements to the academy and whether we would become a professional club whilst in the Blue Square Premier. Wednesday 19th September 2012 (16th) Stevenage v Basingstoke (21st) – Broadhill Way- Blue Square Premier Alex McCarthy didn’t react well to the decision to drop him after just one game in the team but Ikeme had been in fine form this season despite our poor start and deserved to play. Henderson was fit to return on the left flank in an otherwise unchanged side. BASINGSTOKE: (GK) Ikeme, (LB) Gordon, (RB) Kelly (CB) Coates, (CB) McGivern, (LM) Henderson, (RM) Baggie, (CM) Koopman, (CM) Foley <C>, (ST) Borini, (ST) Bignall Substitutes: Fortune, Antonio, Tahar, Fry, Goulding I think it’s safe to say I preferred September to August as we managed to pull of a narrow one nil win to extend our unbeaten run to three games. Wesley Koopman’s third goal of the season was all we would need to return home with three points. But the performance throughout the rest of the game was far from what I expected from the lads as we let Stevenage put us under far too much pressure then was comfortable. Truth be told the win wasn’t deserved but considering our luck in August I was more then happy to take it. Final Score: Stevenage 0-1 Basingstoke Att: - 1856
  7. Thanks Shanghai, It's been a good ride so far, if not a bad start to the season for 'Stoke. I only live down the road in Reading so have a soft spot for them myself. Anyway glad to have you along for the ride September 2012 I hoped that the turning of the month would bring about a turnaround in our fortunes, a noble thought and one I’d have to sell to the board at our monthly meeting on Monday. Somewhat thankfully I’d at least have a home game with which to hopefully ease some nerves first. Deadline day was at midnight and my assistant Mark Beck had managed to turn up a new player, defender Colin Coates was a versatile defender playing for Irish side Distillery. After a quick flurry of phone calls early on Friday, I’d managed to get him signed up in time to make his debut against Hereford. Saturday September 1st 2012 Basingstoke v Hereford– The Camrose- Blue Square Premier Coates came straight into the side in place of Ramsey, Baggie was moved onto the right flank and so Bignall came in up front. Morrisson came in on the left and there were also starts for midfielder Stephen Stirling and a game for Julian Kelly at left back. BASINGSTOKE: (GK) Ikeme, (LB) Kelly, (RB) Hateley <C>, (CB) Coates, (CB) McGivern, (LM) Morrisson, (RM) Baggie, (CM) Stirling, (CM) Foley, (ST) Borini, (ST) Bignall Substitutes: Fortune, Antonio, Koopman, Davies, Goulding For seven minutes this game was ours. We looked on top, confident and had already carved out a good chance for Foley. But then in a moment of sheer stupidity Jason Morrisson was given a straight red card for a lunge on the Hereford right back. I couldn’t hide my anger and could have cut right through Jason with my stare. From that moment on we were always going to be in trouble but then on thirty five minutes it got even worse. Skipper Tom Hately elbowed Steve Flynn right in front of the linesman and was swiftly given his marching orders. If Morrisson had been reckless then Hately had been outright stupid and I let him know as much as he trudged off. Down to nine men, the lads left on the pitch gave it their all but we were powerless to resist long into the second half, and two goals sealed our fate and a fifth defeat of the season. The dressing room after the game was not a safe place for delicate ears….. Final Score: Basingstoke 0-2 Hereford Att: - 807 ******** Hateley and Morrisson were swiftly in my office the next morning. Both were told in no uncertain terms that a repeat would result in their swift departures from the club and were fined two weeks wages, punishments they accepted. I reminded them that as captain and a senior international that they were role models for the rest of the squad and that we needed every bit of help we could get to break us out of this rut. ******* The monthly board meeting was something I could do without but nevertheless I’d committed to attending each month to deliver a report. I stood in the same place as I had at the AGM and delivered my assessment of our opening month. “ Gentlemen it goes without saying that our opening month could have been better. Never the less there have been some encouraging signs and I honestly don’t feel we’ve been outclassed in any of our games so far this season. In terms of personel, with the closing of the transfer window our main squad is set and I’m happy with the players who are with us now. In trading terms we spent £3,000 on Craig Coates and made £1,000 on Paul McManus while remaining within our wage budget yet again. Gents I have little else to say other then please be patient and I’m sure I can reward you with some better results ” The board seemed content enough though did put on record their concern over the start to the season. Such comments didn’t exactly please me but I did understand their feelings. We now had 9 days until our next game, plenty of time for the players and myself to get ourselves In the best possible frame of mind for a big home game against Woking. ******* Tuesday 11th September 2012 Basingstoke v Woking– The Camrose- Blue Square Premier A couple of enforced changes as Hateley and Morrisson missed out through suspension. Henderson and Gordon took their places in the side, meanwhile Scott Davies was forced out with a tight hamstring that we hoped wouldn’t keep him out for too long. BASINGSTOKE: (GK) Ikeme, (LB) Gordon, (RB) Kelly (CB) Coates, (CB) McGivern, (LM) Henderson, (RM) Baggie, (CM) Stirling, (CM) Foley <C>, (ST) Borini, (ST) Bignall Substitutes: Fortune, Antonio, Koopman, Fry, Goulding It was just amazing how much a win could do to lift the mood of a group of people. The bench, the players on the pitch and every fan in the stadium seemed to be 10 times happier as they left the ground after they’d seen us confidently beat Woking 2-0. The moment Nicholas Bignall’s shot hit the back of the net after 29 minutes the place came alive. Suddenly the doom and gloom of the past few weeks was replaced by excitement, a feeling that only grew after Fabio Borini slotted home our second just before the break. Even though that was the only scoring in the game, the performance had been a joy. Final Score: Basingstoke 2-0 Woking Att: - 754
  8. Nice start! best of luck
  9. Reading actually signed some players \o/ huzzah!
  10. Three games and just one win, hardly the start we’d hoped for and I called the players in on Sunday to talk about where things went wrong against Eastbourne and to get some extra preparation in ahead of the Morcambe game. Both the players and the coaching team voiced their opinions openly and whilst we may have disagreed on some points, I did feel that the meeting had helped to turn some of the disappointment from yesterday into optimism for the next couple of games. Tuesday August 21st 2012 Basingstoke v Morcambe – The Camrose - Blue Square Premier I made a number of changes to the team ahead of the ‘fan day’ clash with Morcambe. With Jason Morrisson on international duty Connor Henderson would make his first start for the club on the left side of the midfield. Meanwhile Antonio was looking tired after three games in seven days and so was rested in favour of vice captain Scott Davies. Meanwhile I decided to give Fabio Borini a chance to impress up front in place of loanee Nicholas Bignall. BASINGSTOKE: (GK) Ikeme, (LB) Kelly, (RB) Hateley <C>, (CB) Ramsey, (CB) McGivern, (LM) Henderson, (RM) Davies, (CM) Koopman, (CM) Foley, (ST) Borini, (ST) Baggie Substitutes: Goulding, Antonio, Tahar, Bignall, Oastler The game looked to be heading our way in the first half, with Scott Davies hitting his first of the season after good work from Baggie down the right hand side. One of Davies key attributes was his ability to school goals and I was delighted to see him producing from the wide position. Unfortunately that would be about as good as our day got as Morcambe dominated the rest of the proceedings. John Stewart was brought down in the box by Ramsey and stepped up to score a penalty five minutes before the break to equalise. Shortly after the break Gary Thompson slotted home to give the advantage to the away side and then twenty minutes from the end, Stewart was again on hand to finish from the edge of the area to make it three one to the former football league side. Final Score: Basingstoke 1-3 Morcambe Att: - 1136 ****** The defeat was particularly tough to take and would hardly convince more fans to come watch us. Chris Ramsey had aparticularly bad games his place would be under threat ahead of the next game. At least the chairman was sticking by me, despite a poor start. David Hunt had always backed me and that was one reason why the club had come so far in such a short space of time. In my own opinion too few managers get the time they need to really build and develop a squad, yet David had been a model of patience and understanding. If only the press was as understanding. ”Sorry ‘Stoke Lose Again” was the headline of the local rag and whilst such headlines stung they were at least justified. Ahead of Friday’s final training session I sat down with senior coaches Mark Beck and Sean Gregan to ask what they made of the first four games. Beck was the first to voice an opinion. ”Gaffer I can’t put my finger on it to be honest. The lads have trained well, they’ve understood what they have to do on the pitch and yet it’s just not clicked. I can’t say the defence have covered themselves in glory but to be honest we haven’t scored more then 1 goal in each game and that’s a big worry for me. ” Gregan followed. ” Have to agree skipper, for some reason we haven’t got that cutting edge in the final third, until we start being clinical in and around the box we’re going to keep struggling” The words rang true but annoyed me, if only because the creative and attacking talent that had gone onto the pitch each game should have had more then enough to pick up at least 7 points from 12 and yet here we were with just 3. ” Cheers boys, look don’t put too much on the players today, we’ve got a long trip to Macclesfield Saturday morning so let them go about 1 if you can, I’ll have a chat with Dunny to see if he’s spotted anyone that might be able to give us a boost” Dunny, or Russ Dunn as he is more formally known was one of our scouting team and was on a mission across England to discover us some talent. Unable to reach him, I left him a voicemail to pick his brains. In the meantime I turned my look back to the players we had available for Saturday at Macclesfield . Morrisson would be back and available, though how long he’d be able to play after his travels was up for question, he’d only just joined us for training today so 90 minutes might prove difficult. Antonio would be fit, though Davies performance on Tuesday meant he would probably stay in the team. Other then that there was little outside of the 16 that I’d picked for most games this year that I felt would turn things around and besides our season was 46 games long, not 4 and I had faith that in time the results would come. Saturday August 25th 2012 Macclesfield v Basingstoke – Moss Rose - Blue Square Premier Despite worries about his fitness levels I put Morrisson back into the side in place of Henderson who dropped out of the 16. Davies indeed kept his place on the right whilst I decided to give a start to Clayton Fortune in place of Ramsey at centre back. I had decided to give Fortune a start in the hope his experience might steady the ship and similarly I decided to drop Kelly for Gordon at left back as Kelly looked tired and jaded after a poor start to the campaign. BASINGSTOKE: (GK) Ikeme, (LB) Gordon, (RB) Hateley <C>, (CB) Fortune, (CB) McGivern, (LM) Henderson, (RM) Davies, (CM) Koopman, (CM) Foley, (ST) Borini, (ST) Baggie Substitutes: Goulding, Antonio, Tahar, Bignall, Kelly The game, well you could take the report from our first two away defeats and it would pretty much sum up the performance. Another one nil defeat sent us 21st in the table and once again I’d felt we deserved at least a point. We managed 10 efforts on goal although few clear cut chances and once again we didn’t fire in the key final third. Macclesfield scored the only goal of the game after 26 minutes from Ashley Grimes who nodded home a corner kick to send the home fans wild. We did have our chances and dominated large sections of the game but I never really felt that we were going to score. Perhaps it was the last four games jading me but there was just a negative feeling in the air. I couldn’t hide my frustrations during the game and despite a triple substitution we just couldn’t breach the home defence. At the final whistle I went over to applaud the fifty or so travelling fans and honestly didn’t know if I was saying goodbye. Final Score: Macclesfield 1-0 Basingstoke Att: - 1452 ****** Somewhat fortunately Macclesfield was a four hour drive from Basingstoke so I had plenty of time to cool off and consider my future more rationally. Even so deep down I couldn’t get rid of the disappointing and demoralising feeling that haunted me after the worst start since I’d joined the club. Five games played and just three points to show for it. Certainly we’d not had an easy start but I’d have hoped for 8 points at least by now. All in all it had been a very disappointing month for the football club and I was facing a situation where if our form didn’t turn around we could kiss the championship goodbye before the end of September. AUGUST 2012 REVIEW League Record P5 W1 D0 L4 GS 3 GC 7 League Position – 21/24 - 3 Points Leading Goalscorers 12/13 Nicholas Bignall (1) Scott Davies (1) Transfers In None Transfers Out Paul McManus – TNS - £1,000 Basingstoke (2012) 12 Games – 4 goals
  11. Valid. HATE HATE HATE to see it in the game
  12. Evening all, anyone give Celtic a chance? (oh and if someone could just kick Tommy Smith in the shins )
  13. Good start sir, always love a lower league tale kutgw
  14. The Atmosphere on the bus home could be summed up in a four lettered expletive beginning with S. Sitting next to Mark I couldn’t get the game out of my head, it seemed that last season was repeating itself, with good performances being squandered and us walking away empty handed. My one comfort on the trip back was the news that Tom Hateley’s ankle had no serious damage and that he could even be fit to for our midweek game. That was the best thing about this division, we didn’t have long to make amends for defeat, with a game in just three days against Ebbsfleet at the Camrose. Tuesday August 14th 2012 Basingstoke v Ebbsfleet United – Camrose - Blue Square Premier With Hately not 100% I brought in Ben Gordon to play left back and switched Julian Kelly to the right side of the back four. Whilst being no pushovers, they had beaten us 2-0 here last season, Ebbsfleet were generally considered to be a midtable side and so 3 points was the minimum I expected. BASINGSTOKE: (GK) Ikeme, (LB) Gordon, (RB) Kelly, (CB) Ramsey, (CB) McGivern, (LM) Morrison, (RM) Antonio, (CM) Koopman, (CM) Foley<C>, (ST) Bignall, (ST) Baggie Substitutes: Goulding, Henderson, Davies, Stirling, Oastler Once again we started positively and soon found ourselves in front, with Nicholas Bignall scoring our first goal of the season with a tidy finish from ten yards. But instead of pushing on the lads seemed to sit back and let Ebbsfleet get a foot in the game. Soon enough we were punished when Bryan Moore hammered one in from the edge of the box to equalise. I was fuming, and made sure the lads could hear me as I stood at the edge of the technical area. Fortunately I got a response, with Foley and Morrison both going close before the half time whistle brought a halt to the proceedings. I felt we could do with a player more comfortable inside from wide positions so I brought Scott Davies on for Antinio at the break and sent the lads out there knowing that I expected a win. Davies didn’t take long to make an impact as five minutes after the restart he crossed to the near post, only for the United ‘keeper to misjudge the flight and punch it into his own net for an own goal . The stadium erupted as did the bench, whilst it wasn’t the most glamourous was to take the lead I’d take it. This time we didn’t rest on our lead and kept pushing forward for a third. With 15 minutes left I introduced Stirling and Goulding and the two players combined five minutes later only for Goulding to head over the bar from just outside the six yard box. Just before the end of the game, Nicholas Bignall had a goal ruled out for offside but it wouldn’t matter to the result as we picked up all three points. Final Score: Basingstoke 2-1 Ebbsfleet Att: 1,135 ******* The games kept coming thick and fast and we would travel down to Eastbourne on Saturday for our third league game of the season and hoping to pick up our first away points of the season. In the meantime the atmosphere around the training ground was positive but those in the boardroom were a little disappointed with the attendance at the Ebbsfleet game. After calling me into his office, chairman David Hunt informed me that he’d decided to make the next home game against Morcambe a ‘fan day’ where we would offer cut price admission to fans who brought a friend along. The hope, he said, was to increase admission long term and I concurred that such a policy was a wise one. As I returned to my office I also had a voicemail from the secretary of the Jamaican Football Association informing me that Jason Morrison had been selected for their International squad for their match against the Caymen Islands on the 22nd of August, meaning he would miss the game with Morcambe. Disappointingly it would mean one less ‘star’ to entertain the fans on ‘fanday’. Saturday August 18thh 2012 Eastbourne Boro v Basingstoke – Priory Lane - Blue Square Premier Hateley was fit enough to come back into the starting lineup, whilst the only other change was bringing Borini onto the bench in place of Stirling. BASINGSTOKE: (GK) Ikeme, (LB) Kelly, (RB) Hateley <C>, (CB) Ramsey, (CB) McGivern, (LM) Morrison, (RM) Antonio, (CM) Koopman, (CM) Foley, (ST) Bignall, (ST) Baggie Substitutes: Goulding, Henderson, Davies, Borini, Oastler This time we started the game in slow fashion, giving away several corners and free kicks in dangerous positions, thankfully none that resulted in a goal. As the hald wore on, we began to cause trouble for the Boro defence, with Koopman flashing just wide and Bignall forcing a couple of decent saves from the Eastbourne keeper. Then, just as it looked like we in control of the game, Boro scored through Ryan Campbell. There was nothing I could do but slam my fist into the side of the dugout in frustration. Half time came and went and I was pleased to see is put Eastbourne under real pressure. Yet despite grinding out some half decent chances we failed to make any of them count and slumped to our second defeat of the season. Final Score: Eastbourne Boro 1-0 Basingstoke Att: - 918
  15. Good luck! oh and Happy Birthday for tomorrow!