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About neilhoskins77

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  • About Me
    Newcastle-Upon-Tyne & Cwmbran, South Wales

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  • Favourite Team
    Bristol.R & Newcastle Utd

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  • Currently Managing
    Maidstone United (Blue Square South - FM09)

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  1. Morning Jock, Welcome to our little corner of the boards. Before you go any further however, you'll want to have a little read of the below link.......
  2. Tuesday 1st October 2013 Maybe, just maybe, Cardiff City have started to turn the corner. On the weekend, while Davide was playing against Charlton Athletic with the Under-18's, the First Team won 1-0 at Sheffield Wednesday thanks to a first minute goal from South Korean International winger Kim Bo-Kyung. Today they went to Charlton themselves, and secured a second straight away win, despite being on the back foot for most of the match. Kenwyne Jones scored ten minutes before the break, lifting the ball over the advancing Addicks keeper, and Aron Gunnarsson netted his third League goal of the season with a close range header to round off a 2-0 win and lift City up into the top ten. No Davide in the matchday squad again today. Thursday 3rd October 2013 It's International Window time again next week, and both of the cousins are involved once more. Danilo remains in the Wales Under-21 Squad for next Thursdays vital UEFA 2015 European Under-21 Championship Qualifier against Romania, a match that they really can't afford to lose if they have aspirations of progressing to the Finals. Danilo is hoping that his fine recent form will earn him a 3rd cap at this level. He is the only player in the Welsh football pyramid who is included in this squad. Despite limited involvement with the First Team at Cardiff City Stadium, there is still a place for Davide in the Italy Under-19's Squad for their triple header of games in the First Qualification Round for the UEFA 2014 European Under-19 Championship. They are hosting the Group, which will see them face Poland first next Wednesday, followed by Kazakhstan on the Friday and then finally Wales on the Sunday. He is one of three UK based players included by Italy for this squad, with fellow defenders Saidy Janko of Manchester United, who is Zurich born and also eligible for Switzerland and Gambia, and Dario del Fabro, who is on loan at Leeds United from Cagliari also included. Saturday 5th October 2013 Danilo's fine form continued today as he helped Haverfordwest County into the Third Round of the Welsh Cup, courtesy of a 3-1 home win over their League rivals, Pen-y-Bont. The Bridgend based club managed a quick equaliser when County went in front for the first time, but they couldn't find a response when former Swansea City youngster Andrew Mumford had them back in front before the break, and Kristian Griffiths found the net on the hour. And Danilo? Well, he set up all three goals and was named man of the match yet again, with an 8.7 rating. And they weren't the only ones on form, as Cardiff City's resurgence continued with a 2-0 home win against Norwich City at the Cardiff City Stadium. There was a goal from Adam Le Fondre, who was substituted five minutes later, replaced by Kenwyne Jones, who crashed in the winner from the penalty spot via the post! Suddenly, Ole Gunnar Solskjær has these players looking like world beaters! There was no Davide in the Cardiff City First Team squad again today, and he had already played today by the time they kicked off against Norwich. He had travelled west with their Under-18 side for their eagerly anticipated Group Two South match at Landore Training Complex in Swansea for the 'derby match'. On a day of drizzle, it was an early bath for Davide, as he was sent off in the 41st minute of the goalless draw, shown a straight red for a poorly timed tackle. He's now banned for one Under-18 match. Monday 7th October 2013 Being as he had only played 41 minutes of football on Saturday morning, there was no issue with Davide being too fatigued to go again this evening, he just had to try and behave himself a bit better for another 'derby' match, as Cardiff City Under-21's hosted Bristol City Under-21's in a Group Two fixture for the elder age group. And he did a much better job this time at Cardiff City Stadium, putting in a man of the match display as he captained the side from centre back to a 2-0 win, with a goal early in each half from 31 year old Spanish striker, Javi Guerra. Tuesday 8th October 2013 Even when Haverfordwest County can't get the job done in the League, there seems to be no stopping Danilo right now. They had travelled from the west coast of the Principality to the south east border, where they played Monmouth Town in a MacWhirter Welsh League Division One match. They were two goals down inside an hour at the Monmouth Sportsground, and they couldn't turn it around, despite Danilo finding the net in the 61st minute. His man of the match streak came to an end too, Monmouth keeper Steve Fish's display picking up that award today. It wasn't good news when the draw for the Third Round of the Welsh Cup was made today either. County were the last team out of the hat, as they were drawn to play away to Welsh Premier League side Bala Town next month. Wednesday 9th October 2013 The International Window begins this afternoon in Italy, but not for Davide, who is left out by Italy Under-19's after playing ninety minutes for Cardiff Under-21's less than 48 hours ago. It wasn't a good start for them either, as they opened their campaign just outside of Milan against Poland. A goal from 18 year old Fiorentina midfielder Leonardo Capezzi got them level before the break, but the Polish scored again around the hour mark, and claimed the win. Thursday 10th October 2013 Leaving the Di Cianni cousins out appears to be bad for results at International level. Wales Under-21's attracted a good crowd of almost 6,000 to the Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli this evening for their UEFA 2015 European Under-21 Qualifier against Romania. A goal from Steaua Bucharest youngster Gabriel Iancu had the visitors in front, but Tom Bradshaw of Walsall had Wales level quickly, but moments later Liam O'Neil, a centre back on loan at Notts County from West Bromwich Albion, earned his second booking in a ten minute spell, and Iancu bagged a winner for Romania in the 81st minute. That is a big loss for Wales, a 2-1 one defeat that will likely cost them any chance of a place in the Finals. Friday 11th October 2013 The point is proven when the next set of matches take place in Sedriano, Northern Italy. This time out, Davide is back at centre back for Italy Under-19's, though it wasn't a great start, as Kazakhstan took the lead through young striker Rifat Nurmugamet. But our boy led the team in headers and interceptions, as they came from behind, 15 year old winger Hachim Mastour of AC Milan equalising on the stroke of half time, full back Luigi Luciani of Sampdoria putting them ahead right after the restart, and on loan Parma striker Alberto Cerri rounding off the job on the hour. 3-1 Italy. Sunday 13th October 2013 The final day of action in Sedriano, and Group 1 of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship First Qualifying Round. There was a win for Poland over Kazakhstan earlier today, and Wales have already won both their matches, leaving both nations on six points with only one match left, Italy v Wales. The Italians need a win to join them on six points and leave a three way tie at the top. But they have failed to notice the pattern, and left Davide out once again. A goal twenty minutes from time by Chelsea youngster Chike Kandi, which means Wales go through, Italy are out, and Davide's first chance to play in a major International Tournament has gone for now. Tuesday 15th October 2013 The International Window is over, and normal service quickly resumes, Danilo playing regularly for Haverfordwest County, and I assume Davide sitting on the sidelines at Cardiff City. No Danilo tonight though, as County sent a scratch team into Cardiff to face Taff's Well at Rhiw Dda'r in the First Round of the Loosemores League Cup, and after a goalless draw, County pulled through 5-3 on penalties. Wednesday 16th October 2013 The draw is made for the Quarter-Finals the following morning, with Haverfordwest County one of only two non-top flight sides remaining in the competition. That gave them a very high chance of facing a Welsh Premier League side, and that is indeed how the draw played out. Third out of the hat, which means a home draw, and the visitors won't have too long a midweek trip to make, as the guests will be Afan Lido, who are currently sat fourth in the top tier. Saturday 19th October 2013 It was back to a full strength side for County when they returned to League action today, as they take on one of the two Goytre sides that are in this Division. One of them looks set to be a Title Rival this season, but today they travel towards the east border to face Goytre FC who are only just above the relegation zone. And their prospects weren't helped when Haverfordwest helped themselves to three points with a goal in each half at Plough Road for a 2-0 win. It's another man of the match performance from Danilo as well, who set up the second goal for Tim Hicks midway through the second half. County are now second, behind the other Goytre, the Port Talbot based Goytre United. Across the border, and considerably further north, there was an identical result for Cardiff City, as they continued their impressive run of form and march up the Sky Bet Championship table. There was no Davide on the trip to Bolton Wanderers as City took a 2-0 win at the Reebok Stadium, the first from South Korean International forward Kim Bo-Kyung after a quarter of an hour, and the second in the 52nd minute from in form Trinidad & Tobago International striker, Kenwyne Jones. That result lifts City into fifth, and only four points away from an automatic promotion spot. Wednesday 23rd October 2013 Danilo's month is cut short, as he suffers a thigh strain in training that will keep him out of action for anything up to three weeks. It's a double blow, as Haverfordwest County are going to be without their in form player, while for Danilo himself, he is going to miss the chance to strut his stuff in front of a bigger club next week, as he is ruled out of the Loosemore League Cup Quarter-Final tie against Afan Lido. He will also be doubtful for the Welsh Cup tie away to Bala Town next month as well. Saturday 26th October 2013 The wins just keep on coming for Cardiff City, and another trip north yields another three point haul. It's Blackpool who are put to the sword this weekend, another 2-0 win for the Bluebirds, and the same two scorers as last weekend too, with Kim Bo-Kyung putting his team ahead midway through the first half, and Kenwyne Jones again left to put the rubber stamp on the win with a goal from 20 yards out with five minutes to play. There was no Davide again today, and while they keep winning, there isn't likely to be any time soon. City are up to fourth. Despite being down to the bare bones, Haverfordwest didn't give visitors Ton Pentre a sniff at Bridge Meadow, the Rhondda Valley based side very much second best, despite County missing several players including Danilo. The only real surprise was that it took the home side nearly an hour to make the breakthrough. It was midfielder Michael Parkins who got them off the mark, and Andrew Mumford secured the win five minutes later. County continue their pursuit of Goytre United. Tuesday 29th October 2013 There was very little expectation on Haverfordwest tonight as they hosted Afan Lido at Bridge Meadow in the Loosemores League Cup Quarter-Final. A crowd of over 300 on a rainy evening saw their side give it their all, actually hitting the target more often than their Welsh Premier League opponents, but failing to find the net, and losing 2-0, a goal in each half from Adrian Tache, a Romanian defender who is playing outside his home nation for the first time this season. So County go out at the Quarter-Final stage. No disgrace, but no giant-killing act either. I'm not sure if having Danilo available would have made too much difference.
  3. Really appreciate that comment Oche, and thank you very much. I actually enjoy trying to put plenty of detail into my writing and then trying to thread it all together into some kind of a flow. Time wise, it does mean the speed of play suffers, but it's worthwhile knowing people are reading and enjoying it.
  4. Monday 2nd September 2013 There are many potentially interesting sub-plots to this story that could develop over the years. Some of the more obvious are the questions of whether the cousins will ever feature for the same team together, or would they ever be in a situation to play against one another? Well, the first chance for the latter has just presented itself. It is a bit of a long shot, but today Italy and Wales have been thrown together in Group 1 of the 2014 UEFA European Under-19 Championship Qualifying First Round, along with Kazakhstan and Poland. Right now, Davide is part of the Italy Under-19 squad, but Danilo has been moved right up to the Under-21 setup. One to keep an eye on though. Wednesday 4th September 2013 The Under-21's equivalent Qualifying Tournament has continued today, with Wales claiming a superb result with a 1-0 win over Russia in Llanelli, thanks to a goal five minutes before the break from Liverpool youngster, Harry Wilson. A crowd of over 6,000 were there for the game, but there was no place for Danilo today. There might be a chance for him to be involved in the second half of the double header in Slovenia next week though, as Southampton forward Lloyd Isgrove was sent off today, and will now be banned for that match, and he is a player Danilo is competing with for a place in the lineup. Thursday 5th September 2013 In Arcore, a small city in North West Italy, just over 10 miles outside Milan, the news wasn't much better for the cousins. Davide was only an unused substitute today as the Italian Under-19 lads swept aside a young Republic of Ireland side that had held them to a draw last month in Skerries. A brace from AC Milan striker Andrea Petagna was added to with a goal from Mauro Bollino of Palermo for a 3-0 win. The biggest disappointment would have been the attendance, with only 206 watching the game, less than Haverfordwest County get on a weekly basis. Saturday 7th September 2013 Speaking of Haverfordwest, they didn't seem to miss Danilo too much, as they continued their good start to the season this afternoon. They travelled into the capital to face Taffs Well at their Rhiw Dda'r ground, and a first half penalty from Dylan Blain and a debut goal from midfielder Jack Britton were enough, despite Taffs getting one back early in the second half from former Wales-Under-21 International forward, Leon Jeanne. A 2-1 win leaves County in third place with four matches played. Monday 9th September 2013 The Italy Under-19 side have moved from the nations industrial north, right down to the holiday resort laden south of the nation, and on to the northern coast of the island of Sicily. In the small town of Cinisi and its Comunale Stadium, they record a second consecutive 3-0 victory, this time the beaten nation is Iran. The goals came from Alberto Cerri, a Parma striker on loan with Lanciano, then Danilo Cataldi early in the second half, a Lazio forward who is currently on a loan spell with Grosseto, and finally very late on Antonio Palma, an Atalanta midfielder who is on loan with Ternana. But more importantly, our boy Davide was selected at centre back, and played the full 90 minutes, putting in one of the best performances of any player on the park in the beautiful, warm, Sicilian sunshine. He made three key tackles, another three interceptions, and won all but one of his seven headed challenges, as he recorded a very good rating of 8.00. It wasn't as good news from the north-eastern city of Velenje in Slovenia, where Wales Under-21's were playing against their hosts in a European Under-21 Championships Qualifier. They were already two goals down by the time Jake Cassidy of Wolverhampton Wanderers pulled a goal back before the break, but it wouldn't be enough, as with no further scoring in the second half, they went down to a 2-1 defeat. Danilo started on the right wing, eventually substituted in the 67th minute after a performance rated as a 6.9, and where he made as many tackles as he did crosses. But he was credited with the assist on the Wales goal, the first of his career in his 6th competitive game. Friday 13th September 2013 Back in Wales, speculation is mounting as to the future of Cardiff City manager Ole Gunnar Solksjær. with just one win and two defeats from their opening five games, there are whispers that the Norwegian 40 year old may be facing the sack if he can't get the Bluebirds on the move up the Sky Bet Championship table in the near future. Saturday 14th September 2013 It's unlikely that today's events will have helped the pressure on Solskjær either. City twice threw away leads at home to Reading in front of just over 20,000 at the Cardiff City Stadium. By far the most frustrating of the conceded goals will have been Hope Akpan's 88th minute leveller, where the City defence missed several chances to clear their lines. A 2-2 draw leaves the Bluebirds in 14th place, and there is still no debut for Davide, who was left out of the matchday squad today. No such issues West down the M4, as at Bridge Meadow Stadium, there is a man of the match performance from Danilo in the Haverfordwest County midfield, to add to the assist he got earlier in the week for Wales-Under-21's. He put in a 7.3 average rating performance against the Swansea based visitors West End, completing two key passes and one cross, while also beating his opponent twice. It wasn't enough to help his side claim all the points on offer though, as a goal in each half meant this MacWhirter Welsh League Division One encounter finished in a 1-1 draw. And Haverfordwest will be without their 38 year old former Wrexham full back Deryn Brace for a while. The veteran Player/Coach, who is in his second spell with the club, twisted an ankle today, and will miss around six weeks of football. Monday 16th September 2013 The knives are being sharpened for Ole Gunnar Solksjær, and his time at Cardiff City may soon be up. That's the verdict of local newspaper, 'The South Wales Echo' at least. They're suggesting that a defeat at home to Nottingham Forest in the Sky Bet Championship tomorrow evening could well end his spell in the hotseat at Cardiff City Stadium. Tuesday 17th September 2013 Maybe it wasn't a night to be blooding a teenage centre back in front of almost 21,000 fans and with your job on the line, so I doubt it was too far up on Ole Gunnar Solskjær's list of priorities, Davide not part of the squad again tonight. A goal from Trinidad & Tobago International striker Kenwyne Jones right on half time had City in front, and all was still good for the Bluebirds and their home fans with only a quarter of an hour to play. Then Matty Fryatt scored twice for the visitors in a two minute spell, and City fall to defeat! Saturday 21st September 2013 The draw is made for the First Round of the Loosemores League Cup, very much a minor competition in the Welsh football calendar. Haverfordwest will be pretty happy with their draw, as they will make a trip to Taffs Well in mid-October, a venue they have already visited and won at this season. Taffs won't relish facing Haverfordwest again on their current form, as they notch a win today on an away day in Port Talbot. There was no answer from hosts TATA Steel in the opening half hour, as first Kristian Griffiths found the net from close range after being set up by Danilo, and then in the 29th minute, Danilo scored his first Senior goal with a 25 yard shot that skidded across the wet surface and through a crowd of players and inside the post. He is the first of the cousins to find the net, and adds a second successive man of the match award as well as his assist, as he starts to hit a real purple patch of form, County getting a 2-0 win. That's now six games without defeat for Haverfordwest, which is a new record mark for both the club, and the MacWhirter Welsh League Division One. Ole Gunnar Solksjær can only dream of a run like that right now, but there is at last some relief for the Cardiff City manager, as he sees his side grab a home win today. Peter Whittingham and Aron Gunnarsson find the net in the first half, and City beat the now bottom of the table side Birmingham City to give themselves a bit more breathing room to the sides around the relegation zone. Still no Davide in the matchday squad though. Monday 23rd September 2013 I hope the Cardiff City Board don't have high hopes for progress much further in the Capital One Cup, and I also hope Solskjær's job isn't hinging on that progress, as tomorrow night they are set to welcome Manchester City to the Cardiff City Stadium in the Third Round. Even if the Premier League club rotate their squad heavily, not many give the Welsh side much hope of pulling off an upset. Much more difficult to predict will be the the tie that has just been drawn in the Second Round of the Welsh Cup today, as Haverfordwest County are drawn at home to Pen-y-Bont. At the point of the draw, the clubs are second and third respectively in the MacWhirter Welsh League Division One. That early October match could be a hell of a tie. Tuesday 24th September 2013 In front of a larger than normal attendance at the Cardiff City Stadium, the home side gave it their all, but a 7th minute goal from Sergio Agüero gave Manchester City their passage through to the next round, and Cardiff are out. Davide is not involved in the squad at all for this one, City opting for their strongest squad in search of an upset. Saturday 28th September 2013 After being left out in midweek, Davide is given some game time by Cardiff City, and he is sent away with the Under-18's for their Group 2 South Division match against Charlton Athletic's Under-18's at their Sparrows Lane training complex. He put in a man of the match performance in their 1-0 win, which came courtesy of a first half goal from winger Jaye Bowen. It was a 7.5 rating performance from Davide, who hardly put a foot wrong in the back four. That win moved City's Under-18 side above their opponents and into third place in the ten team Group, right behind bitter rivals Swansea City, who they face next week. Further West, Danilo made it a man of the match double for the cousins today, as he was instrumental in Haverfordwest destroying a team from my own home town, Cwmbran Celtic, by a score of 3-0 at the Bridge Meadow Stadium. He got the ball rolling with an assist, providing the cross that Kristian Griffiths headed home in the 33rd minute. He constantly tormented his opposite number in a rather one sided affair, and Richard Ryan and Dylan Blain added further goals. An 8.3 rating put Danilo well above anyone else's rating today, and he now has the third highest average rating in the Division, and the most man of the match awards.
  5. Monday 18th August 2014 Four points from our opening two home games is a pretty healthy start to the new campaign, and I'm a pretty happy gaffer going into a new week. But the challenge will increase a little when we play two away matches over the coming week. We start tomorrow evening against promoted, and managerless Hitchin Town. They have earned one point from their opening two matches, and have a threadbare squad, filled out by two on loan teenagers, one from Crystal Palace, and another from Southend United. Even though we're away, the bookies make us favourites. Then on the weekend, it's a trip that I'm dreading. Last season, I visited Gloucestershire to watch Maidstone United play away to Forest Green Rovers before I took the job, and watched the team get absolutely obliterated 5-1 at The New Lawn. We head back there on Saturday, but Rovers have lost their opening two matches and lost the large core of their squad from last season. Tuesday 19th August Blue Square League, South Division Top Field, Hitchin Hitchin Town v Maidstone United Attendance :- 676. Weather :- Breezy, 21c. We make the relatively short trip north to Hertfordshire, and our first recorded meeting with Hitchin Town. A rotation is required after playing on Saturday, and with another game coming up this week. Three players are called up from the Reserves as we reach right into the depths of our fairly large squad. The first of those is Ian Rossiter, who starts at right back, with Michael Haswell brought back in on the opposite side of the back four, and Shaun Culverhouse making his Senior debut in the middle, replacing Aaron Steele for this one. Malcolm Carr is also brought back into the side for this one, while Gavin Molloy comes up from the Reserves to start with Marc Canham in midfield. On the left, Adam Campbell starts today, while there is a debut up front for Jack Deeney. There are places on the bench tonight for Lewis McMahon for the first time this season, and Mark Smith, who could make his club debut. Jack Collins is our hot player right now, and he almost had us in front in the 7th minute, striking a curling free kick around the Hitchin wall, but just over the cross bar. Five minutes later, we would go closer still, Michael Haswell swinging in a corner, and Jack Deeney beat his marker in the air, his header coming back off the angle of the goal frame. Hitchin used the wing route to try and break the deadlock, talented on loan winger Karl Charles making a great run, and his cross picked out Willie Ure, but his header back across goal was inches past the post. Chances continued to be exchanged, Haswell making a nice interception on halfway and playing Gavin Molloy into space in the left channel, the Aussie midfielders cross shot was off target. Both sides failed to take advantage of corners, before Molloy played in Haswell for our best chance so far, the full back firing his shot right at Ally Mwape. He tried to make up for that with a corner that caused Mwape all kinds of problems, the keeper needed his defence to help him out and clear the ball. A couple of Hitchin players picked up bookings as we cranked up the pressure, but they had their best chance so far before the break, a cross after a short corner was headed back at the far post by Matt Smart towards the penalty spot, John Reilly brought it down and fired through a crowd of players, Josh Derry seeing it only at the last minute, but turning it around the post with a smart reaction save. Goalless at the break, and Jack Deeney was struggling with a knock, but that wouldn't stop him winning two headers early after the restart, but there was no one on the end of them unfortunately. That would be his last act, as his knock got the better of him, and he was replaced by Daniel Walsh, with Molloy coming off for Lewis McMahon at the same time. They would get on the park just in time to see Charles produce an outstanding curling through ball from the right wing that sent Rob Sykes in on goal, but the winger fluffed his lines, managing to mis-control the ball and fail to get a shot in. Malcolm Carr was now starting to take control of the game from the centre circle, twice in the space of a few minutes he dropped the ball over the opposition left back to get Collins running into the box, Danny Christie tackling him first, and then a penalty appeal when Cem Steiner appeared to bring the winger down, but not in the opinion of the ref. Haswell was also getting involved, a curling shot that Mwape elected to punch clear, but McMahon had no chance to get amongst the action, as he suffered an injury less than ten minutes after coming on. That meant a reshuffle, Collins moving into midfield to accommodate the introduction of Mark Smith for his Maidstone debut on the right wing. Sykes got himself in on goal again, this time getting in his shot and beating Derry, only to see his shot come back off the far post. With under 20 minutes to play, it was starting to look like a mistake, or one piece of magic would settle this match, and Sykes made it a hatrick of missed chances when he broke the offside trap from a free kick into the box, but sent his shot inches past the far post. Reilly had the next go as Hitchin pushed to try and get their first win of the season, and he tried to beat Derry at his near post, our keeper saving the shot with his legs. With just six minutes remaining, Adam Campbell got into the game for the first time of note, and thought he was fouled by the already booked Terry Haywood as he prepared to cross, once more the ref didn't agree. With just seconds remaining of injury time, Carr split the Hitchin defence open with a through ball, and Mark Smith's pace got him to the ball first ahead of the defenders, and he clipped the ball over the advancing Mwape, but it cleared the bar and the last chance to pinch the points had gone. Hitchin Town (0) 0 Maidstone United (0) 0 Josh Derry; Ian Rossiter, Shaun Culverhouse, James Curtis ©, Michael Haswell; Malcolm Carr; Gavin Molloy (Lewis McMahon 54 (inj - Mark Smith 63)), Marc Canham; Jack Collins, Adam Campbell; Jack Deeney (inj - Daniel Walsh 54). Unused Substitutes :- Aaron Steele, Gary Murray. Bookings :- None Possession :- 42% - 58%. Man of the Match :- Malcolm Carr (Maidstone United). That was one of those games that could have gone either way to be honest, and a draw was probably a fair result, with both teams creating and missing several chances. Rob Sykes was the worst culprit when it came to missing chances, the Hitchin striker will surely find himself doing extra shooting training this week. I was very impressed with 19 year old Karl Charles, he is on loan from Southend United. His range of passing was excellent, and he showed he can beat an opponent as well. We're not in the market for a right winger for the moment, but we will certainly keep an eye on him in the future. While we're keeping an eye on him, we won't be seeing too much of Lewis McMahon, after he suffered a torn hamstring less than ten minutes after coming off the bench for his first outing of the season. He will be sidelined for three months now, meaning it's likely to be December before he can even be considered for selection again. One player who did have plenty of time on the park to impress tonight was Malcolm Carr. The 19 year old Sunderland born defensive midfielder has improved leaps and bounds since his arrival from Luton Town, and adds another dimension to our attacking options with his ability to switch the play and pick out wingers in space. He has just picked up the first man of the match award of his career, and I suspect there may be more to come. Wednesday 20th August Our Reserves scored a last minute winner in Basingstoke tonight through Louis Ward, a 16 year old centre midfielder who came to the club as part of our Youth Intake in the summer coming off the bench to bag the winner. Keep an eye out for him, he's progressing well. The Reserves side featured a nice mix of fringe First Team players and young prospects for this one, with Matthew Hatch earning man of the match, and Alex Sawyer setting up the winner. Friday 22nd August Another £200 per week disappears from our wage bill, as Martyn Giles bids his leave to Bourne Park, and makes his move away from Maidstone United. Just like Grant Hanley, he drops down the levels to continue his career, as the 31 year old Welsh defender joins Bishop's Stortford on a Free Transfer. Just like his former team mate, he also gets a pay rise for making the move as well, a hefty one too, his weekly wage jumping up to £350 per week. That is £525 a week moved from our wage bill now. Tomorrow afternoon we face what is likely to be our toughest test of the season so far. Despite a fairly major squad overhaul, Forest Green Rovers are considered promotion candidates, and the bookies make them favourites to inflict our first defeat of the season to the tune of Even money. They came into the week sat in the early League makeup's bottom three after a pair of away wins. But they opened their home campaign earlier in the week with a convincing win over Weston-super-Mare, the job already done before on loan Jeff Briggs picked up a straight red card with twelve minutes remaining. He's one of two loan players they have, Briggs in from West Bromwich Albion is now suspended, the other is a teenage striker from MK Dons by the name of Jack Jones, and he is also out with an injury. Saturday 23rd August Blue Square League, South Division The New Lawn, Nailsworth Forest Green Rovers v Maidstone United Attendance :- 740. Weather :- Downpours, 24c. We are back at full strength for another beautiful summers day in Gloucestershire, or not. Andy Miskimmon and Mark Williams return in their full back roles, while Aaron Steele is also back in the middle of the back four. Gordon Chin is also back in the side to partner Marc Canham in centre midfield, with Terry Hindmarch on the left, and Daniel Walsh up front. In the 8th minute, Daniel Walsh held the ball up, and when Jack Collins made his run to drag a defender with him, he sent it out wider still to Andy Miskimmon, the full back and skipper getting to the byline and winning a corner that came to nothing. But Rovers used that as a springboard to a counter attack, leading to them winning a free kick that was taken quickly and Keith Quinn received the ball and drove a shot from long range that Josh Derry fielded easily. Midway through the half, and Rovers countered again, Neil Fowler sent the ball from centre back and into the right wing for Iarfhlaith Davoren to run onto, and for a moment we looked outnumbered and in trouble. But who better to spot the danger than a player who loves to make those passes himself, and Malcolm Carr got himself back to help out his defence, heading the cross clear and breaking up the attack. The next attack was a set piece attempt to break us down, this time Fowler on the end of the move, or that was the intent anyway, Quinn's free kick failed to find him as Miskimmon had him covered and made the clearance. The next time they got a free kick they would go direct for goal, Mike Woods curling the ball around the wall being marshalled by Miskimmon, but failing to get enough curl to get the ball on target. Miskimmon would be back in the changing rooms within a few minutes, an injury ending his match prematurely, Gary Murray coming on in his place. He didn't make a particularly good impact, Carr giving away the ball carelessly, Murray diving in needlessly on halfway and allowing Niall Canavan to spin past him and send the ball down the line for Alvin Hamilton to head into the path of Quinn, his dipping shot only just clearing the bar. 0-0 at half time, and to be honest, we had failed to cause Rovers any real problems at all, and only a superbly timed tackle by Aaron Steele prevented Hamilton playing Adam Foster in for an opener. Ten minutes later, and a cross from Gregory Cunningham would have picked out sub Lewis Broughton, but for a last ditch header clear by Mark Williams. We were clearly second best, and I responded, pulling the players back into a more conventional 4-4-2 system, with less focus on attacking, and more on countering when the chance presented itself, aiming to use our pacy wingers. I brought James Curtis off at the same time, our Vice Captain not having a particularly good afternoon, and he was replaced by Shaun Culverhouse. For a moment, I thought the changes would have a wonder impact, Terry Hindmarch making an interception as he tracked back down his wing, and sent a first time long ball up and over the advanced Rovers defence, Walsh showing great pace to win the race to the ball, and some strength to hold off the retreating defenders, before attempting to pick his shot with a firmly struck effort, Gary Philpott equal to it and making a big stop. With our new plan revealed, Rovers got cute, and started passing the ball around to stretch us across the park, before Dave Hogg tried a curler from range that Derry saw late through a crowd of players and had to fling himself to his right to push it away. There was a certain inevitability about the opening goal when it arrived in the 64th minute, Cunningham shaping to cross, and then knocking the ball past Collins to leave him out of the game, and then whipping in a cross that Hamilton met with a firm header as he arrived across the path of Steele and Culverhouse, and he guided his effort into the roof of the net to put Rovers in front! We simply were not creating enough, with fifteen minutes to play, Gordon Chin sent in a free kick that evaded everyone except Hindmarch at the far post. He sent it back across goal, but Culverhouse just couldn't reach it, even at full stretch, failing to divert the ball home. Chin would come off moments later, replaced by Danny Carey-Bertram as I brought on a second striker, and started to throw players forward with the ball being pumped up the park quickly to try and snatch a point back for our trip home to Kent. It just wasn't our day though, and the closest the game would come to a second goal was Hamilton's late shot on the turn that was only just wide of the post, and Williams earned a late booking purely out of frustration. At least we were more competitive here than we were last season I suppose. Forest Green Rovers (0) 1 - Alvin Hamilton (64) Maidstone United (0) 0 Josh Derry; Andy Miskimmon © (inj - Gary Murray 40), Aaron Steele, James Curtis (Shaun Culverhouse 55), Mark Williams; Malcolm Carr; Gordon Chin (Danny Carey-Bertram 78), Marc Canham; Jack Collins, Terry Hindmarch; Daniel Walsh. Unused Substitutes :- Michael Haswell, Adam Campbell. Bookings :- Mark Williams (90+4) Possession :- 51% - 49%. Man of the Match :- Gregory Cunningham (Forest Green Rovers). We might have had plenty of the ball, but we didn't do much with it other than give it away. Just one shot, which was at least on target, but Daniel Walsh couldn't find the net at a point of the game where a goal would've forced Rovers to pour forward. In pre-season we looked sharp as a knife, but now when we are into the thick of the domestic action, we have struggled up front, even when we have created chances. There is a player available who might be more clinical, and while I'm reluctant to put the money I've just saved from the wage bill right back into the squad, I don't want to see our ambition of being well clear of a relegation dog fight snuffed out for a lack of goals when we could have done something about it. I put a contract offer in, though I suspect we won't be the favourites for the player. Another concern is Andy Miskimmon. The Club Captain looked assured and one of our most consistent players in the latter stages of last season. This season he has started three times, and has been booked once and injured twice. At 28 years old, he isn't an old player of course, but this is the highest level of football he has ever played at, and I need him to get back to the levels he was at when I decided to give him the armband. Thursday 28th August We've missed out on the striker we were chasing. Former Norwich City player Kris Renton ended up with several better options, and he decided the best of those was Charlton Athletic of Coca-Cola League One, who's contract offer gave the Irishman a weekly wage treble the amount we were able to offer. It's a bit of a blow, but it isn't like we are short of strikers, like, oooohhh, I don't know, Dartford for example, who have just seen on loan striker Jason Doswell recalled back to Crystal Palace, leaving them very short up front. Friday 29th August We go into the weekend right in the mid table pack and sitting in 13th place. We return to Bourne Park, where the visitors will be Basingstoke Town, sat just two places and one point behind us. Hopefully we can get back on the winning trail, which the bookies have us down as favourites to do. Saturday 30th August Blue Square League, South Division Bourne Park, Sittingbourne Maidstone United v Basingstoke Town Attendance :- 540. Weather :- Gusty, 16c. After the below par performance last weekend, I have given the same eleven a chance to redeem themselves at home, and try and get us back on track. There were three changes amongst the substitutes, with Alan Dallas, Mark Smith and Jack Deeney all brought into the matchday squad today. With the rain staying away for once, we were hoping that the improvement in our attendance figures would continue, but sadly not, as a figure almost half of the opening day number were here today. We gave away the ball deep inside the Basingstoke half in the fourth minute, and were almost on the end of an absolute wonder goal. Wesley Thomas stripped the ball from Marc Canham when he thought he had plenty of time, and then despite not being blessed with any real pace, he set off on a mazy run that saw him beat four players, and Malcolm Carr twice, before getting to the edge of the box and letting fly with a curling shot that was only inches wide of the goal frame. Our visitors would go closer still ten minutes later, Jake Foley whipping in a free kick that Peter Martin met with a glancing header at the near post, that one coming back off the bar. Moments later Foley sent in a corner this time, and and Alex Henderson found himself unmarked six yards out, but he couldn't keep his header down, a gilt edged chance going begging for Town. With nearly twenty minutes on the clock, we finally got hold of the ball ourselves, Carr sending a long diagonal pass out to the left for Terry Hindmarch, and his low cross went right through the six yard box and to the far post, finding Jack Collins who should have scored from close range, but Tony Butterworth scrambled across his goalmouth and kept the ball out. It had been a difficult start, and it was about to get more difficult yet as well. Gordon Chin received a short pass from Hindmarch on halfway, and tried to spin away from Foley, who grabbed a handful of the midfielders shirt. Chin might be lacking in height, but not in aggressiveness, and swung his elbow in response, catching Foley right in the mouth, and receiving a straight red card for his trouble. Now we had real problems, and we would have to sit back somewhat and try and counter attack when the opportunity presented. Ironically, and as is often the case, we looked a bit more dangerous set up this way, and Daniel Walsh was moving out into the channels to hold the ball up. It got us through to half time at least. The second half started very quietly, and that suited us just fine today, as we reached the hour mark without any scares. I was yet to be convinced we could hold out like this though, and made another change on the hour, Canham replaced by Alan Dallas as we went with two defensive midfielders to sit in front of the back four and try and break play up before it became too dangerous, and force Town to play outside the danger zones. And we were still the side creating the most, not that it was very much, Walsh with a shot on the turn just over the bar, Collins making a lung busting run into the penalty box, looking to entice a tackle that would force the ref into a decision, and when it came appealing loudly for a spot kick. Hindmarch joined him, too loudly perhaps, as he earned a booking. With time ticking down, Town tried to force the issue a bit, Murray Gamble's route to goal blocked with a tackle, Foley trying a curler from range that only just missed the top corner. As Henderson hit a shot wide from just inside the box, Carr went down with a knock, and I'd need to make a change, Gary Murray coming on to play in the defensive midfield role with Dallas, with Jack Deeney coming on for Walsh at the same time. The next time Henderson had the ball, he sent in a deep cross that Hindmarch couldn't reach, and full back Johnny Watt brought the ball down and sent in a shot that hit the top of the bar on it's way over. With only minutes remaining, there would be one last chance for the deadlock to be broken, Collins free kick from near the right corner of the penalty box curled around the wall and into the danger zone, right through the box, and just wide of the far post without anyone managing to get a touch. 0-0. Maidstone United (0) 0 Basingstoke Town (0) 0 Josh Derry; Andy Miskimmon ©, Aaron Steele, James Curtis, Mark Williams; Malcolm Carr (inj - Gary Murray 75); Gordon Chin, Marc Canham (Alan Dallas 60); Jack Collins, Terry Hindmarch; Daniel Walsh (Jack Deeney 75). Unused Substitutes :- Shaun Culverhouse, Mark Smith. Bookings :- Terry Hindmarch 67 Sent Off :- Gordon Chin 21 Possession :- 48% - 52%. Man of the Match :- Jack Collins (Maidstone United). If you'd asked me before the game, I would have been disappointed if we hadn't notched a win today, but after the game, I was pretty relieved we hadn't been beaten after playing around 70 minutes with only ten men, so I have to be satisfied that we held on to earn a point. Gordon Chin's red card was both cynical, and frankly, stupid, especially for a player of his experience. It has cost him a weeks wages as a fine, £375. He accepted the fine and the warning that came with it, and indicated that he will work on his discipline in the future. He is banned for one game initially, but that could, and likely will be increased when the disciplinary committee meet next weekend. The bright point of the day was Jack Collins again. Despite our numerical disadvantage, the winger used his pace and trickery to cause the Basingstoke defence problems on several occasions. Sunday 31st August Yesterdays draw left us sat in 12th place, one place under the current target for the season of the top half of the table. A home win today for Team Bath moves them above us and up into 7th spot, meaning we end the month of August in 13th place with six points from our opening five matches. We now have no League match for two weeks, and no game at all next weekend, before we take on our first Cup match of the season the following midweek.
  6. Saturday 3rd August 2013 Pre-season continues today for Haverfordwest County with a trip to Neath where they faced AFC Llwydcoed, who play one tier below them in the MacWhirter Welsh Division Two. They come back with a 2-1 win against the amateur side, with Danilo Di Cianni left out of the squad for that one at the Welfare Ground. It's more serious matters for Cardiff City, as further east, they begin their domestic campaign in the Sky Bet Championship at Cardiff City Stadium, where the visitors are Blackburn Rovers. There are 23,725 in attendance, but no Di Cianni on the park, as Davide is left out of the matchday squad today, and City go down to a 2-1 defeat, a debut goal from Brazilian full back Fábio no more than a consolation. Sunday 4th August 2013 The weekend is saved for the cousins, when the first International squads of the season are named, and both receive their first ever call-up's. Davide is called up by Italy's Under-19's for their Friendly away to the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday 13th August. And Davide is one of only four players currently not playing at an Italian club to be included. But Danilo has gone one better, as he is included in the Wales Under-21 Squad, for what he hopes will be a competitive debut for them as well, as they head to Lithuania for a fixture on the same day as they begin their UEFA 2015 European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Four campaign. Romania, Russia and Slovenia are the other nations in the same Group. Danilo is the only 16 year old included in that squad. Tuesday 6th August 2013 Cardiff City are in Cup action tonight for the first time this season, as they travel to face Dagenham & Redbridge of Sky Bet League Two at Victoria Road in the First Round of the Capital One League Cup. This time Davide is included in the matchday squad for the trip, but it still isn't his time for a Senior debut, as he is an unused substitute in City's fairly routine 4-1 win, while seven other players make their Bluebirds debut. Wednesday 7th August 2013 It's a more low key evening for Danilo, as Haverfordwest County play their latest pre-season friendly, this time in Swansea against another MacWhirter Welsh Division Two side, Garden Village. But at least he gets to play, starting for his side and playing 64 minutes of a 2-1 win. He did okay, coming out with a so-so rating of 6.8, and posting 50% completion rates for both his passing and crossing. Thursday 8th August 2013 Happy Birthday Davide! The centre back turns 17 today, and it's a big day in more ways than one. That's because as of today, he is now a professional footballer, with his Youth contract swapped for a Full Time Pro deal, and for a 17 year old who has never played a Senior match, and is new to the country with only a basic grasp of English, the figures are pretty eye watering. His three year deal now includes a basic wage of £3,500 per week, which will increase to £8,250 once he has played 15 League matches for the Bluebirds. He gets a 15% pay rise each season, and a 25% pay rise if City get promoted to the Premier League, with a 25% reduction if the club get relegated. City also have an option to extend the deal by an extra year. But they are also paying the birthday boy a £775 appearance fee, with £525 if he's an unused substitute, plus an additional £675 clean sheet bonus. The beers are on Davide.......next year, when he's old enough to buy a round in the UK. I wonder if Danilo's loyalty to Haverfordwest will be tested when he hears the kind of money his cousin is now making? A good start to the season, and he could start attracting some interest himself. Friday 9th August 2013 Cardiff City's losing start to the Sky Bet Championship continues, as they are beaten 1-0 by Fulham at Craven Cottage this evening. Scott Parker netted the winner in the 77th minute, while Davide Di Cianni was once more left out of the travelling City squad. Sunday 11th August 2013 There is no Danilo Di Cianni in the Haverfordwest County squad either as he is with the Wales Under-21 Squad. Looks like they missed him too, as County are held to a 0-0 draw away to amateur non-League side Porthcawl Town in their final pre-season friendly at Locks Lane. Tuesday 13th August 2013 In Skerries, an eastern Irish coastal town which lies just over half hour north of Dublin, an earlier kick off time means that Davide is the first of the cousins to make his bow at International level. He starts the match for Italy Under-19's, and they were leading at the break at Park Lane against their counter parts from the Republic of Ireland thanks to a late first half goal from Luca Barlocco, a left back co-owned by Juventus and Atalanta. With twenty minutes to play, Davide was substituted, one of six changes that Italy made during the game. He missed only one tackle and one header all afternoon, and made three interceptions as well. But the Italians couldn't hold on for the win, as Morton striker Conor Pepper struck an equaliser with seven minutes left to play. A few hours later, across the continent in Kaunas, he may have been beaten by his cousin to winning a first cap, but Danilo's was at a higher level, and in a competitive game too. UEFA 2015 European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group 4 got underway in Lithuania, as they hosted Wales. It was a full ninety minute outing for Danilo, though an average rating of 6.2 suggests it wasn't a spectacular Under-21 International debut, his pass completion just under 50% and only one of his three crosses found the target, though his one shot didn't hit the target. Tom Bradshaw of Walsall had Wales in front in the first half, but Lithuania got a second half equaliser from Leicester City's young striker Simonas Stankevicius. Saturday 17th August 2013 He may have been second to make his International bow by only a few hours, but today Danilo became the first of the cousins to make his Senior club football debut. In front of just over 200 people at the Recreation Ground in Caerphilly, he played all but the final few minutes for Haverforwest County in their 1-1 draw with Aberbargoed Buds as they kicked off their campaign in the MacWhirter Welsh League Division One, the second tier of football in the Principality. It wasn't a superb outing again by any means, but he still has plenty to learn, and there may be a lot to be said for him cutting his teeth in local domestic football, rather than the route his cousin has taken. Not so very far away in the capital, there is still no place in the matchday squad for Cardiff City's now Italian Under-19 International centre back, Davide. At least City managed to get their point total off the zero mark this time though, with a 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers, thanks to a late headed equaliser for Iceland International Captain and midfielder, Aron Gunnarsson. Saturday 24th August 2013 The games are now coming thick and fast, and Cardiff City finally get their first win on the board in the Sky Bet Championship, as they win away to Watford at Vicarage Road. This time Davide was included in the travelling party, and the matchday squad, but he was an unused substitute for the 3-2 win. Back in West Wales, there was not much of a wait for a first win of the season for Haverfordwest County, as they earned a 2-1 win at home to Aberdare Town in the MacWhirter Welsh League Division One. In a game where they were aided by the visitors picking up two red cards, Danilo only just missed out on the man of the match award as he played the full match in front of a crowd of over 300 at Bridge Meadow Stadium. A great day for Danilo, and not just for his competitive home debut either, as today he celebrates his 17th birthday! There is no huge pay rise for the birthday boy here though, so I hope Davide got him a great present. Tuesday 27th August 2013 Davide certainly had some extra spare cash too, after finally making his Senior domestic debut for Cardiff City tonight, as the Bluebirds hosted Championship rivals Rotherham United in the Second Round of the Capital One League Cup at the Cardiff City Stadium. If it hadn't been for his central defensive partner for the evening, Matt Connolly, he would have been the man of the match as well, as the pair held firm in a 1-0 win that sees City into the Third Round. He barely put a foot wrong, winning all this tackles, and losing just once in the air, plus making five interceptions. He has to now be hoping that performance will soon earn him a League debut. Thursday 29th August 2013 It was certainly enough to keep him in the Italian setup, as he is named once more in the Italy Under-19 Squad for their upcoming double header of fixtures, a return home Friendly against the Republic of Ireland on Thursday 5th September, followed by another home fixture, this time against Iran on Monday 9th September. He is once more trumped by cousin Danilo though, who is also set for International action again, as he is once more called up by Wales Under-21's for their UEFA 2015 European Under-21 Championship Qualifying double header. They start on Wednesday 4th September, as Russia come to visit them at Parc Y Scarlets in Llanelli, before they go on their travels, with a Monday 9th September date in Slovenia. Saturday 31st August 2013 The final day of August, and another good day for Haverfordwest County, as they pick up another home win, this time against Pontardawe Town. A 1-0 win came courtesy of an early second half goal from Declan Carroll, as Danilo picked up another ninety minutes of First Team experience. A rating of 7.00 shows a decent performance on the outer shell, but only one of his five cross attempts picked out a team mate. He did beat his marker three times though. The learning curve continues for Danilo, and he was still in the top three performers in the team today. No game for Davide today, as he is left out of the Cardiff City squad that travels north to face the Rotherham United side they faced, and beat, just four days ago in the Capital One Cup back in South Wales. No win today for the Bluebirds though, as they are held to a 0-0 draw and finish the month of August sat in 15th place in the Sky Bet Championship.
  7. Friday 8th August 2014 It's the eve of the domestic season, and to add to the excitement, it's also Derby Day for us as well, so a bumper crowd is expected at Bourne Park when Dartford come to visit. The bookies have us as narrow favourites to get the season underway with a win. I'm also described as the clubs 'popular manager', which is nice to hear. I tell the press that pre-season has gone well, and while I don't know where we stand in the shuffle, I'm optimistic that we can reach our targets this season. Saturday 9th August Blue Square League, South Division Bourne Park, Sittingbourne Maidstone United v Dartford Attendance :- 1,053. Weather :- Showers, 19c. The team that started our final pre-season match is also given the opportunity to start the domestic season, which means a Maidstone United debut for left back Michael Haswell, and both a Senior and United debut for former Manchester United left winger, Terry Hindmarch. Three more potential debutants are on the bench, which wasn't easy to trim down to five players, and doesn't include a goalkeeper, which will of course be a risk. We had the first chance on goal with six minutes on the clock, Jack Collins moving across to the left to swing in a free kick that Daniel Walsh got his head to, but he was unable to keep his header down. We were having a real go at our rivals, and on the quarter of an hour mark Andy Miskimmon dropped the ball down the right wing for Jack Collins, who got to the byline before going down under a challenge from Marcus Heaton, the ref waved play on, and our players surrounded the ref and his assistant when the ball was fired into touch. Moments later, Michael Haswell received the ball back out on the right from a cleared corner, and he found Daniel Walsh, who's low shot on the turn beat Niall Morgan, but came back off the inside of the far post! As the first quarter of the game came to an end, so did our dominance. When Walsh couldn't hold the ball up against two centre backs, Dartford attacked quickly, and Jojo Connolly moved the ball left from just outside the box, finding David Miller all on his own, but Josh Derry was off his line quickly to narrow the angle, and made a sharp save. He had to make another moments later, as Dartford went route one, Morgan's long punt down the park brought down by Jason Doswell, and he hit a shot that Derry had to turn aside. He had another go from further out on the half hour, his shot from the right corner of the box beating Derry, but flashing wide of the goal frame .With half time approaching, we got the ball back down the other end of the park. Haswell put plenty of pace on the corner delivery, and Collins hit it with a volley that missed the top corner by inches. The final chance of the half would once again fall to Doswell, and again it came from a ball over the top, this time the striker missed the target, finding only the side netting. There was still enough time for each side to pick up a late first half booking, Miskimmon for us, Keith Ramsay for Dartford. Dartford came out swinging for the second half, and James Peel hit a rising shot just thirty seconds after the restart that only just cleared the cross bar. Our own start to the second half was more than just a little disjointed, with passes being misplaced and so on, so it was a bit of a relief to see Peel have to leave the park before the hour mark with an injury, as I hoped that would cause them some issues of their own. That wasn't the case though, and Doswell brought the ball down before playing in sub Mark Graham. He got past Aaron Steele, and was about to shoot, before Miskimmon tangled legs with him, and the ref pointed to the spot! There was a moment of uncertainty, as we waited to see if the ref from Hartlepool was also dish out a second yellow card to our Northern Irish Captain, but that didn't happen. Left back Heaton stepped up, and fired his left footed spot kick into the top corner, out of Derry's reach, and we had around a half hour to get ourselves back into this game. It looked like we would be more likely to lose our heads, as James Curtis and Haswell both got booked in double quick time as we attempted to raise our intensity. With ten minutes of no real reaction gone, I turned to the bench. Jamie McMaster had been pretty ineffective in midfield today, so Malcolm Carr stepped into the midfield pairing with Marc Canham, and the Aussie was replaced to bring on another striker, Danny Carey-Bertram coming on for a debut, with Haswell replaced by Mark Williams at the same time with three quarters of the back four on a booking. With just a handful of minutes remaining, I pushed players forward and ordered the players to go route one. Dartford reacted by going to five at the back, but moments after their changes, Connolly took a knock, with James Lawson already struggling a little. Our rivals were on the back foot when Walsh took a free kick short and quickly, finding Terry Hindmarch on the left. He got by Omar Bekele and into the box near the byline when the Dartford sub tried to get back goal side, and instead felled our winger. Hindmarch didn't need too much convincing to go down, and the ref pointed to the spot again, and it was Dartford's turn to be furious with a decision. The protests continued, and the wait was a lengthy one, almost two minutes actually, before Mark Williams could make his run up for his own left footed spot kick. He placed it into almost exactly the same spot as Heaton had half hour early, and we had a dramatic late equaliser to save an opening day point in front of a bumper crowd! Maidstone United (0) 1 - Mark Williams (90 pen) Dartford (0) 1 - Marcus Heaton (62 pen) Josh Derry; Andy Miskimmon ©, Aaron Steele, James Curtis, Michael Haswell (Mark Williams 72); Malcolm Carr; Jamie McMaster (Danny Carey-Bertram 72), Marc Canham; Jack Collins, Terry Hindmarch; Daniel Walsh. Unused Substitutes :- Shaun Culverhouse, Alan Dallas, Adam Campbell. Bookings :- Andy Miskimmon (45+2), James Curtis 64, Michael Haswell 65 Possession :- 50% - 50%. Man of the Match :- Terry Hindmarch (Maidstone United). I don't think anyone can walk away from Bourne Park saying they weren't entertained today, and our fans in particular left the ground in buoyant mood after seeing their rivals from Dartford denied the win with a very late spot kick equaliser. I was pretty relieved that Mark Williams was on the park to take it as well, the 19 year old Irish left back continuing his fine form from the penalty spot that he had shown last season. The decision to award Terry Hindmarch the man of the match award was even less clear cut than the slightly dubious penalty award itself. The winger didn't have a huge amount of the ball today, nowhere near as much as team mate Jack Collins had on the right. But he does get credited with an assist on his Senior debut, as well as the man of the match, which could have gone to Collins, or Aaron Steele, or Jason Doswell of the visitors. Just as good to hear today as the result of the game, was the result at the turnstiles. The attendance today was almost double our average for last season, and now we need to try and get a large percentage of them to come back next weekend when we host an AFC Hornchurch side that finished last season one spot below us, and are thought by many to be relegation candidates this season. Sunday 10th August Fair play to the Board, they are grabbing the bull by the horns and trying to make staunch followers of those who turned up on the opening day for the Derby Day match. They have today announced that next Saturday's match at home to AFC Hornchurch is going to be a fan day, with any paying adult able to bring a child along for half of the usual price. If the weather is good to us, we could end up with a second consecutive big crowd, with yesterdays attendance over 200 more than our best crowd from last season. It could also be that they are reacting to today's disappointing news from the ticket office, which confirms that our number of season ticket holders has dropped from 75 last season, down to just 63 this campaign. Monday 11th August There looks like some movement is imminent when it comes to reducing our wage bill, with a huge number of offers to take Martyn Giles and Grant Hanley on Free Transfers. If they move on, we'll take £525 per week off the salary numbers, and the guys both have chances to move up into the Blue Square Premier, further down into non-League levels, or across borders into different nations in the UK & Ireland. It's not all good news today though, as we have our first major injury of the new season. Jamie McMaster has suffered a hip injury in training today, and it's not good news for the Australian midfielder. If the physio deals with it himself, he will be out till Christmas. So he will instead to be sent to a specialist, which means he could be back in training by mid-October/November if all goes well. Friday 15th August Grant Hanley has moved on this morning, completing his Free Transfer to Chelmsford City, who were relegated from the Blue Square South last season. The 22 year old is no longer in our First Team plans, and has actually earned a pay rise by moving, as his £325 weekly wage is now £400 at City. AFC Hornchurch will visit us tomorrow, they also earned an opening day draw. The bookies think home advantage will be enough to see us through, and they have made us Even money favourites for a win tomorrow. The news from the ticket sales is encouraging too, and we look set for another good attendance at Bourne Park. Saturday 16th August Blue Square League, South Division Bourne Park, Sittingbourne Maidstone United v AFC Hornchurch Attendance :- 909. Weather :- Wet, 22c. There's a little bit of squad rotation after last weekends match, starting at left back, where Michael Haswell is left out of the matchday squad, and there is a start for the man who earned us a point with his late penalty, Mark Williams. In the defensive midfield role, Malcolm Carr is rotated out to the bench, with Alan Dallas coming into the side, while the injury to Jamie McMaster means a change in the middle of the park, with Gordon Chin coming into the lineup for a Maidstone United debut. There is one further change up front, Daniel Walsh left out today, Danny Carey-Bertram starting. Gary Murray and Jack Deeney are both brought into the matchday squad, and start on the bench, both hoping for a debut today. A quiet opening to the match wouldn't be what anyone in another bumper crowd came to see, but in the 12th minute Graham Murray found himself in plenty of space down the Hornchurch right, and he looked to have the pace on Mark Williams. But our left back got himself back on terms and blocked his attempted cross. Williams would be involved again soon, sending a long ball up the park and over the visitors defence, and Danny Carey-Bertram sprinted after it, denied only by keeper Jake Kean being out off his line quickly, and beating our striker to the ball just outside the box. We were being pressured though, and Owen Upton held the ball up on halfway, before sending it out to the left and into space for Nathan Hall. He sent the ball back into the middle for Upton, who aimed his low shot towards the area inside the near post, Josh Derry producing a superb stop to keep it out. Our own build up work was being ruined by a poor final pass, Jack Collins having acres of space on the right, but his pass to Carey-Bertam was easily intercepted. When we did get it right and Andy Miskimmon picked out Marc Canham on the half hour, the midfielder blasted the ball well over the bar. But five minutes later Canham sent the ball wide to Collins on the right, and our winger avoided the tackle of Odhrán Lenaghan, and send in a low cross from the byline. There was a queue of United players at the far post waiting to apply the finishing touch, that honour falling to Gordon Chin, who sidefooted home from close range to net our opener, and a debut goal. We were almost caught out five minutes later though, Miskimmon was behind the goal receiving some treatment, and Hornchurch attempted to take advantage, Brian Smikle sending the ball down that wing, and Hall played a one-two with Chris Kirkwood that got him into the penalty box, before he shot across goal, beating Derry, but also the far upright. Our respite was brief though, and two minutes before the break Smikle twisted for space on the right, before whipping in a low left footed curling cross that arrived at Aaron Steele at waist height. The ball hit the centre back, and left Derry flat footed, while Upton gleefully thumped the loose ball into the net from three yards out! 1-1 at the break, and we would be without our Captain for the second half, Miskimmonn unable to continue, Gary Murray coming on for his debut to replace him at right back. And that would be only the start of our injury issues, Terry Hindmarch also taking a knock that led to his substitution, Adam Campbell also coming on for a debut only 12 minutes into the second half. Seconds later, Lenaghan curled a free kick only just over the cross bar. Nothing of note happened in the next ten minutes, when we suffered a third injury, Alan Dallas this time. He couldn't continue either, Malcolm Carr coming on in his place. With just under twenty minutes to go, Campbell got into the box from the left, and went down over Lenaghan's leg as Harry Deane cleared the ball, the ref ignoring the appeals from both players and spectators alike, and waving play on. Campbell was seeing plenty of the ball, a cross from the left just too deep for his team mates, and a shot at goal from a Gary Murray cut back was blocked. In the 74th minute we finally found a way through for a second time, and again, Collins was the key. Murray found him on the right corner of the box, and our winger moved the ball away from Callum Douglas, and ran across the edge of the box, before striking a shot with his weaker left foot that curled around a group of players and inside the near post to reinstate our lead! That was the highly paid wingers first goal for us, and now we had to make sure it was going to be enough for three points today. Steele picked up a booking while preventing Hornchurch getting into our penalty box, sub Tim Flood's attempt from the free kick was just off target. Then Chin won the ball in midfield and sent it high and wide to Collins, who won his challenge in the air and nodded it down for Canham, the midfielder going for power rather than placement, and his viciously struck shot was just over the top corner he'd tried to hit. That would be the first in a series of counter attack chances we manufactured with Canham playing in Carey-Bertram all alone near the penalty spot, but he scuffed his shot wide of the far post. In a repeat move with five minutes to play, right after Collins had been booked, the striker did exactly the same, missing another chance to score his first Maidstone goal. How costly would those misses be? Almost very, Chin having to hack the ball clear when Eddie McCloskey's low cross almost found its target. And then, with seconds remaining in injury time, Kirkwood cut inside from the left and sent in a curling shot that beat Derry all ends up, but it came back off the post before Steele cleared the ball. And breathe! Our first win of the season is on the board! Maidstone United (1) 2 - Gordon Chin (35), Jack Collins (74) AFC Hornchurch (1) 1 - Owen Upton (43) Josh Derry; Andy Miskimmon © (inj - Gary Murray 45), Aaron Steele, James Curtis, Mark Williams; Alan Dallas (inj - Malcolm Carr 66); Gordon Chin, Marc Canham; Jack Collins, Terry Hindmarch (inj - Adam Campbell 57); Danny Carey-Bertram. Unused Substitutes :- Shaun Culverhouse, Jack Deeney. Bookings :- Aaron Steele 79, Jack Collins 84 Possession :- 51% - 49%. Man of the Match :- Jack Collins (Maidstone United). We rode our luck at points in that one, particularly late on in the game, but we held on, and have our first three point haul of the new campaign. We also had another very healthy attendance, with over 900 at the game, meaning another decent pay day for the club, as £8,000 or so taken by the club over the course of the day brings the debt down to around £65,000. Hopefully, some of them will be back for our next home match in a few weeks time. In injury news, we had escaped relatively unscathed considering three players needed to be replaced due to injury. Neither Andy Miskimmon or Terry Hindmarch will miss any time as a result of their knocks, but Alan Dallas has suffered bruised ribs, and could miss up to a week, potentially ruling him out of the two away games we have next week. Finally, a quick word on Jack Collins, who scored his maiden goal for the club today, after setting up the opener in the first half. The former Preston North End and Ebbsfleet United youngster now has a goal and nine assists in nine League games since joining us. A superb record, and it is becoming more and more apparent that the 20 year old is too good to be playing at this level.
  8. Monday 1st July 2013 By July, Davide was already seeing a rapid increase in both his skills, and his value. Cosenza reacted, and they offered the 16 year old centre back a new deal. With a three year deal already in place, and still a month or more before his 17th birthday, Davide elected to reject talks at this point. His starting point is of course at a higher level than his cousin Danilo's. That might yet prove an advantage for the Welsh based cousin though when it comes to getting off the mark, as while Davide remains in Cosenza's Under-19 set up, he has already been fast tracked right through the Youth and Reserve sides, and into the First Team at Bridge Meadow Stadium. He could play in their opening Pre-Season Friendly, where they host Swindon Town Under-21's. Monday 15th July 2013 That game is scheduled for just under a weeks time, and by then, we could have our first transfer involving one of the Di Cianni cousins! After Davide rejected Cosenza's offer to discuss a new deal, the Southern Italian club from the fourth tier appear to have decided it might be best to cash in on their young talent now, despite being in no urgent need for the money. There won't be any shortage of suitors either, and they are almost all from the UK. The first offer is in by the end of the day, and it would bring the cousins much closer together, as it's from Cardiff City. Their offer is worth a total of £43,000, but only yesterday Aston Villa registered their interest in the centre back, and now the list of admirers has grown, rumoured to include Manchester United, Everton, Crystal Palace, Brighton & Hove Albion, Derby County and Wigan Athletic. Should he wish to remain in Italy, there could be an opportunity to move up a few levels with Serie B side Lanciano, though some would say their playing level is the only thing they have that is superior to Cosenza. Wednesday 17th July 2013 The season hasn't begun yet, and the save is barely weeks old, but, we have our first..... ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ **TRANSFER ALERT** Davide Di Cianni From Cosenza (Italy - Serie C2/B) to Cardiff City (Wales - English Sky Bet Championship) Fee :- £40,000 Contract :- 3 years, £80 per week, Youth contract Cosenza :- Played 0, Goals 0, Assists 0, Man of the Match 0, Average Rating 0 Career :- Played 0, Goals 0, Assists 0, Man of the Match 0, Average Rating 0 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Cardiff City got the jump on all those other clubs, and before any of them could react, they had clinched the deal. Davide is assigned to their Under-21 side, and the cousins are reunited in South Wales. The 16 year old centre back now has to get a grasp of the language he is used to hearing, but has so far not learned. He will have plenty of family around to help him with that. Sunday 21st July 2013 With his cousin now just a drive down the M4 away, not that either is old enough to start driving for a few more weeks at least, Danilo is the first of the pair to play in a First Team match. It doesn't count officially as his debut, as the match is a pre-season friendly game at home to Swindon Town Under-21's. But he was one of a half dozen Haverfordwest players to play the full game in a 0-0 draw that saw him post a rating of 7.00 and keep his pass percentage just over 50%. His crossing was less successful, with only one in four finding the mark, but he did beat his marker twice as well. Not a bad start for the teenager. Tuesday 23rd July 2013 Just two days later, and Davide was included in the Cardiff City squad that travelled north to face Crewe Alexandra in a pre-season friendly. He was left on the bench as an unused substitute in front of over 2,000 for this match, but he shouldn't be too disheartened, as Cardiff took a strong squad with a starting lineup that included five Full Internationals, and another two Youth Internationals. They lost 1-0 though. Monday 29th July 2013 Cardiff City would host a two day pre-season tournament at their Cardiff City Stadium, starting today, and also including PAS Giannina of the Greek Superleague, a second tier side from Spain in the form of SD Ponferradina, and Italian Serie A club Hellas Verona. They played Spanish club SD Ponferradina today in the Semi-Final, losing by a single goal in front of just over 7,500 this evening, with Davide Di Cianni once more an unused substitute. That means they'll now play PAS Giannina in the earlier game tomorrow, after they were beaten on penalties by Hellas Verona. Tuesday 30th July 2013 In today's Third Place Playoff for the pre-season tournament, in front of another crowd in excess of 7,000, sixteen year old Davide Di Cianni makes his first appearance in a Bluebirds shirt. It didn't start well, with the Greek visitors going ahead after just 40 seconds. It was all good after that though, as City ran out 3-1 winners, with the Italian centre back having a great game in the heart of the defence. He finished with a rating of 7.30, and a perfect 100% tackle success, also winning six of his seven headed challenges as well. It's a promising start for the elder cousin.
  9. 2014/15 Maidstone United Pen Pictures Goalkeepers :- Peter Hylton (GK). 22 years old. English (Uncapped). 5'11. 12st 8lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £30 per week. Value :- £3,000. Joined Club :- 2013 from Sutton United (Free Transfer). Career:- League Matches :- 17. Goals Conceded :- 30. Clean Sheets :- 3. Did okay in the limited amount of time he was given during pre-season, but is quite some way off the level needed for the First Team. Josh Derry (GK). 20 years old. English (Uncapped). 6'1. 13st 5lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £50 per week. Value :- £1,000. Joined Club :- 2014 from Woking (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 12. Goals Conceded :- 10. Clean Sheets :- 5. Our first choice stopper, and a young man who continues to grow as a keeper week on week. Made a solid contribution to us avoiding relegation last season. -------------------------------------------------- Defenders :- Gary Murray (D RC, WB R, DM, M RC). 19 years old. English (Uncapped). 6'0, 13st 5lbs. Contract :- 2 years, £100 per week. Value :- £1,000. Joined Club :- 2014 (New Signing) from Bradford City (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 1. Goals :- 0. Assists :- 0. A new arrival, and labelled with the dreaded 'utility player' tag. Murray would like to nail down a position, but he isn't likely to prove to be good enough at one. Fernando Maia (D L). 18 years old. Portuguese (Uncapped). 5'9. 11st 11lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £150 per week. Value :- £1,000. Joined Club :- 2014 (New Signing) from Middlesbrough (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 0. Goals :- 0. Assists :- 0. A young Portuguese full back who didn't make the grade at Boro, and has some major competition in front of him to make the grade here. Mark Williams (D L). 19 years old. Irish (Uncapped). 5'10. 12st 6lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £180 per week. Value :- £2,000. Joined Club :- 2013 from Galway United (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 18. Goals :- 3. Assists :- 3. The young Irish full back was a huge hit here last season, and his composure from the penalty spot helped us towards some big points. Has increased competition for his position this season. Aaron Steele (D C). 31 years old. Canadian/British (Uncapped). 5'11. 13st 0lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £250 per week. Value :- £0. Joined Club :- 2014 from Guiseley (£2,000). Career :- League Matches :- 170. Goals :- 11. Assists :- 31. A relative lack of height didn't prevent the Canadian centre back from striking up an impressive centre back partnership with Curtis, and moving his career up to a new level. James Curtis (D C). 32 years old. English (Uncapped). 6'7. 13st 0lbs. Contract :- 2 years, £30 per week. Value :- £1,000. Joined Club :- 2014 from Farnborough (£1,000). Career :- League Matches :- 351. Goals :- 14. Assists :- 11. The giant centre back from Sunderland quickly became the glue that held our back four together in last seasons relegation battle, and is now the Vice-Captain at the club. Richard Anderson (D C). 19 years old. English (Uncapped). 6'3. 14st 2lbs. Contract :- 3 years, £100 per week. Value :- £2,000. Joined Club :- 2014 (New Signing) from Brighton & Hove Albion (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 2. Goals :- 0. Assists :- 0. Wasn't given enough chance to prove himself with hometown side Brighton & Hove Albion, likely to be a back up here, but will see more football. Shaun Culverhouse (D C). 19 years old. English (Uncapped). 6'0. 13st 5lbs. Contract :- 3 years, £100 per week. Value :- £1,000. Joined Club :- 2014 (New Signing) from Plymouth Argyle (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 0. Goals :- 0. Assists :- 0. Just watched the club who have nurtured him for two years earn a place in the Premier League, and then they cut him loose. Expect him to make his Senior Debut in our colours. Alex Sawyer (D/WB R). 19 years old. English (Uncapped). 5'10. 11st 9lbs. Contract :- 2 years, £100 per week. Value :- £2,000. Joined Club :- 2014 (New Signing) from Middlesbrough (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 0. Goals :- 0. Assists :- 0. Better going forward than he is defending, and also has some good full backs in front of him. Very much a back up player here. Andy Miskimmon (D/WB R). 28 years old. Northern Irish (Uncapped). 5'9. 11st 13lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £45 per week. Value :- £0. Joined Club :- 2014 from Downshire Young Men (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 174. Goals :- 13. Assists :- 16. The Club Captain, who is solid if not spectacular, but is loved by his team mates almost as much as he is by the fans. Seems to be flourishing at the highest level he has played in during his career. Ian Rossiter (D/WB R). 33 years old. Irish (Uncapped). 5'10. 11st 0lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £50 per week. Value :- £2,000. Joined Club :- 2013 from Arklow Town (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 348. Goals :- 38. Assists :- 9. Was superb for the club last season, but the arrival of Miskimmon may mean the veteran see a pretty major reduction in his First Team opportunities. Michael Haswell (D/M L). 30 years old. English (Uncapped). 5'11. 11st 0lbs. Contract :- 2 years, £90 per week. Value :- £4,000. Joined Club :- 2014 (New Signing) from AFC Wimbledon (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 276. Goals :- 10. Assists :- 55. One of my major transfer targets this summer, and I expected a bigger fight to get his signature. Improves our back four, and our attacking quality from full back. -------------------------------------------------- Midfielders/Wingers :- Malcolm Carr (D C, DM, M C). 19 years old. English (Uncapped). 6'2. 13st 9lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £220 per week. Value :- £2,000. Joined Club :- 2014 from Luton Town (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 5. Goals :- 0. Assists :- 0. Plucked from Luton Town last season, and settled seamlessly into our First Team. This won't be a professional thing to say, but he might be one of my favourite signings. Adam Campbell (D/WB/AM L). 26 years old. Northern Irish (Uncapped). 5'8. 11st 9lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £150 per week. Value :- £0. Joined Club :- 2014 (New Signing) from Fleetwood Town (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 141. Goals :- 12. Assists :- 22. The second time I've signed the left sided Northern Irishman, hopefully this time I get to watch him develop. The stats from his time with Fleetwood suggest he might prove to be a bit of a bargain. Chris Wilkinson (D/WB/AM L). 29 years old. Northern Irish (Uncapped). 6'0. 13st 0lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £50 per week. Value :- £0. Joined Club :- 2014 from Carrick Rangers (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 124. Goals :- 7. Assists :- 30. Took a fairly big step up to come to this club last season from Northern Ireland when I needed players to come in and make a mark. I can't guarantee he'll be rewarded fairly for his efforts this season. Alan Dallas (DM, M C). 18 years old. Northern Irish (Uncapped). 5'10. 11st 13lbs. Contract :- 2 years, £140 per week. Value :- £1,000. Joined Club :- 2014 from Killymoon Rangers (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 4. Goals :- 1. Assists :- 0. There was nothing to suggest this young lad could play at this level when I took a shot with him. He has already started to pay back the trust, and will feature this season I'm sure. Gordon Chin (M RC). 31 years old. Canadian(declared)/British/Chinese (16 Youth Caps/0 Goals). 5'4. 10st 5lbs. Contract :- 2 years, £375 per week. Value :- £1,000. Joined Club :- 2014 (New Signing) from Montreal Impact (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 209. Goals :- 11. Assists :- 16. The only player in our squad with International experience, and a signing that many suspect will push us forward. His experience playing in other nations will also be invaluable to the club. Terry Hindmarch (M L). 19 years old. English (Uncapped). 6'0. 13st 0lbs. Contract :- 3 years, £200 per week. Value :- £4,000. Joined Club :- 2014 (New Signing) from Manchester United (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 0. Goals :- 0. Assists :- 0. Want to pick an early candidate for our 2014/15 Player of the Season? I think this former Manchester United youngster is the favourite. Superb in pre-season, and about to make his Senior Debut. Might be tough to hold onto long term. Gavin Molloy (M C). 21 years old. Australian(declared)/British (Uncapped). 5'11. 12st 6lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £50 per week. Value :- £1,000. Joined Club :- 2014 from Sutton United (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 33. Goals :- 1. Assists :- 2. It would have been really easy to cut Gavin loose this summer, especially as we now have a pretty deep midfield. But he went to battle for us last season, and deserves his new deal, and a chance to show he can make the grade. Marc Canham (M C). 31 years old. English/German (Uncapped). 5'11. 11st 11lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £275 per week. Value :- £1,000. Joined Club :- 2014 from Oxford City (£4,000). Career :- League Matches :- 271. Goals :- 50. Assists :- 52. When Marc could do no more to help at Oxford City, we convinced him to take a second chance at avoiding relegation with us. One half of our first choice midfield duo, and hugely experienced at this level. Jamie McMaster (M/AM RC). 31 years old. Australian/British (Uncapped). 5'10. 12st 3lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £250 per week. Value :- £1,000. Joined Club :- 2014 from APIA Leichhardt Tigers (£1,000). Career :- League Matches :- 263. Goals :- 56. Assists :- 40. Ambitious, bordering on arrogant. McMaster returned from Australia for a second crack at football in Europe, and was instrumental in us staying up last campaign. Can he be instrumental in something even bigger this season? Mark Smith (M/AM RL). 19 years old. English (Uncapped). 5'9. 11st 11lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £120 per week. Value :- £3,000. Joined Club :- 2014 (New Signing) from Birmingham City (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 0. Goals :- 0. Assists :- 0. Never got a chance at Birmingham City, and will likely be a back up player here. But he was superb in pre-season, and there wouldn't be too many worries about handing him a shot should the need arise. Lewis McMahon (M/AM RC, ST). 29 years old. English (Uncapped). 5'8. 10st 9lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £150 per week. Value :- £3,000. Joined Club :- 2014 from Dartford (£1,000). Career :- League Matches :- 247. Goals :- 30. Assists :- 30. Signed from rivals Dartford when our need for new blood and some depth was at its greatest. Now he is in danger of getting lost in the summer squad shuffle, and it's possible he won't see out the season here, with reported interest from Ireland. Jack Collins (AM RC, ST). 20 years old. English (Uncapped). 5'9. 11st 6lbs. Contract :- 2 years, £750 per week. Value :- £5,000. Joined Club :- 2014 from Ebbsfleet United (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 32. Goals :- 6. Assists :- 10. Notched eight assists in just seven League games after his arrival last season to become a key player in our survival. The numbers don't lie, but he is easily our highest earner, receiving well over double anyone else at the club gets. He will have to continue to justify that salary this season. Matthew Hatch (AM R, ST). 21 years old. Irish (Uncapped). 6'3. 14st 6lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £50 per week. Value :- £0. Joined Club :- 2014 from Guilsfield (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 69. Goals :- 11. Assists :- 1. Actually looked a very decent signing last season, until Collins arrived and took the standard to a whole new level. Capable understudy, but might not get as much football as he'd like here. ----------------------------------------------- Strikers :- Daniel Walsh (ST). 20 years old. English (Uncapped). 6'1. 13st 3lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £100 per week. Value :- £1,000. Joined Club :- 2014 from Witton Albion (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 66. Goals :- 16. Assists :- 1. When I desperately needed a striker last season, Dan was the man we turned to, and he score five times in seven games to dig us out of a hole. Will need to continue in that vein this season with increased options for his spot now at the club. Danny Carey-Bertram (ST). 30 years old. English (Uncapped). 5'10. 13st 0lbs. Contract :- 2 years, £100 per week. Value :- £3,000. Joined Club :- 2014 (New Signing) from Ayr United (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 280. Goals :- 102. Assists :- 7. The other player in the squad who I'm signing for a second time. He has an excellent goalscoring record at this level, and is itching to get back amongst the best marksmen after his unhappy spell in Scotland. Jack Deeney (ST). 19 years old. English (Uncapped). 6'4. 14st 2lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £120 per week. Value :- £4,000. Joined Club :- 2014 (New Signing) from Fulham (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 0. Goals :- 0. Assists :- 0. Signed as an option, and then shocked everyone with his pre-season form. The other strikers know that if he gets in the team and replicates that form, he is going to be very difficult to leave out of the side. --------------------------------------------------- In The Reserves............. Martyn Giles (D LC). 31 years old. Welsh (Uncapped). 5'9. 11st 0lbs. Contract :- 2 years, £200 per week. Value :- £1,000. Joined Club :- 2014 from Bedford Town (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 309. Goals :- 15. Assists :- 16. Did a great job when he came in late last season, but now with the squad filled out, his wages don't reflect his contribution to the squad. I'd like to move him on to a new club soon. Grant Hanley (D C). 22 years old. Scottish (Uncapped). 6'2. 11st 9lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £325 per week. Value :- £2,000. Joined Club :- 2013 from Killymoon Rangers (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 65. Goals :- 1. Assists :- 3. The Scottish centre back's first season at Maidstone United wasn't exactly a roaring success. An average rating in the low 6's from fifteen appearances makes him another candidate to leave the club soon to clear his salary from the wage bill. Sean Neill (D C). 20 years old. Northern Irish (Uncapped). 6'4. 14st 2lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £275 per week. Value :- £1,000. Joined Club :- 2013 from Comber Rec (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 45. Goals :- 0. Assists :- 2. Probably the best young player at the club that I didn't bring in myself, but his exposure to First Team football here hasn't gone too well so far. He's clearly being overpaid as well. Chris Pike (M RLC). 17 years old. English (Uncapped). 6'0. 12st 8lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £5 per week. Value :- £0. Joined Club :- 2012 from Youth Intake. Career :- League Matches :- 13. Goals :- 0. Assists :- 1. Played thirteen times last season in his first campaign on a part time deal. He wasn't entirely out of his depth, and I like his versatility. He's a local lad as well, so I'm keen to help bring him on as a player. Stefan Anderson (AM R, ST). 17 years old. Scottish (Uncapped). 6'4. 14st 2lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £60 per week. Value :- £1,000. Joined Club :- 2014 (New Signing) from Gretna FC 2008 (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 33. Goals :- 11. Assists :- 0. Had a superb first season in Senior football in Scotland's non League with Gretna. We brought him south as an option to play as the big target man up front. Iain McMillan (ST). 21 years old. Scottish (Uncapped). 6'4. 14st 4lbs. Contract :- 1 year, £350 per week. Value :- £3,000. Joined Club :- 2013 from Partick Thistle (Free Transfer). Career :- League Matches :- 32. Goals :- 9. Assists :- 0. At just 21 years of age, and only ten months with the club, McMillan is regarded as a bit of a hero by the fans. His nine goals last season were invaluable, but his wages are too high. Moving him on would risk upsetting the few fans that we have however. ---------------------------------------------------- The Staff........ Richard Walsh (Club Chairman) - English - Happy To Stay. Neil Hoskins (Manager) - Welsh - 3 years, £275 per week. Jim Bentley (Assistant Manager) - English - 2 years, £100 per week. Roy McBain (Coach) - Scottish - 3 years, £75 per week. Robbie Savage (Physiotherapist) - Welsh - 2 years, £90 per week. Andy Crook (Scout) - English - 2 years, £75 per week. ----------------------------------------------------- The Club......... Maidstone United FC. Founded :- 1992. Nickname :- The Stones. Status :- Semi-Professional. Reputation :- Obscure. Value :- £40,000. Chairman Status :- Happy To Stay. Finances :- Okay (£-78,000). Club Colours :- Home - Yellow with White Trim. Away - White with Black Trim. Club Legends :- None Club Icons :- None. Favoured Personnel :- Iain McMillan. Fierce Rivals :- None. Other Rivals :- Dartford, Tonbridge Angels, Gillingham. Honours :- *Blue Square Premier Winners - 1984, 1989 *Blue Square Premier Runners-Up - 1983 *Isthmian League First Division South Winners - 2007 Last Season :- 17th in Blue Square League, South Division. Bourne Park, Sittingbourne, England. Capacity :- 3,000 (200 seats). Condition :- Average. Surface :- Grass. Surface Condition :- Average. Adequate Corporate Facilities, Basic Training Facilities, Minimal Youth Facilities.
  10. Friday 1st August 2014 It's not just player contracts that are providing us with something to think about. Robbie Blake's contract is well out of kilter with everyone else's, and expires at the end of October. He wants an increase on his £180 a week deal to even consider staying, and the Board won't let us spend that amount anyway. The Board remain satisfied with how things are going at the club, and still hold James Curtis as an extremely good signing, and someone the fans are delighted to have at Bourne Park. They make mention of the £37,000 we lost last month, and it is likely just a matter of time before we start hearing more about that. The domestic football season starts for us in just eight days time, and today we play our final pre-season match, away to Kingstonian, another side plying their trade in the lower non-League divisions. We'll be expected to win again, but we will at least be able to get some information that may be useful for later in the season, when we visit The Fans' Stadium - Kingsmeadow, as we will be here again in November to face AFC Wimbledon. Before travelling, I learn that our negotiations with Ayr United over the potential transfer of Netherlands Antilles International winger Richal Leitoe, have broken down, and any potential deal is off. They are refusing to accept any deal that does not include a transfer fee for the 31 year old former FC Utrecht man. Pre-Season Friendly The Fans' Stadium - Kingsmeadow, Kingston upon Thames AFC Wimbledon v Maidstone United Attendance :- 118. Weather :- Dry, 26c. I'm not going to say that this is my strongest team, as there are plenty of players who are capable of putting their hand up and competing for spots, and they will over the course of the coming season. But for now, this is the team of players that are in pole position to start the season next weekend. A lacklustre opening to the game should have been broken when Marc Canham lifted the ball from the right wing to the edge of the penalty box, Michael Haswell arrived to hit a half volley, but it sailed well over the bar. Moments later, Jack Collins sent a close range effort towards the top corner, Sam Doran managing to tip the ball over the ball. From the resulting corner, the ball eventually arrived to Terry Hindmarch at the far post, but when he tried to take it down on his chest, the chance disappeared. After that brief flurry of action, the game settled back into a dull spell, this time not lifted again until the 33rd minute, when we emerged a goal down. Adam Ince sent in an inswinging corner, and centre back Simon Pearson jumped highest at the near post, glancing it in off the underside of the bar. Our response was swift, and clinical. Malcolm Carr made an interception on halfway, and got the ball out to Collins. The winger beat two men on his way to the byline, and then stood up a cross into the middle, where Jamie McMaster lost his marker, and volleyed in an equaliser from close range. The game had turned right around, and Haswell dropped the ball over their back four, Daniel Walsh getting to the ball first and firing a shot Doran shrugged away, Canham's volley of the loose ball smashing back off the cross bar. He'd get another shot within seconds, Collins also involved again, twisting past his marker and sending in a cross to the near post, Canham shooting on the turn and Doran getting a hand to it, but unable to prevent it going inside the post and finding the bottom corner to ensure we went into half time with a lead. Four changes are made at the break, James Curtis, Carr, Hindmarch and Walsh are all replaced, with Richard Anderson, Alan Dallas, Adam Campbell and Danny Carey-Bertram. The first of those replacements to get seriously involved was Northern Irish winger Campbell. After missing most of this pre-season with injury, he's still playing catch up, and so was the defender who chased him hopelessly down the left wing, Campbell way too quick for him, and then guiding a cross to the far post, where Collins arrived in front of his marker and side footed us further in front from close range. Now it was surely just a matter of how many, and shortly after the hour mark, we clicked the scoreboard up to four, Haswell whipping in a corner, and Carey-Bertram arrived with perfect timing between a defender and the keeper, and placed a firm header beyond everyone and into the back of the net. The striker had a chance to add another with a quarter of an hour left to play after Dallas set Collins free down the right with a raking cross field pass. The winger picked out Carey-Bertram with his cross, but the striker missed the target with his downward header. That was the last action before I sent for more reinforcements from the bench, making half a dozen more changes, which covered every unchanged outfield player. And we still had a goal left in us from the substitutes, Gordon Chin stepping away from a tackle and finding Matthew Hatch on the right, who set off on a mazy run that took him into the box past several Kingstonian players, but with no route to goal for a shot of his own. So instead, he cut it back across goal and into the path of Campbell, who struck a rising shot into the roof of the net, to round off a much improved second half performance! Kingstonian (1) 1 - Simon Pearson (34) Maidstone United (2) 5 - Jamie McMaster (35), Marc Canham (42), Jack Collins (54), Danny Carey-Bertram (62), Adam Campbell (85) Josh Derry; Andy Miskimmon © (Ian Rossiter 76), Aaron Steele (Shaun Culverhouse 76), James Curtis (Richard Anderson 45), Michael Haswell (Mark Williams 76); Malcolm Carr (Alan Dallas 45); Jamie McMaster (Gavin Molloy 76), Marc Canham (Gordon Chin 76); Jack Collins (Matthew Hatch 76), Terry Hindmarch (Adam Campbell 45); Daniel Walsh (Danny Carey-Bertram 45). Unused Substitutes :- Peter Hylton (GK), Jack Deeney. Bookings :- None Possession :- 35% - 65%. Man of the Match :- Jack Collins (Maidstone United). Just like that, pre-season is over, and the next time we step foot on a football park in a fixture will be a week tomorrow when we host our rivals Dartford in our opening fixture of the Blue Square South. We beat them last time out, one of my early games in charge of the club. Saturday 2nd August With an expectation that new staff will arrive into the Backroom within a few days, Robbie Blake has left the club today, almost three months before his contract was due to expire. The 38 year old former Bradford City, Burnley & Leeds United striker had been the Assistant Manager at the club for just over nine months, but refused to consider a new deal, and has been paid £1,000 to leave the club early. I'm confident that his replacement will actually prove to be an upgrade. Sunday 3rd August One of the gaps that needed to be filled in the Backroom, was for a Coach. 39 year old Aberdeen born Roy McBain had a very stellar career in the game, racking up nearly 450 League appearances in Scotland for Dundee, Ross County and Inverness Caledonian Thistle. His playing career ended in 2007, and since then he has been participating in a steady stream of Coaching badges, which have all been geared towards the next phase of his career. That begins today, as he takes the job of Coach at Bourne Park on a three year deal. Monday 4th August 28 year old Ulsterman and right back Andy Miskimmon has today been named as the Maidstone United Club Captain for the 2014/15 season. His deputy will be Sunderland born 32 year old centre back, James Curtis. Later in the day, the pair get to meet the clubs new Assistant Manager, 39 year old Liverpool born Jim Bentley. He was a former Manchester City apprentice, and after never playing at Maine Road, he did something that quite a few of our squad have done, and dropped right down the levels to try and kickstart his career. He spent the next ten seasons at the top level of non-League football, split between Telford United and Morecambe, before the latter finally got him to the Football League in 2007/08. He had two seasons of League football with them, followed by playing a small role in another season for Cheltenham Town, and another with them where he didn't play at all, before retiring in 2010. Like his new colleague McBain, this will be Bentley's first backroom job.
  11. The Backstory In the late 1960's a young pair of brothers from the Southern Italian city of Cosenza named Arturo and Luigi Di Cianni, were moved by their family to the West Wales town of Haverfordwest in the county of Pembrokeshire. The brothers saw their parents open a fish and chip shop in the town, which with its attached Italian ice cream parlour, became very popular, and in turn led to the family increasing their business to include an Italian restaurant. The brothers were close, spending time helping in the family business, and indulging in their passion of football around their studies. When school was finished for them, neither pursued higher education, choosing instead to move into the family business. Arturo in particular embraced his Italian heritage, and on a trip back to Southern Italy one summer to visit family, he met the woman who would be his wife. It wasn't an easy move, and an even less comfortable conversation with his family, but Arturo announced that he would be moving to Italy full time. For Luigi, life centred around a small area of West Wales now, and he didn't even particularly enjoy his trips to Italy now as he had done in summers as a boy. A year younger than his brother, he missed him when he made his big move, but not enough to follow him. He threw himself into his work, and before long, he too had met a woman and fallen in love. Luigi beat his brother to the punch, first with the engagement, and then with the marriage. The Di Cianni boys both married within a year of each other, each having his brother as best man. Luigi and his wife announced their pregnancy first, Arturo and spouse waiting a little longer to break the news, but they were actually a little further down the line. Davide was born first, born in the city of his families heritage, Cosenza, Southern Italy, on the 8th August 1996. A little over two weeks later, in a home birth in Haverfordwest, his cousin Danilo was born on the 24th August 1996. Both were huge events of course, and the family could embrace their Italian roots, and also the new heritage line that they were drawing 1,700 miles away in West Wales. The new cousins saw each other every summer, as the families took it in turn to travel to visit each other. Their visits were tied together with a mutual love of the beautiful game as they grew older, and more competitive. Davide didn't speak too much English, it wasn't something that was taught too much in Southern Italy, he picked up words on the visits back and forth, but not much more than that. Danilo wasn't a fluent Italian speaker by any means, but with family of Italian speakers around him, he learned more than enough to make himself understood. The Di Cianni genes had done their work on the boys height, as both would stand well over six foot as they were into their teenage years. It probably had more to do with upbringing than genes that made Davide a very promising centre half. Excelling at all defensive aspects of the game, and capable of stepping back into an old fashioned Libero role as well as playing in a defensive midfielder role. At 16, he stands at 6'2 and is rated highly by Scouts across the country. Danilo was the opposite. Slightly taller, but still quicker and a pure attacker. Strong with either foot, he was comfortable playing down either wing, or as a striker. He was able to effortlessly provide a spark of creativity for his team mates, or himself. A dead ball specialist, his hours of practice at picking out the top and bottom corners from distance were now coming to fruition. At 16, he now stands 6'3, and like his cousin in Italy, he is also highly regarded by just about everyone who has seen him play. Both lads did have one thing in common though when it came to their football. Loyalty. Both had come through the system at their hometown clubs, and both had been urged to ignore the hype around their abilities, and to pay back the clubs who had nurtured their talents. That was exactly what both had chosen to do........at least to start with......
  12. Wednesday 23rd July 2014 Robbie Blake reports back from the Trial Match today. It wasn't a long report, as the Assistant Manager advised against pursuing the signings of any of the players he was keeping an eye on, none of them would have proved to be an upgrade on the players we already have at the club. It's a side issue today, as the club announce a loss of £55,000 over the last financial year, which is 23% of the clubs turnover figure for the same period, which was a £¼ million. The figures do include the cost of changing manager at the club, but today, Maidstone United are £68,500 in debt. I'm over spending by almost £1,000 per week on the wage budget, and am at least partly culpable for the current financial issues at the club. But in better news, 26 year old Northern Irish left sided utility player and new signing at the club, Adam Campbell, has resumed training today after missing all three games in the pre-season schedule to date. Thursday 24th July Pre-Season Friendly Corinium Stadium, Cirencester Gloucester City v Maidstone United Attendance :- 105. Weather :- Dry, 7c. It's now seven years since Gloucester City were forced out of their Meadow Park home. The stadium was ruined in the floods that hit the area in 2007, and since then they have been the football club equivalent of sofa surfing, and after a spell lodging with Forest Green Rovers, they are now making their home in Cirencester. With pre-season games running out, there will be no full team substitution at half time for this penultimate match of the schedule. After his second half hatrick last time out, Jack Deeney starts up front today, with what is likely to be our first choice midfield pairing of Jamie McMaster and Marc Canham also back in place. After recovering from injury, new signing Adam Campbell is on the substitutes bench. Jack Deeney continued to push his claims for a First Team place early, showing his strength early on to hold off a pair of centre backs and bring down Josh Derry's long clearance, and then hold the ball up to bring Marc Canham into play. He sent the ball wide to Jack Collins, who's pace won us an early corner. That was the first in a series of corners that we failed to take advantage of, but the opener wasn't far away. Alan Dallas sent Collins into space down the right, and the winger was confronted by two defenders, going inside one, and then back outside the second, before standing up a cross to the near post. Canham met that with a header, Pablo Martin got a strong hand to it, but only pushed it up into the air, and Jamie McMaster was there to nod the ball into an open goal to put us in front. Deeney missed his first chance to etch his name on the scoresheet shortly after, Mark Williams and Terry Hindmarch cutting City open down the left, but our striker scuffed his shot wide. Collins was soon back in action cutting in from his wing and ghosting past several City players as he made his way to the middle of the park, before sending the ball to Canham who picked out McMaster in a great position, but this time he missed the target with his header. With the mid point of the half approaching, Dallas was again the supply line to Collins on the right, and this time he crossed early, Deeney positioning himself between the two centre backs, and heading the ball into the top corner. Just before the half hour mark, we made it a hatrick of headed goals, and it was Deeney again to continue his impressive form, as he got on the end of Williams' corner delivery and found the net again. City launched their first attack of note in the 41st minute, and it was successful too. Gary Hemmings sent the ball from centre back into the right channel, where Perry Porter not only beat Williams in a foot race, but did an outstanding job to keep the ball in play, and then picked out Phil Hall at the far post, and he tucked the ball in from close range. 3-1 up at the break, the only disappointment being our failure to deal with the only real attack that City threw at us in that first half. No full team change at half time for us, but there were still a few substitutions for us. Gary Murray came on at right back, Michael Haswell at left back, Malcolm Carr at defensive midfielder, Lewis McMahon in centre midfield, Adam Campbell on the left wing, and Daniel Walsh up front. Coming off were Andy Miskimmon, Mark Williams, Alan Dallas, Jamie McMaster, Terry Hindmarch and Jack Deeney. Those changes didn't cause us too many issues though, and Haswell made good ground down the left, before picking out Carr in the middle of the park in acres of space. He clipped the ball forward to Collins who had come infield, and he in turn rounded the corner and played the ball into the run of Lewis McMahon, who fooled Martin by refusing the shot across goal, and instead burying the ball into the net inside the near post. Canham sent a shot on the turn just over the bar, while midway through the half, Collins took a first touch to a cross field pass that took him straight past his marker, but then rushed into his shot, and missed the target by a mile. The first raft of substitutions hadn't impacted our dominance too much, but a further change around with just under a quarter of an hour remaining, killed the game pretty much stone dead. Peter Hylton came on in goal for Josh Derry, while Shaun Culverhouse replaced Aaron Steele at centre back, Gordon Chin was sent on to replace Canham, and Matthew Hatch took over from Collins on the right wing. City only had seven replacements to call upon, and they had used them all by this point, making the last phase disjointed and fairly boring to watch, aside from a couple of tasty looking tackles that earned each team a rare pre-season booking. Gloucester City (1) 1 - Phil Hall (41) Maidstone United (3) 4 - Jamie McMaster (13), Jack Deeney (21,29), Lewis McMahon (55) Josh Derry (Peter Hylton 76); Andy Miskimmon © (Gary Murray 45), Aaron Steele (Shaun Culverhouse 76), James Curtis; Mark Williams (Michael Haswell 45); Alan Dallas (Malcolm Carr 45); Jamie McMaster (Lewis McMahon 45), Marc Canham (Gordon Chin 76); Jack Collins (Matthew Hatch 76), Terry Hindmarch (Adam Campbell 45); Jack Deeney (Daniel Walsh 45). Unused Substitutes :- Ian Rossiter, Danny Carey-Bertram. Bookings :- James Curtis 89 Possession :- 40% - 60%. Man of the Match :- Jack Deeney (Maidstone United). Another good outing, and once more Jack Deeney takes his chance to impress up front, with two more good finishes to add to the hatrick he bagged last time out in Sudbury. Brought in as a squad player and an 'option' up front, the former Fulham prospect is now pushing for a First Team spot. The other Jack was also impressive, as Collins tore Gloucester City apart on the right wing this evening. There is only one pre-season match remaining for players to push their claims. Friday 25th July The odds have been published for this years Blue Square South, with Billericay Town made short odds favourites at 2/1. The other contenders are reckoned to be Forest Green Rovers and Dartford at 5/1, Maidenhead United and Basingstoke Town at 5/1, and Newport County priced at 6/1. You'll notice that Maidstone United are not included amongst those front runners. No, we're priced as very much underdogs at 80/1 for promotion, and touted to be much closer to the relegation battle than the promotion and playoff races. The pundits have predicted us to finish up in 16th place this season, which wouldn't achieve the target we agreed with the Board, which was for a top half finish. Saturday 26th July The Wage Budget I was given is already about £1,000 per week overspent. That didn't stop me attempting to take a few ex players from Ayr United, as I was hoping to take advantage of their lack of First Team football due to the collapse of League football north of the border. I made bold, and frankly derogatory Free Transfer offers for Ryan McStay, Magnus Eikrem and Richal Leitoe. They responded by giving us their asking prices, McStay and Eikrem both well out of our range, but potentially some room to talk over Leitoe, who would provide a fantastic one-two punch with Jack Collins down our right wing if we could land him. Sunday 27th July New signing and centre back Richard Anderson, who was injured early in our pre-season fixture schedule, has resumed training today. The former Brighton & Hove Albion youngster has recovered from the damaged elbow he suffered in the home win over Nuneaton Town. Wednesday 30th July In one year's time, twenty four of our players are out of contract. That number includes pretty much our entire First Team squad pool. If we don't have a very good season, and exceed our expectations, we may be in enough financial peril to make signing a new contract with us a pretty unattractive proposition. On the other hand, if we are successful, they are all going to want improved terms to stay here. Right now, we're £73,500 in debt, and I'm over-spending by a grand a week on the wages alone. It's starting to look like I'm making a rod for my own back here, and can only hope that we perform well enough to attract attention from another club.
  13. YEEESSSS!!! I got a very generous 1/1500 at a bookmakers today that you'd win that one! I'm off to collect my windfall!
  14. Woodward is paying for your drinks. Water as well then is it?
  15. Evening all. I'll take a seat at the bar and get myself in a round with Mr @CFuller. Nice and cheap that way!
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