15 April 2012
Football and Spring
The following is my latest piece for Ebbsfleet United, and was published in the programme for the game v Telford on the 14th April. I hope you all enjoy it!
Spring time is here again. It’s that time of year when you can feel the warmth of the sun, the days are getting longer (yay!), birds are chirruping in the blossomed trees, and you can hear the distant sound of a ball hitting willow – as another shot from the dodgy centre half misses the goal completely, and hits the advertising board near the corner flag! Yes, it’s that time of year again, folks.
If the football season was a restaurant menu, we would now be entering the deserts section. Having started out with our prawn cocktail entree, through to our chicken tikka masala and pillau rice main course, and are now picking up the desert spoon and about to attack and devour the ever so inviting sticky date pudding!
Over the last week or two, teams the length and breadth of the country have been playing football with the same vigour that a child shows during an Easter egg hunt. The crucial last few games have been shaping the success or failure for a number of teams in all divisions. As for the Blue Square Premier, we have Fleetwood and Wrexham battling it out for that automatic promotion spot to the Hallowed Land that is known as League 2.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the table a number of teams, including ex-league teams Darlington and Stockport County, have been fighting to stave off the threat of relegation to the Blue Square South, or North, divisions. For the fans of these two ex-league sides the next few games will be very crucial. Remember, that it was only three seasons ago that Stockport were playing League One football.
As the games whittle away the pressure on teams at both ends of the spectrum intensifies as they strive for glory/safety. The players feel it, the coaching staff feel it and of course the fans, who spend their hard earned money following their team, feel it! Without a doubt it really is a stressful time of the year if you are a football nut!
Fortunately for us, Ebbsfleet are safely ensconced in the middle part of the league table and are safe for at least another year. Given the last couple of seasons, where relegation was followed with instant promotion, we can relax a little and enjoy the last few games. Undoubtedly, given Ebbsfleet’s standing, Liam Daish has again been performing minor miracles. Sainthood must be beckoning for Mr Daish any time soon. Interestingly, most punters thought The Fleet were going to be one of the teams to be relegated!
Despite our safety, you can bet your last pound that the Manager will not be resting on his laurels. Liam will be wanting the team to win as many of these remaining games as possible. Rest assured that the team that represents Ebbsfleet today will be under orders not to ‘take it easy’. Expect a whole-hearted performance from the lads.
Finally, a warm welcome to players, officials and fans from AFC Telford who themselves have been fighting for their Blue Square Premier survival. It should be a good game today and, who knows, maybe the sun will shine too!
Derek W (Twitter: @main_man).
PS: Feel free to drop me a tweet or two!