Over the past eleven days I have seen Clapton lose four matches in succession and, speaking to few people at yesterday's game, there appears to be some mild despondency and frustration as to the way things are going on the pitch. That is in stark contrast to the near euphoria in the early weeks of the season, the amusing internet talk of promotion and getting the Dog ready for Isthmian League football. That all seems a long time ago now. But, in my view, our recent results are not surprising, and our position in the League table accurately reflects our level.
We made a good start to the season, beating teams home and away which took us to second in the table at one stage. However, if one looks at the teams we had beaten, not one of them are above us in the table this morning. We are ninth. Of the eight clubs above us, we have played them all, with the exception of Bowers and Pitsea. We have not won any of those games, but drew 3 and lost four. Also, when we were put up against decent standard opposition in the cup competitions, Ipswich Wanderers and Stanway Rovers, we came a predictable second best.
I have already discussed the recent losses to the playing squad and the apparent 'tinkering' of the line ups and substitutions. The fact that we have now used at least five goalkeepers so far this season is also indicative of an unsteady ship. In my day, you could usually predict the team line up for the following week because the majority of players would be working nine til five, Monday to Friday. In 2015, the weekend is now seen as part of the normal working week and, I am sure, this can frequently result in players being unavailable to play due to such commitments. I believe stability is the key and the chopping and changing of recent weeks, in my view, has not helped.
Nonetheless, despite yesterday's result, I was delighted to see that the Scaffold was 'rocking' and most of a good sized crowd seemed to enjoy the match. This, ladies and gents, is what it is all about. During my time as a Tons follower, I have seen Clapton teams hammered, home and away, but I have always looked forward to the next game, as I am, for Saturday's trip to Stansted. Well done to you all, and up the Tons!
Another concern is the recent absence of the 'one sheet programme' that was being sold outside the ground up until a couple of games ago. I used to find that a decent read and much superior to Vince's effort, (when he bothers to produce one). However, on my walk around the ground, I was told that the reason might be that there are 'legal machinations' going on behind the scenes as regards Vince McBean's apparent ownership of the club. If that's the case, then good on them, and lets get that issue resolved as soon as possible so we can enjoy the rest of the season with realistic expectations.
Finally, I have seen Vince's advert for a Club Match Secretary on his website. Anyone seriously thinking of applying for this needs to seek help. The fact that they will be working with one of the most dubious characters in non league football and, with legal stuff apparently on its way, you might end up liable for any debts that he/the club has.
N.B. Vince is not known to hang around once the legal stuff starts to bite.