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View from the Cemetery 21 December 2019

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Sunday, 22 December 2019

So, a win against Northallerton, well deserved but a bit narrower than we would have wanted. Still, its a win, and with a fairly depleted squad. Further injury news though, with Steve Callen limping off with what looked like quite a bad ankle injury. Fingers crossed its not as bad as it looked and we get him back soon, he will be a big miss. Despite missing a few games already he has been in fine form this season and is leading goalscorer by some way. But others will step up to the plate in his absence I’m sure, Nathan and Sparky are due a few goals.

Good news that we have retained the services of Ryan Leonard and Connor Slack for the rest of the season from Sunderland AFC. We haven’t seen much of Connor yet due to callbacks and injury but he made a positive impression when he has played, particularly up at Consett where his running and work rate while we were under the cosh was excellent. Ryan has been a revelation. Quick and tricky and with a great shot, he looks a player. We have also acquired Tom Best on loan from Hull City, a promising midfield player who we are looking forward to seeing in action. So, lots happening on the playing front, good and bad, and its important to remember that, in terms of games played we have yet to reach the half way point of our league season.

In the wider football world, the World Club Championship is well on, with Liverpool having to give away their chance of reaching the Football League Cup Final for the dubious pleasure of schlepping to Arabia for the weekend. Sounds daft and that is because it is, but we will see a lot more of this in years to come if FIFA and UEFA have their way.

An expanded World Club Competition for one thing, which is on FIFA’s agenda, and a new format for the Champions League as UEFA want, which sees the so called “Big Clubs”, largely self selected of course, qualifying for the knock out stages without the need to actually beat any of the minnows.

Football often manages to blow up in the face of those who try to take away the unpredictability of it. I don’t know why they try anyway, as the unpredictability is what makes it the best game in the world. Just thick I guess.

I hope it can blow up in the faces of the football bigwigs this time as well. Its why, and I concede its unlikely, I also fervently hope that Leicester manage to overtake Liverpool and win the Premier League this season, and also why few things in football give me us much joy as watching Arsenal sink like a stone. Down, down, deeper and down as Status Quo used to sing, and probably still do given half a chance. Oh, and Athleti for the Champions League, the club of the real people in Madrid, rather than the Real people. See what I did there…

Finally, can I recommend you keep an eye on the amazing form of Barrow FC in the National League, the Conference as was. By the beginning of September they had managed to lose six league games and were looking set for a real struggle. They then apparently discovered a secret formula and have since won eleven, drawn one and lost one. They are now top of the league, with a long way to go of course, but with a very decent chance of returning to the Football League for the first time since 1972. For the North!