Well, that was an excellent little run while it lasted, but all good things, magic of the Cup, anything can happen, and all that.
I refer to last week's FA Cup tie of course. To be fair with twenty minutes to go I was starting to think we could pull it off, we have come on strong towards the end of most games this season. But it wasn’t to be. Stockton are a powerful side, and I’m sure they will do well this year in their new league and be there or thereabouts, along with the other North East representatives, come the end of the season. A few injuries before and during the game didn’t help, and the downside of this cup run is that it has stretched our squad.
And we go straight into more Cup action this weekend. A tricky looking tie, against a side we haven’t played before, in their first season in the Northern League, and who we can’t be expected to know too much about, although no doubt the boss and his lads will have done some checking out.
Yes it's FA Vase time again. I love the Vase, however you do in the Cup you know it isn’t going to last too long, making it into September is an achievement, but with the Vase you know it could be you.
And we have had some great seasons in the past few years, all ending in disappointment but not before a lot of highs and some great games. Bristol Manor Farm at Home and Newport Pagnell away would probably be the most annoying, two games we certainly should have won but didn’t, and only a couple of ties from Wembley. At the same time the most enjoyable probably include the home win over Tadcaster Albion, a comprehensive 4-0 in a season when they won the North East Counties League, and in the same season the great away trips to Silsden and Hemsworth Miners Welfare, the latter featuring a noisy and boisterous crowd, rapidly silenced by Colin Larkin’s twelve second opening goal, and his subsequent hat trick. Happy days indeed.
We want more of course, but it would be unrealistic to have too much in the way of expectations for this season. Rebuild, grow and develop is the plan for the year, everybody knows that, but a little excitement on the way never goes amiss. We shall see, we shall see.
On the league front, I notice that our neighbours over the cemetery gave Consett a good game the other night, but Consett anyway won, and move onwards at the top. Most people’s favourites and that might well prove right.
North Shields are the only unbeaten side in the First Division, and I have no doubt they will be right in there come the end of the term. For the rest, I think its pretty wide open, a lot of clubs will fancy themselves, and it might come down to who is best at keeping a side together or adding a few good reinforcements.
Be an interesting season.
Meanwhile what happens elsewhere in this old town? Sunderland put their faith in youngsters of good pedigree but little experience, which is a bold strategy. Let's hope it works. As is usual with these things the ones who do best will probably not be the ones expected to, and vice versa.
Looks like our old boy Patto has a serious German challenge for the gloves, but he may well prove up to it. Good luck to him anyway. Interesting times …