Well, that didn’t take long. You sit down, have a cup of tea, watch Wimbledon, and the play-off final of course, and here we are back again for the new season.
Good few changes around the place, few decent players been tempted away by hopes of glory, and a couple of others gone to Bishop Auckland. Only joking, looks like they may well be a force this season, they certainly are trying.
The usual mad summer competition for players all over the Ebac Northern League and elsewhere, but it always settles down. We may have lost a few, and we wish them well, but we have signed a good few as well. Including strengthening our international contingent with a Romanian and a Frenchman. I’ll let you guess which is which by the names. You might be wrong.
More importantly the bulk of last year's team have re-signed, and I thought as a rebuilding exercise last season went better than we could have hoped, so I think that is a good thing. A mix of youth and experience, got to be the way to go. Could be an exciting year.
You will have seen we started our season last Saturday, in July for Gawd's sake, with a trip over to Carlisle. The venue wasn’t new - the very smart Gillford Park, as played at by the team of that name and then the rebranded, short lived and ill fated Celtic Nation - but the opposition was: Carlisle City, newly promoted and from what my spies tell me, right up for it.
We were a bit shorthanded and the opposition were very lively, as Cumbrian sides often are, and took us off our feet for a good while. Their centre forward scored a worldy, which never helps, and so we were chasing from early on.
Our correspondent thought it took us a long time to settle, but a couple of subs early in the second half helped and we laid siege for the last 20 minutes or so. Cal Patton notched a good equaliser and honours were even.
General consensus seemed to be that Carlisle should be alright this season, and it might not turn out to be a bad point on the road, which is usually the case. And of course their cause will be helped by being odds on for home midweek matches, as all kinds of lurgies and mystery hamstrings see players suddenly unable to travel to the other side of the country on a wet Tuesday night. To be fair, they will do a lot more travelling than us in the North East do, so we can hardly complain. Good luck to them I say.
Elsewhere the SoL faithful turned out in their droves to see SAFC start their new campaign, and from the telly I thought they made a decent fist of it. A lack of pace at the back might be an issue and maybe a competitive, indeed aggressive, old head in midfield might help the young lads a bit, but overall, not bad, not bad. No doubt they will be hoping to bring another two or three in during this month, then battle away and see where you are come the New Year. Anybody in the top half then is right in contention in my book.
Will the resurgence of interest help us? Maybe, it looks like they will be on the telly quite a bit so fewer clashes of fixtures should help, and hopefully a few of the new enthusiasts will also make it to Sunderland LGV Park.
A final word on Gaz Pearson. A lovely bloke, who always had a kind word. A real tragedy for his family, friends and the football community in the North East. Sadly missed. RIP.