Cannot get my cousin stirred. Never known him have such a long lie down. Must be the excitement from promotion last season. So, I've taken the opportunity to give my view. Hope he doesn't get upset! I'm a bit further up from the Ghostly Gadgie and further to the left. Gives me a decent perspective, I reckon.
First off, the ground looks fit and tidy and I gather there's been a makeover in the clubhouse too, but prices held, as least for now, on the beer, famous corned beef pie - thanks to The Promenade - and those big value hot dogs. The biggest change is on the pitch, where I've got a load of new names and faces to get to know, alongside those I remember from last season.
From what I've seen so far they look like an impressive collection of footballers, which Neil has done very well to assemble. 'Time to gel, time to gel' is what I hear from the other side of the fence. Well, that's all very well, but times getting on and it isn't fluidity that appears to be the problem. It's shyness in front of the opponent's goal, combined with a bit of looseness when defending ours! Neil and his crew will get it sorted. On our side, we've got, I think, to adjust our expectations after what's effectively been a three year campaign to get into Division 1. From what I've seen and heard so far, there's quite a difference in standard between the divisions and our honest objective has got to be to stabilise - I think that's the term - at this level.
So, Defty's (Midnight) Diner - revamped and prices held - fast, entertaining and exciting Northern League Division 1 football and prices held on the gate too - OK, OK, is anyone saying they shouldn't pay for a raffle ticket if they want one? All this means that the folks of Ryhope have got a terrific value football offer on their doorsteps. Spread the word! Spread the word!
Before I go, got to say that it was very good to see an RCA legend in the ground the other day. Joe Dixon, who I'm told has just got his bus pass, has turned from goal scorer to football historian, embracing modern technology on the way. Joe has had a fantastic career in East Durham and Sunderland football and has captured many, many details on his web site. Well worth a visit. Click here.