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View from the Cemetery

View from the Cemetery - October 2019 - 2

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Tuesday, 15 October 2019

A cracking game and very good performance against Billingham Town in the League Cup on Wednesday night. Opinions are divided as to the value of the new group stage for the League Cup, but a goodish crowd turned out and were well entertained by this match. I thought, from my restricted view, that what looked like a young Billingham side started very well, passing and moving with purpose, but came up against something like a full strength RCA defence which meant that very little of their attacks reached Robbie Dean in any way likely to cause him any great discomfort.

At the same time the feeling that RCA would create a decent chance every few minutes or so, which was a feature of the first few weeks of the season but had disappeared lately, came back. The midfield trio of Dylan, Dom and Nathan got hold of and produced a lot of good ball for Sparky and young Ryan. RCA lined up with something between a back three and a back five, depending on where the nominal full backs found themselves at any given time, and how much they had on their plates. It did seem to offer quite a bit of flexibility going forward, and plenty of cover at the back. There is many a stalwart that frowns on these fancy variations, preferring the flat back four at all times, not to mention being nostalgic for the old W formation of Stanley Matthews day, when a half back was a half back and nothing like an inside forward. Still as such types are in their nineties now maybe we can move on...

View from the Cemetery - October 2019

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Wednesday, 9 October 2019

I normally start this column with my thoughts on our own fortunes, and to be sure there is plenty to say there, but I think I should start this week where I left off last, with Jack Ross and his team, or rather, his team as was.

So, he has gone. There has been plenty of discontent, is there ever not, but even so it comes as a bit of a shock or at least it does to me. Not easy to see where SAFC are trying to go. Is the American deal still on? Do they want a new, more high profile boss? Or is it all off and do Donald and Co. think Ross is not now up to the job? Given my target for last season for Sunderland would have been to avoid relegation, then I think he did OK. Bit boring and defemsive but even so solid and safe. Not enough for the daft lads who hilariously think Sunderland are a big club and that lesser teams should understand this and roll over, but you can’t worry about them.

View from the cemetery - September 2019

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Another very decent week for RCA, despite mounting injury and unavailability problems. A good win down at Thornaby I am told, with the Teessiders belying their lowly league position with a very spirited performance which stretched us to the limit before we managed to squeeze out the win. Followed by a big day out in Gateshead for the FA Cup match at our old rivals Dunston. Not a classic by all accounts but on paper a very good draw, and a chance to finish the job on Wednesday night. Swaz came up with a demon plan to stop Pagey playing which worked fairly well, unless he just felt guilty about deserting his old mates for the bright lights of the big city. I never knew he was such a fan of long bus rides.

Anyway on we go, ten games into the season and you really can’t complain. Elsewhere Stockton are going like trains, Hebburn are doing as well as expected, despite the odd blip, and Consett are not quite living up to the pre season hype. Billy Town are doing very well and both Northallerton and Thornaby look capable of making a fist of it over the season. So, a good season building up, no easy games and lots and lots of them. I’m not sure the idea of the four group games in the Mitre Brooks Mileson League Cup will end up looking like such a good idea as the winter draws on though. RCA are already looking at a minimum of forty nine games this season, probably and hopefully more, and that sounds more than plenty to me.

View from the cemetery - August 2019 - 5

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Saturday, 31 August 2019

Some of you may be under the impression that in my last column I expressed the view that the Ashes would be all over by last Saturday night, and that moreover the only good batsman between the two sides was one of them Aussies, and he wasn’t playing. This was clearly a printer’s error, nothing to do with me, and I can only apologise on his behalf; the man knows nothing.

The best two batsmen are of course English, the lad Stokes and the imperturbable Jack Leach. Jack carefully cleaning his glasses before facing some maniac Aussie with a deadly missile in his hand has to be one of the sports images of all time. And it was some knock by Ben Stokes to be fair, and according to the press, signals the revivial of Test cricket, and proof that bashing the ball to all corners willy nilly as in Twenty20 is not the only way to go. They may be right, but I am bound to point out that bashing it to all corners is just what young Ben was doing. 

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