Saturday, 29 June 2013

Ins & Outs down Thames Road

With pre-season training starting this coming week, along with the fixtures due to be released Friday as well, I thought it best that we have a quick run down over the changes that have happened around Concord Rangers over the summer so far.

First the outgoings, the players/staff that have moved on. It was expected but Ben Greenhalgh, who played for the Beachboys for the second half of last season, has been signed by Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish Premier League. Ben became an integral part of the Concord team and I’m sure I speak for every Beachboys fan when I wish Ben the best of luck north of the border! Also moving up levels is defender Matt Fry, who has been signed by Conference Premier side Dartford, and will be looking to play a big part in their push for promotion into the Football League.

We’ve also seen the departure of physiotherapist Steve Wright after one season with the club as he looks to move forward with his career. Steve, or simply “physio” as many knew him as (including myself) was called into action on many occasions through the season, playing a big part in treating Harry Elmes after his leg injury against Thurrock, and seeing to the various knocks and injuries our players picked up over the season (see Danny Spendlove, John Easterford etc). Goalkeeper Dale Brightly, who returned to the club to cover when loanee Luke Chambers was recalled by Southend, has moved to the other side of the island, signing for Canvey Island FC, whilst young starlet Sammy Knott has moved to Aveley in order to get regular first team football at Ryman Premier level.

Over the summer (if you can really call it that) some other changes have been made or are in the process of being made at Concord Rangers in preparation for our inaugural Conference South season. One major change will be noticed on your first return to Thames Road, with new gates being installed where the players enter the pitch, and an alteration to the main turnstiles upon entering the ground. The kits are also changing, with Under Armour being the makers and Canvey-based company Design 4 Print becoming our main home sponsor.

Now for the incoming players, a quick rundown of the new additions to the Concord Rangers family who are looking to push the club forward in the Conference South. The first new signing announced was a returning face, that of Paul Goodacre. A vastly experienced defender who has been at Conference South level for some time, Paul previously spent a loan spell at Thames Road during the 2011/12 Ryman Premier season. Another familiar face was next to be announced, this one being Gary Ogilvie, who was a part of the Beachboys team that won the Essex Senior League & Gordon Brasted Trophy back in 2007/08. Since then Oggers has spent his time on a scholarship playing for Florida Tech, and more recently with FC London of Ontario in the Canadian League. Gary also spent some time with the Beachboys during the 2011/12 season, scoring against Kingstonian & Horsham.

Two more players were announced recently, the first being Jamie Butler who is a 21 year old goalkeeper who spent last season playing for Ryman Premier side Met Police. Having a fully signed custodian of the goal will be a welcome sight for the club after spending most of last season with ‘keepers on loan (Tom Lovelock, Luke Chambers).  Additionally, Canvey-based defender/midfielder Bradley Hamilton adds more experience to the Beachboys side, having signed from League One side Colchester United. And finally the new physio for the Concord Rangers 2013/14 will be Mike Hine, who is a Wickford based lad due to complete his MSc (Masters Degree) in Sports Therapy from London Metropolitan University shortly.

Plenty of goings on at Thames Road, with probably a few more things to come as pre-season gets under way. Needless to say though, I am looking forward to being a part of it as the Concord Rangers family progress!

You Are My Concord!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

No Football, More Blogs

The summer is tough to manage when there’s no major football tournament on, I know there’s tennis and cricket, and the Lions tour, but it’s just not the same! You end up with little to focus on when the weekends come around and try to find something to keep you occupied! Which in turn has led me to write another blog, I’ve always found it easier to write things down whatever the issue/subject, so the fact that “summer” is dragging gives me reason to waffle on.

Nearly 4 months now in the new flat for me and my brother, the 3 month inspection went well with no issues, plus a couple of bits we’ve found were taken care of shortly afterwards. It feels like we’ve been there an age already, everything under control (pretty much), tasks being done by the both of us, cooking being shared, bills etc. All that is great, and after the inspection/visit the property manager said she’d be happy for us to sign a renewal to the original 6 month contract. So once we organise a time and day, we’ll be in the flat for another 12 months from when the first 6 months ends in August. Needless to say we’re both pleased with that outcome!

Last time I said I had a busy month ahead, well that’s pretty much done now and everything went without a hitch. Had a great time in Doncaster for my friend Vikki’s wedding. I’ve stuck some of the pictures her brother took online as well as a couple I got on my phone, it was a beautiful day weather wise which certainly added to everyone’s enjoyment! Spent some quality time with Vik, her now husband Craig & her boys Kain & Dion, the two lads are always full of energy and will make sure you are knackered by the end of the week! Also was good to see Viks family, over the years I’ve got to know them fairly well and always enjoy catching up with them all. At the time Vikki was heavily pregnant with her third child, a little girl called Leigh who was born just over a week ago now.

Also had my yearly trip to Blackpool to take part in the Railsports with a number of the guys from work. The guys that come along have slowly drifted to playing darts as they’ve realised that it’s not much effort, and you can drink from early on as its held in a working mens club! 7 of us played from our company, 2 of them came back with medals (4th year on the trot someone from our lot has got one). We also take a football team up as well, who this year won the whole tournament, so congratulations to them! It’s always an entertaining weekend as we start enjoying ourselves on the train up Friday afternoon, play some cards, drink a few beers etc, and the party tends to keep going until Sunday morning when the hangovers kick in. The story of my weekend though was being lucky on the machines, winning £300 on the Friday morning in William Hill, then another £200 in Ladbrokes on the Saturday afternoon! Needless to say my weekend was free!

Still plenty of stuff coming up to look forward to though, weekend away with the old man & the brothers being the key one. Not long after my parents split, dad was taking us on holiday to a caravan park in Clacton for a week at a time, always had a laugh and it even lasted as we got older. However it’s been some time since we all went together thanks to various work commitments & other situations over the years. Well now the old man has taken his pension & paid off the house, he thought it was about time we did it again. And that’s what is gonna happen next month, Friday to Monday in Clacton at the caravan park we’ve stayed in previously, and it should be a decent few days!

Still got the Great British Beer Festival to look forward to in August, and a friends wedding next month too. All stuff to keep your mind from being purely focused on work as it has a tendency to be at the moment! Also I’ve looked a bit further on into the year and booked some leave at the start of September. It’s been a long time, seriously long, since I went up to Scotland to visit my family up there, so it’s about time I got my backside into gear and got up there. The planning begins now, but I’ve got to make sure I visit Lossiemouth & Inverness as the main focus. It would obviously be rude not to pop into any local distilleries whilst there, and there’s a couple of friends I’ve met online over the years that would probably be offended if I didn’t make time to visit them!

I’m lucky to be in the situation I’m in, pretty comfortable with a job I enjoy & good people around me, I plan on making the most of it going forward!

To Talk, Or To Write? A Bloggers Return!

You've got to be in the mood to record a podcast, that's one thing I've noticed over the last couple of years doing both the S...