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Showing posts from 2014

Bromley, Vanarama South, 261214

This club just has a knack of making history eh? We all know about the FA Cup, that’s now consigned to the annuls of time. The big story at the moment is the FA Trophy, and our recent 6-2 victory over Conference table-toppers Barnet.Last season we reached the First round of the competition but were knocked out after a 1-0 loss to Gosport Borough, who eventually went on to make the final, so this season we were intent on going one better (as seems to be a club trend under Danny Cowley).There’s been no easy games though in this competition, with Conference South leaders Boreham Wood coming to Thames Road in the 3rd Qualifying Round, followed by Barnet in the First Round. The second round awaits now, and a visit to Hemel Hempstead Town on Saturday January 10th.That draw was made prior to the replay of the first round fixture, and gave the lads great incentive to get through. The Second Round of the FA Trophy is the first of the competition where the draw isn’t regionalised, so we could h…

Barnet, FA Trophy, 131214

Last Saturday we hosted Farnborough in the Vanarama Conference South, a fixture that on paper looked tough as the visitors had gone 6 games unbeaten and had been playing well for a number of weeks. Last season when the Paddy Power-backed Farnborough visited Concord, the Beachboys gave them a 5-0 pounding and sent them on their way. This season it should have been a much closer game. Or not. Although the visitors were quick to moan about the quality of the Thames Road pitch, the officials deemed the surface perfectly playable, and Concord Rangers made sure that the only thing that was unplayable, was themselves. A total of 7 goals were scored on the day, and every single one was in favour of the home side. Farnborough were well and truly beaten on the day, never getting close to challenging Concords dominance. The 7-0 result was the Beachboys biggest league win in the Conference South, the second being the 5-0 victory over the same team last season!The league is one thing though, today…

Farnborough, Vanarama South, 061214

There’s been plenty of column inches dedicated to this club and our FA Cup run, but as much as it was a great experience it is time we look forward to what else this season has to bring, that being 2 more cup competitions!Yes you read that right, our club (at the time of writing) is still in two further cup competitions. Firstly there’s the small matter of Tuesday night, as we host Grays Athletic in the Essex Senior Cup.This competition, for those of you that may not remember or just want to relive the story again, is one that we had the pleasure of winning last season after some impressive victories against sides like Canvey Island, Colchester United and then Braintree in the final. This season we entered at the 3rd round stage and faced Colchester United a few weeks ago. It was a tough match against a near full strength Colchester side, but the lads worked their backsides off and secured a place in the 4th round. The draw took place soon after and Tuesday nights fixture came to be (…

The FA Cup, It Still Means Something

And so there it was, the Concord Rangers FA Cup journey came to an end for another season, but what a journey it was eh? Making the first round proper of this legendary competition for the first time was something special for our small club, and we certainly made an impact didn’t we?Having our clubs name read out on live TV in the first round draw was quite surreal, but not only for those of us involved with the club. People all over the world wondered who this team were that had been drawn away to Mansfield Town, many of them taking to social networks to ask the question “who the f**k are Concord Rangers” (I use the asterisks as this is a family publication!). With the increased net traffic, this led to our club even trending worldwide on social network site Twitter, giving our tiny club further publicity, reaching places we’d never even dreamed of.The column inches that were then dedicated to our club continued to overwhelm and surprise us, with national publications such as The Sun…

Boreham Wood, FA Trophy, 291114

And so there it was, the Concord Rangers FA Cup journey came to an end for another season, but what a journey it was eh? Making the first round proper of this legendary competition for the first time was something special for our small club, and we certainly made an impact didn’t we?Having our clubs name read out on live TV in the first round draw was quite surreal, but not only for those of us involved with the club. People all over the world wondered who this team were that had been drawn away to Mansfield Town, many of them taking to social networks to ask the question “who the f**k are Concord Rangers” (I use the asterisks as this is a family publication!). With the increased net traffic, this led to our club even trending worldwide on social network site Twitter, giving our tiny club further publicity, reaching places we’d never even dreamed of.The column inches that were then dedicated to our club continued to overwhelm and surprise us, with national publications such as The Sun…

Mansfield, FA Cup, 251114

A week ago Concord Rangers travelled to Mansfield to finally take part in their first ever FA Cup 1st Round proper fixture, after the original match was called off due to a waterlogged pitch at the One Call Stadium.There was over 100 Beachboys fans there on that cold Tuesday night ready to cheer the lads on to victory, singing our admittedly low variety of chants throughout the entire 90 minutes, and I was proud to say I was a part of that crowd. This was especially so after I was away when the original fixture was due to take place!The lads knew they had a tough job ahead of them, even with Mansfield being in poor form and their fans wanting the manager out (they have since parted ways after that game) they were still a fulll time, professional League 2 side that would provide a very strong test. Professionalism and determination would be key, and it was on show from the 1st to the 90th minute. It would be unfair to focus on one players performance that night, as the whole team ensur…

Boreham Wood, Vanarama South, 151114

Ok Ill admit it and be completely honest, I wasnt totally unhappy that the first scheduled fixture at Mansfield was postponed last Saturday. I was in New York on a trip I’d booked way back in May, so I had fully accepted the fact that I would be missing what was going to be the biggest, most important fixture in the history of this club that I’ve followed and become a part of. A point that was hammered home to me when sitting at Heathrow Airport on the Friday morning and I saw the teams BBC interview pop up on the big screen in front of hundreds and maybe thousands of people over the morning!Of course when it came to the actual postponement and the way it was called off, I have every sympathy for the team, players, staff and fans that made that long 3-4 hour journey by coach to Mansfield only for the news to hit that the delightful weather had robbed the Beachboys of their Saturday afternoon in the spotlight. From what I understand the weather had been pretty shocking throughout the d…

Weston Super Mare, Vanarama South, 011114

I’m still not sure it’s entirely sunk in yet, but last Monday night our great little club heard its name read out live on BBC 2 as part of the draw for the FA Cup First Round for the first time. It was a massive moment for Concord Rangers, one that rewards all the hard work and effort that the staff, players & fans have put in over the years here.Going to St Albans City and winning was never going to be an easy task, and it wasn’t as it ended up being just one goal that separated the two sides. What a goal it was though, Joe Gardner watched the ball come over from the left hand side, timed his shot superbly and saw the ball sail into the net past the stranded Saints keeper. A place in The FA Cup First Round was ours, and so were bragging rights for me as I have the pleasure (!) of working with a St Albans fan!Celebrations continued until the early morning for many of us, making the most of the fact that the clocks went back an hour at the time too! But then the reality of it all b…

Colchester United, Essex Senior Cup, 281014

Here we are on another Tuesday night under the lights at the Aspect Arena, Thames Road, one of many that will be sure to come our way over the next couple of months. Yes we’ve got a couple already in the fixture list, but it’s a fair assumption that as the next couple of months approach the weather will have an impact on our plans! Evening games whatever the level have a different atmosphere to them, and I’m not just talking about the decrease in temperature! Standing in the ground with the floodlights brightly burning their way through the darkness, the cheers of you and your fellow fans breaking through the silence of the evenings, the half time cuppa warming up the bones, it just adds a special feeling to the whole football experience, and I think it solidifies a persons love for the game and their chosen side!Don't get me wrong, being on the sidelines or in the stands when that whilst blows at 2 or 3 minutes past 3 on a Saturday afternoon (our games always seem to kick off lat…

Feeling Tired Are We?

A controversial topic of conversation in the football world has once again reared its head over the past week or two, that of player tiredness.The story is that a young Liverpool player (Raheem Sterling) spoke to his national team manager (Roy Hodgson) and said he was feeling too tired to start the game after having played 45 minutes in a separate game 3 days earlier. To be fair the conversation was a private one between a player and his manager, and it should never have been broadcast to the media as it has been, but the deed has been done so to speak. If nothing had been said by Hodgson, nobody would have been any wiser and there’d have been no further question or comment on the matter!Of course, now that it’s out there, the world and his wife has an opinion on the subject, including me. Now I obviously don’t play competitive football, the closest I come to exercise is an hour on a 5-aside pitch some Wednesdays, so I don’t claim to know how the player is feeling or even that what he…

Maidenhead United, Vanarama South, 181014

A controversial topic of conversation in the football world has once again reared its head over the past week or two, that of player tiredness. The story is that a young Liverpool player (Raheem Sterling) spoke to his national team manager (Roy Hodgson) and said he was feeling too tired to start the game after having played 45 minutes in a separate game 3 days earlier. To be fair the conversation was a private one between a player and his manager, and it should never have been broadcast to the media as it has been, but the deed has been done so to speak. If nothing had been said by Hodgson, nobody would have been any wiser and there’d have been no further question or comment on the matter!Of course, now that it’s out there, the world and his wife has an opinion on the subject, including me. Now I obviously don’t play competitive football, the closest I come to exercise is an hour on a 5-aside pitch some Wednesdays, so I don’t claim to know how the player is feeling or even that what h…

Winchester City, FA Cup, 111014

Football can be a cruel mistress, giving you the most wonderful highs then bringing you right back down to earth with a gut-shuddering crash. Results are usually the biggest factor in this emotional rollercoaster, beating a tough team in a difficult match, then losing to a team who play poorly and you think shouldn’t have really got close. But there’s another thing that can really hit you where it hurts, more specifically players, and that’s injuries. We know that injuries happen, it’s part of the sport we all love, watch and take part in, but it doesn’t make it any easier to handle when an injury hits you, your teams player, your friend hard and takes them out of the game they love for a prolonged period of time.And it’s with that in mind that our thoughts and support go to Beachboys ‘keeper Jamie Butler, who suffered suspected posterior cruciate ligament damage to his knee after a collision with Wealdstone’s Enoch Showumni during the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round Replay fixture a shor…

Wealdstone, FA Cup, 300914

With all the fuss over the FA Cup qualifying rounds this past week (and of course tonight) we should remember that it isn’t the only cup we take part in as a club this season. There’s the FA Trophy, which we enter in the 3rd Qualifying Round at the end of November, and of course there’s the Essex Senior Cup, which we enter at the third round stage, and the draw was made about a week ago.Last season we enjoyed a fantastic run in the Essex Senior Cup and beat Braintree 2-1 in the final playing at the home of Dagenham and Redbridge. The defence of this cup though will start with a tough encounter at home to Colchester United, a team we faced en route to the final last season. The fixture has to take place prior to the 1st of November; the exact date though is yet to be confirmed.There were issues around this cup fixture last season, as it came in the middle of a period of bad weather and a hell of a lot of rain! The game was scheduled though and after a lot of work on the pitch during th…

Programme Perils

Its been a while since I've actually got round to writing a blog for me and about how things are going in general, but there's good reason for the break I assure you! If you are unaware, during the summer I became a member of the committee at Concord Rangers football club, and as part of that I also took over responsibility for editing the Beachboys matchday programme. At the time I thought how hard could it be? Writing bits here and there to make sure it's kept up to date, nothing too major. Of course it has turned out to be more difficult than I imagined, even though at the moment things seem to be going fairly well.There's a lot of work that goes into these programmes that I guess I took for granted, but now after 5 home games I appreciate the effort that goes into producing them for each fixture! Obviously there's some stuff that has to go in that's required from the league (adverts mainly), but you have to ensure that your opponents details are right as we…

Wealdstone, Vanarama South, 130914

Today our visitors are Wealdstone FC, a team we know fairly well! We’ve not seen them here at the Aspect Arena since 2012 but our most recent encounter was of course the playoff semi-final in which we won 2-1 and went on to secure promotion to the Conference South.That final encounter was one that lives long in the memory for me, and I’m sure for everyone involved with Concord Rangers at the time, but it wasn’t just for the score line and what the result led to. A few weeks prior to the end of the season Concord Rangers had travelled to Wealdstone in the league, both teams in the playoff hunt and eager to score what would be a massive victory. I remember travelling up early after work, and meeting the usual travelling fans (committee mainly) in the ground. An early sending off for Leon McKenzie didn’t start the game too well, however what followed was a mixture of ups and downs that really set the tone for the following playoff encounter. There was no denying Concord were the better t…

Bishops Stortford, Vanarama South, 090914

This past Saturday was Non League Day, the day used to promote the benefits and positive aspects of the non league levels of the beautiful game. Usually held during the first international break of the season, it uses the lack of Premiership and Championship games to capitalise and bring more fans to our games.I’m all for it, obviously! The non league game has a special pull about it, just attending one game can see you get addicted to it and have you coming back week after week. That’s what happened to me, so I know for a fact it can happen! My first game at Thames Road was attended because I have a friend here as part of the setup in Miki Hood, so that gave me a reason to pop down and tear myself away from Upton Park. But not everyone has that opportunity, so it’s initiatives like Non League Day that help spread the love so to speak and get people involved.Clubs up and down the country get involved with this initiative, many of them holding promotional events to either lower the pri…

Gosport Borough, Vanaram South, 300814

The season is a month old already, 5 games down (6 if you include today) and already we’ve seen some highs & lows. But there’s always games to look forward to, and the coming month will see us encounter familiar faces and make our first foray into cup action this season.First up will be Sutton United away on September 6th, a team that last year gave us our first home point of the season in a 0-0 draw on Bank Holiday Monday. On our travels to Sutton though we fell to a 0-1 defeat in late April during our hectic end of season run in! This time round we’ll be looking to pick up a positive result there against a very tough team. We’ll also be up against a familiar face in Tom Lovelock, a young goalkeeper who spent some time on loan with the Beachboys a couple of seasons ago. As good a ‘keeper as he is, I’m sure the lads will be eager to put one or more past him!3 days later the boys will be back on home turf as we play host to Bishops Stortford, with whom we had an interesting encount…

Eastbourne Borough, Vanarama South, 230814

What a start it’s been already to the 2014/15 Vanarama Conference South season! Certainly expected some ups and downs, but I don't think anyone expected the differences we’ve already seen and experienced.Take the opening day of the season, Concord Rangers put on a masterclass against Bath City, playing some sublime football at times and giving Bath City a lot to worry about through the entire 90 minutes. Although two of our three goals were penalties, I don't think anybody watching the game on the day could say that the lads weren’t deserving of the scoreline or the result.Then the lows began to creep in, firstly with Leon Gordon limping off and suffering an injury, which has kept him out of our games since then. Here’s hoping that he makes a speedy recovery and gets back into the side soon.It was off to Ebbsfleet on the following Tuesday, and within the first twenty minutes we’d lost two further defenders to injury! Steve King limped off, whilst soon after Jack Lampe was help…

Bath City, Vanarama South, 090814

So here it is, my first program as editor, and our first game of the 2014/15 Vanarama Conference South Season!It’s certainly been an interesting summer period, what with the World Cup taking place and all the noise surrounding that, but the focus is finally back where it belongs, on the Beachboys and our second season in the Conference South. Last seasons sponsors Skrill ended their deal early, and as of just over a week ago the new sponsors were announced as being online van company Vanarama, who you may be familiar with due to their unique adverts on the tv! So as of this season we are playing in the Vanarama Conference South.After an outstanding season last time out, with a 9th place finish and of course our Essex Senior Cup victory over Braintree, the lads will have to go a hell of a long way to improve this time round. I know that Danny (Cowley) is always keen to go one better each season, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the FA Trophy or the first round proper of the FA Cup are sit…

Opportunity Knocks, or Maybe It Tweets

About 4 years ago I was talking to a mate on twitter who at the time (and remains so at present) was a member of the backroom staff at Concord Rangers, and during our conversation it was suggested that I come down to Thames Road and take in a Beachboys game. After not much thought I said yes and a few weeks later I went down there to see Concord in action & catch up with said mate.A seemingly innocuous decision with no long lasting results or issues stemming from it, or at least that’s what you would think on first glance. Little did I realise when I said I’d go that it would lead to so many things, including memorable events, great friendships, and most recently a number of responsibilities as part of the club.For example, Concord Rangers second season in the Ryman Premier came to an end with an away trip to Wealdstone, home of the now infamous Wealdstone Raider. I had been around the club for a while by this point, and had got to know the coaches & a few of the players, so I…

One More Game

Welcome to Thames Road for what is Concord Rangers final game of our inaugural Skrill Conference South season. I don’t think anyone could have expected this season to play out as it has, we all had dreams sure, but breaking as many barriers as we have as a club has surprised plenty of teams, experts & fans alike.From earning the teams first victory in this league away at Dover back in August, securing our 50 point target away to Farnborough back in March through to confirming a top 10 finish with a victory away (find a theme here?) to Basingstoke this past week, it’s been one hell of a season! I could sit here and write about how well Danny & Glenn managed the side, how well each of the players performed, how loudly the fans cheered at some of our most exciting moments, but that would be singling out one aspect of many. It’s been a club effort to reach this level of success, dedication, blood, sweat & tears at every level has contributed to the Beach Boys having a spectacu…

Race To 50? No Problem!

Concord Rangers in the Skrill Conference South, a sentence that still didn’t quite sound right when promotion was won last summer, but what is even more astounding is the fact we’ll be saying that for at least another season yet. Ok so maybe Concord Rangers are still not quite mathematically safe, but sitting in 8th (as I type) on 54 points I believe it’s safe to say we’re staying up.At the start of the season I remember Danny Cowley saying he just wanted us to be competitive in the league, not be the whipping boys that everyone else expected us to be. He also set a target of 50 points which would probably be enough to ensure safety in this league, and with 32 games gone an away win at Farnborough got the lads to that magical number.So what now? Our main objective for the season has been achieved, there is no longer any pressure on the lads to survive, and there’s a cup final to look to at the end of the season. But what of the remaining league games (8 as I type)? Now is a chance to …

Whisky Live 2014

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Whisky Live is a whisky tasting festival which occurs around the world every year in locations such as Tokyo, New York, Melbourne and London. I attended my first Whisky Live event in 2008, already the 8th to be held in London. I was just getting into whisky at the time, starting to try different brands of scotch which to me were the only ones out there. My girlfriend at the time spotted an advert for the show in Timeout, and as such suggested that we should go. The show was held in the Royal Horticultural Halls near Westminster, and was my first real look into what was (& still is) a huge world of whisky.I remember trying Glen Grant and Bowmore whiskies for the first time at the show, but it also allowed me to broaden my horizons as such, and sample what has become one of my favourites, Yamazaki, a single malt whisky from Japan. I also was able to try Four Roses bourbon, which I have returned to with fair regularity over the years!With my first Whisky Live experience a positive on…

Cup Final Countdown

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Last season Concord Rangers acheived some incredible successes, winning promotion via the playoffs and taking home the Ryman League Cup. Coming into this season though we all knew it’d be tough to even come close to replicating that level of success given the tougher competitions we are now a part of.But come close we have, as after beating Colchester United a few weeks ago Concord Rangers are now in the Essex Senior Cup Final, due to take place on Tuesday 29th April. The Beachboys will face Skrill Premier side Braintree Town at The London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Stadium, home of Dagenham & Redbridge FC. The ground played host to the last Essex Senior Cup Final Concord were a part of, but we’ll be hoping for better fortunes after losing in 2008/09 to Chelmsford City.Our journey to the final has been an interesting one, with a 5-0 victory over Waltham Abbey in the 3rd round getting things started. The 4th round saw old enemies Chelmsford City visit the Aspect Arena, but t…

Beachboy Football is Back!

There’s not been much to talk about recently concerning Concord Rangers thanks to the seemingly endless torrents of recent rainfall. Thankfully though things have started to clear up & dry out a bit, allowing football to get going again!After the Beachboys Boxing Day victory over Boreham Wood, there were plenty of fixtures scheduled through January to let the lads build a run together, but as we all know the weather stopped any chance of that. A total of just 3 games were able to be played during the first month of the year, including victories at home to Hayes & Yeading and away to league leaders Bromley. The weather was still poor though, and after a Saturday fixture was called off Concord hosted Chelmsford City on a Tuesday night that proved to be the last game for over a month.The Chelmsford game had already been reorganised due to a power issue the first time round, but thanks to a lot of work on the pitch it was able to go ahead on Tuesday 21st January. I had a few compl…

Pro Wrestling Is Real, People Are Fake

Pro wrestling and I have had an interesting on & off relationship over the years, but it seems as though it’s something I keep coming back to even after staying clear for long periods of time!As a kid I watched what many others did, wrestling on ITV on a Saturday afternoon, seeing guys like Ric Flair, the British Bulldogs, Bret Hart and the Ultimate Warrior. This was early on in my life, so I’ll be honest and say I don’t remember many of the finer details, only that I recall watching professional wrestling! Then the early 90s hit and it really took off, and thanks to satellite TV I was able to become a fan of guys like Flyin’ Brian Pillman, The Rockers and the British Bulldog. Probably my most prominent memory of this period was watching the WWF Summerslam PPV which was held in London in 1992. The main event was when The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith (RIP) defeated Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Title. At the end Bret’s sister (Davey’s wife) and the rest of the Hart family h…

Darting Divide

To me Darts is a wonderful sport, an enjoyable game that is great to take part in and even better to watch, both whilst having a beer or 3 with mates! But there’s a lot to it behind the scenes which has kept darting fanatics arguing for years now.There are two organisations that essentially run the sport of professional darts, firstly the British Darts Organisation (BDO) who have been in operation since 1973, and secondly the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) which was formed in 1992 by a group of 16 players (including all former World Champions still playing). It isn’t hard to find plenty of articles written about the split in professional darts, so I won’t go into detail about the reasons of the split.The thing is, fans are just as split as the organisations are. The BDO is very traditional, very old school, as are a large number of its fans. The PDC however, is loud, brash and very publicity-heavy thanks to the chairman Barry Hearn. There is also a gulf in talent, which has been…

Festive Frustrations

The festive period is usually one filled with football fixtures, so much so that teams in the top flight complain and moan about wanting a winter break. Well after looking forward to this period full of footy it turned out that Concord Rangers (and many other teams at this level) actually got an unwanted winter break!You don’t have to look very far to read various opinions on how the yearly postponements can be avoided, hell even I stuck my oar in this time last season with some ideas of my own. However nothing has really changed and once again the weather decimated the Christmas fixture lists. Last year the main culprit was snow, but this year it’s been the near constant heavy rainfall which has done the deed.After Concord Rangers impressive 4-0 victory in the Essex Senior Cup Quarter Final at home to Canvey Island, the scheduled fixture at home to Havant & Waterlooville was the first to be hit by the weather. A waterlogged pitch meant that the next fixture for the Beachboys woul…