Sunday, 30 November 2014

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 and Daily Express running features on the team, along with the BBC interviewing the chairman and our players prior to the scheduled tie up north. I say scheduled of course as we all know now that this game was postponed due to the weather conditions providing Mansfield with a waterlogged pitch.

10 days later and the lads made the trip again, this time to actually get the game played. By now we all know what happened, and enough has been dedicated to the performance that was put on that night by the players and the support shown by the 100 or so travelling faithful. But the end result meant a trip back home to Thames Road a week later, and the prep work began. Club officials had to liaise with local police, the FA and the council to ensure that the ground could fit a suitable amount of people safely inside (capacity given at 3000), certain provisions needed to be made with regards to stewarding (we borrowed the Southend United stewards), and there was a long list of FA regulations we had to comply to as well (including me with the programme).

On the day it all went smoothly enough, other than the rain that didn’t seem to want to stop. But that didn’t mean we weren’t nervous about the whole thing! I can only speak for myself, but I was a bag of nerves even though I was only watching the game! From worrying about my programme being up to scratch, to making sure we as a club got everything done and set, through to my cameo interview on the BBC Essex radio show, I was shaking and struggling to process the whole thing. A fellow fan even said he could see the nerves on my face, and that I should relax! He was right of course, I play a small part in this machine, and others had a lot more on their plate than me!

The result on the night wasn’t what we were after, but everyone involved with the club should be proud of what has been achieved during this FA Cup run. Making the First Round Proper was massive, bringing a League 2 team back to Thames Road after a draw at their place was incredible, and seeing over 1500 (official attendance was 1537) people at the Aspect Arena to watch Concord Rangers was truly a sight to behold. If just 50 of those people become regular fans it would mean a boost to the club and its support.

It’s been an awesome experience, and I’m sure that there will be plenty more occasions like that in the future for our great little club. I loved being a part of it, and I hope that those of you who were there did too.

You Are My Concord!

Alan Jessup-Peacock

Fan, Programme Editor, Committee Member, Beachboy

Saturday, 29 November 2014

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 and Daily Express running features on the team, along with the BBC interviewing the chairman and our players prior to the scheduled tie up north. I say scheduled of course as we all know now that this game was postponed due to the weather conditions providing Mansfield with a waterlogged pitch.

10 days later and the lads made the trip again, this time to actually get the game played. By now we all know what happened, and enough has been dedicated to the performance that was put on that night by the players and the support shown by the 100 or so travelling faithful. But the end result meant a trip back home to Thames Road a week later, and the prep work began. Club officials had to liaise with local police, the FA and the council to ensure that the ground could fit a suitable amount of people safely inside (capacity given at 3000), certain provisions needed to be made with regards to stewarding (we borrowed the Southend United stewards), and there was a long list of FA regulations we had to comply to as well (including me with the programme).

On the day it all went smoothly enough, other than the rain that didn’t seem to want to stop. But that didn’t mean we weren’t nervous about the whole thing! I can only speak for myself, but I was a bag of nerves even though I was only watching the game! From worrying about my programme being up to scratch, to making sure we as a club got everything done and set, through to my cameo interview on the BBC Essex radio show, I was shaking and struggling to process the whole thing. A fellow fan even said he could see the nerves on my face, and that I should relax! He was right of course, I play a small part in this machine, and others had a lot more on their plate than me!

The result on the night wasn’t what we were after, but everyone involved with the club should be proud of what has been achieved during this FA Cup run. Making the First Round Proper was massive, bringing a League 2 team back to Thames Road after a draw at their place was incredible, and seeing over 1500 (official attendance was 1537) people at the Aspect Arena to watch Concord Rangers was truly a sight to behold. If just 50 of those people become regular fans it would mean a boost to the club and its support.

It’s been an awesome experience, and I’m sure that there will be plenty more occasions like that in the future for our great little club. I loved being a part of it, and I hope you did too.

You Are My Concord!

Alan Jessup-Peacock

Fan, Programme Editor, Committee Member, Beachboy

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

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 ensured that we got a positive result and set up tonights replay here at Thames Road.

Arsenal loanee Josh Vickers had a blinder in goal, our defense were strong and were able to withstand the admittedly one dimensional long ball attack of the Mansfield big men, Stokesy and the midfield lads never seemed to stop running from start to finish, and Jordan scored what can only be described as an absolute belter of a goal to level things up within minutes of us going behind to a very unlucky Danny Glozier own goal.

Tonight we ask those lads to go out there and do it all over again, face off against a professional League 2 side, put in a determined and hard-fought performance in an attempt to make history once again for this small club of ours. Whatever the result this team deserve our support and appreciation for the hard work that they have put in to reach the level they are at right now. Danny & Nickey Cowley have worked their backsides off with these players and they deserve just as much recognition, if not more, in regards to the clubs success in the FA Cup competition this season.

Tonight is a fantastic occassion for the club and I hope that you enjoy being a part of it, I know I will however the match may finish.

You Are My Concord

Saturday, 15 November 2014

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 day, and to have to wait until the journey was made for the postponement to be made official was poor. I also understand that Mansfield Town announced the postponement on their official Twitter account even before they spoke to our manager, players and officials/Chairman.

The only silver lining for me at least (and actually my brother) is that I (we) can now attend and watch the lads as they take on opponents they are capable of beating and securing a place in the FA Cup 2nd round against Cambridge United, another League Two side that will be a tough test but again can be beaten.

The postponement has unsurprisingly brought the subject of artificial pitches back into the forefront of conversation, especially as it was/is the start of November and already a team that ply their trade in League 2 of the professional football spectrum have had to postpone one of their games due to a little more rain than usual. Some of you may know that recently the Football League chairmen met and voted on the idea of having artificial pitches in the pro game in this country, but what you may not know is the vote was a resounding No, at least for now. I understand the reasoning as there are still uncertainties about the pitches and their ability to seemingly induce player injury, and It’ll take more than one fixture being called off for that to change, but I think its clear more investment and research needs to be focussed on this option going forward.

But for now, we must look at the league, and todays opponents! Good luck lads!

You Are My Concord!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

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 began to hit, Monday night would see the draw take place live on BBC 2, and our little club would have national, if not worldwide exposure via the BBC. So what better way to watch the draw than to be with the players, fans & committee at the club? The Chairman put the wheels in motion, and Monday evening the Aspect Arena bar filled with people involved with the club ready and waiting for our big moment.

The suspense didn’t last long though, as we were the second ball drawn on the night, getting an away tie against League 2 side Mansfield Town. After the draw was made though, that’s when things got really interesting. Social Networking site Twitter became awash with our fans talking about the draw, and fans from all over the place asking just who the hell we were (some colourful language may have been used, but I’ll not replicate that here!). Those that are familiar with Twitter will know what I mean when I say that Concord Rangers were trending worldwide for a period of time, which means that our club was one of the most popular topics being talked about in the world on that social network!

So on we go, our focus though must be on the league game today before we begin to worry about the big one next week. We can’t lose sight of the bread and butter stuff, we need to still establish ourselves in the Conference South before we get any high hopes of winning the FA Cup! Even so, it is a great feeling and it’s excellent to be a part of the club right now.

You Are My Concord!

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