Tuesday, 28 April 2015

4 Months Down, Plenty More To Come

It's been a mixed first 4 months of the year for me in all honesty, started seeing someone, finished seeing someone, issues from that lingered on, managing a reorganisation in my department at work, starting a new job as a result of said reorganisation, and the thing that hit me the hardest, my nan passing away.

It led to me not feeling myself for some time, my head was all over the place, I wasn't me, which is something I can't stand as I know I've been like that before in a different situation many years ago. Thankfully things have started to resolve themselves on a whole. I'm enjoying life on my own again, realising quite quickly that being back in a relationship was an experiment gone very wrong. The single life had worked for me for over 3 years, I thought that maybe there was a chance I should try and change that, but it was obvious that wasn't the case!

Work wise, we've been running the new regime since the start of April, with our first pay packet due to come in next Friday. Of course that is one of the main focuses of us involved as many have received an increase in their wages because of the reorganisation, including myself! The actual job though, it's been an increase in responsibility from the get go, having to focus on the operational side of the railway really for the first time in my 15 years in the industry. Up until now it's always been customer service based work, tickets, announcements, station and staff management, then even when moving into the control room 4 years ago it was all information based. Now it's a bit more about service decisions, incident management from an operational point of view, and a load of other industry stuff that has pretty much been in the background for me as a customer service guy over the years. We've had a solid start though, even with a shit-tonne of disruption we as a department (and me as an individual as well) have come in for a lot of positive feedback from the higher ups, the ones that pay our wages, and our bosses wages.

There have been some consistent things over the past few months though, my brothers & sister never change and although they may not know it, provide support just by being there. My friends, a few key ones who are always there for me no matter what, who put up with me not wanting to talk about shit but are understanding all the same. Football, and I don't mean following the rollercoaster that is West Ham, I mean the extended family I have as a result of being a part of Concord Rangers. The guys there just keep going, and knowing that each Saturday (or Tuesday night) there's an escape from anything that may be dragging you down just helps things move along.

When I was told about my nan passing away, the easiest thing for me to do was try to carry on that day as normal as I could. It was a Saturday, and by going to football and going through the rituals of putting out the flags, sorting out the programmes etc and calling the referee a c**t mid game helped me process it, as well as being around the people I can rely on to take the piss out of me and each other through that 90 odd minutes. As time has gone on I've handled it better, and a couple of months down the line, yeah it still gets me down, but you go on with life and hold on to the good memories.

Life is what you make it, the decisions you make, the things you do etc. There's a million different quotes and clich├ęs that could sum up everything, but as far as I'm concerned right now, it's all about the people that are in your life and the relationships & bonds you form with them. Whether they are blood, friends, family, colleagues, or just acquaintances, and whether they actively help or do so without even knowing it, that's what shapes your life. Surround yourself with the right people, and you'll be on the right track going forward, at least that's how I feel.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Hayes & Yeading, Vanarama South, 180415

Here we are, approaching the end of the 2014/15 Vanarama Conference South season, and I think we can all agree that it’s been an eventful one for all involved with Concord Rangers! There is still the possibility that the season could extend with the playoffs, but we’re relying on other results going our way which is never an easy spot to be in.

After todays game our focus switches to the Essex Senior Cup Final vs Billericay on Monday evening, which gets under way at 7:45 at the Dagenham & Redbridge ground. After winning this competition last year, retaining it this season was one of the objectives set by Danny Cowley. It’s not been easy, grafting our way through more than our fair share of penalty shootouts, but the lads have worked their backsides off and fully deserve to be in that final once again. It’s a huge old trophy too, so it’ll be good to get that back at the Aspect Arena for another year.

Our league form this season speaks for itself, with the recent 13 game unbeaten streak highlighting how far the team have come and how well they’ve settled into playing football at this level. With a top 10 finish secured for the second straight year, and challenging for the playoffs right up until the final week or so of the season, I don’t think there is anyone who can say that Concord Rangers don’t belong here!

The cup competitions have also provided the club with more than enough excitement, and that’s not taking the Essex Senior Cup into account. This seasons achievement in reaching the First Round proper of the FA Cup, and earning a replay at home to Mansfield Town, was something truly special for everyone involved. Our name being read out live on the BBC when the First Round Draw was made was an incredible feeling, seeing little Concord Rangers trending worldwide on Twitter just added to it! The support shown by the Islanders and Essex in general was fantastic during the whole period. We also can’t forget about the FA Trophy run, reaching the Second Round for the first time was another impressive milestone.

There’s been plenty of great moments since we kicked off this season against Bath City last August, every year this rollercoaster ride we call supporting Concord Rangers just seems to get more and more exciting. I wouldn’t trade this for the world, and feel privileged to be a part of it, as a fan, committee member, programme editor, and member of the Beachboys family. Thank you for being a part of it as well, thank you for supporting and being a part of this club, thank you for reading these articles I put out each week, thank you for the feedback (good or bad), and I look forward to seeing you all back here for more next season in the Vanarama “National League South”.

#YAMC

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