Posts Tagged ‘tranmere’

Game 15 – Tranmere

10 February, 2009

img_1543_webThe curse of the Manager of the Month award hit home tonight and there were several other omens along the way which heralded our reversal of fortune.   There were some blessings of course, like the fact that the groundsman did a fantastic job in getting the pitch fit for the game.  I really thought the cold weather would have been the main enemy but it seems the heavy rain was doing its best to see us off after other recent cancellations.  Earlier in the day the flood water outside the ground indicated the scale of the potential problem.  Thank heavens for cricket we all say!  The appearance of Essex Cricket Club’s water extractor was an inspired move and cleared any doubt that the match would be played.

img_1552_webClearly the fans were unsure as our lowest home attendance showed.  It was lonely on the approach to the stadium along Axial and United Way and, apart from that bright oasis of light that is Cuckoo Farm, there was no other indication of any sporting activity in the area tonight.     Another omen of things to come was the appearance of an almost full moon over the East Stand.  As it turns out that the was the only round object I was happy to see between a pair of sticks all evening.  It seemed as though the moon was casting its own influence on play while it moved through the same half of the pitch that Colchester were attacking in both halves.  It crossed the halfway line during the interval!  Spooky!

img_1553_webAny doubts about the playing surface were left to the playing staff who never seemed comfortable on a pitch that was perhaps a little hard under foot and there was a reluctance to get really stuck in.  I have to admit that Tranmere were probably on balance the better team on the night but it was a fairly unspectacular match.  Once again I applaud the travelling support (and I know we have similar stalwarts in CUSA) some of whom travelled into the deep south for an evening match in darkest February.  One thing I DO NOT applaud is the latest tendency for the club to allow certain sponsors the ‘privilege’ of nominating their ‘man of the match’ award.  Tonight we were treated to two such nominations from companies who are clearly desperate to get their own names heard in front of such a small gathering.  In fact ‘Who were they?’  They couldn’t even agree on their choices for man of the match so it’s all meaningless really.  Why don’t we have an announcement of MY man of the match at each game?

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Hard Times

3 January, 2009

img_0418_frostWhat the Dickens is going on?  Last week we had a Tale of Two Penalties and this week, a little bit of cold weather and a football match is called off.  Tranmere and their fans have traveled some distance for nothing, although to be fair when I got up this morning and saw that the temperature had dropped to -8 degrees centigrade it was a fair bet that there would be casualties in the fixture list.   It’s unfair to blame anyone in particular though.  Decisions have to be made through consultation between ground staff, match officials and the two clubs involved, not to mention the rules set in place by the authorities.

Actually today has served to illustrate just how little control anyone has over the success of a football club.  What do I mean by success?  It used to be demonstrated by league and table position.  Nowadays it seems to be measured in terms of financial standing and in these days of the so-called credit crunch I should imagine several clubs are skating on thin ice.  It feels like we could be heading into an era of Dickensian depression.

Certainly most of us had Great Expectations at the start of the season, but at times the stadium has seemed nothing more than a Bleak House.  There have been some notable performances such as the 5-0 drubbing of Carlisle, but in the main we are all guilty of holding out our arms and asking for more.  We really need the magic of David Copperfield to get us back into the Championship at the first attempt.

We might have the Artful Dodger in the number 11 shirt, but any combination up front might be regarded as Dombey and Son, and what we really need is for the man between the sticks to act like Scrooge and keep a lot more clean sheets.  We’ve got Tiny Tim and Little Dizzet  plugging away in midfield but we need more Phiz.  Last season we had The Mystery of Edward Sheringham, and this year it feels more like The Old Curiosity Shop with a different line-up each week, players coming and going on loan, getting injured, and the occasional stretches with Oz.

Oh well, I’m off to Dingley Dell for a spot of cricket.

Hard Times indeed!

Rollercoaster

26 September, 2008

A fairly obvious headline for the Tranmere game.  4-1 up with 16 minutes to go and it’s a white knuckle ride to the end as they pull two back and we drag ourselves off the pitch with a 4-3 victory and another away win under our belts.  It’s very much like the home game against Derby in our first Championship season.  On that occasion we left it until the last 10 minutes before we let them claw two back for the same scoreline.  Now let’s look for some other omens in this.  That was on the 26th of the month (August 2006) and this is 26th.  At that point we were in the bottom regions of the table with no points and only Leeds and Sunderland below us.  Sunderland went on to win the the title and we had our best ever finishing position in history.  One more thing – a few days earlier in the previous game we had lost rather embarassingly to MK Dons (in the League Cup).

Anything else of significance in that game two years ago?  Yes, the win hauled us out of the bottom three above Hull City.  What happened to them?  Oh yes, they stole two of our best players at the end of the campaign and got promoted to the Premiership next time around.

Going back another year to the promotion season in League One and we had a similar start, table position, points total and mountain to climb.  The 8th league game started the ride to the top.

So maybe this is the turning point we have been waiting for.  A bit later than we would have liked, but a step in the right direction nonetheless.  Let’s not get carried away either.  It’s just one game under a caretaker manager.  The players, for an hour at least, were playing to impress whoever might be waiting in the wings to take centre stage at Cuckoo Farm.

Maybe Kit’s the one to take us onwards and upwards.  Who knows?  It’s far too soon to make those judgements and one good result doesn’t mean that much on its own.  Consistency over the rest of the season is what we want and it’s the players we are relying on most of all to supply that.