“The form book says we’ve lost once this year. Not the prettiest football at times, but in the main, it’s been enough to get points”
Roger Slater returns to answer questions on his team Wealdstone FC, as TT build up to Saturday’s big match at Plainmoor:
Hi Roger, TUFC ran out comfortable winners at Grosvenor Vale earlier in the season – what are your memories of that game?
You tore us a new one – from my perspective we didn’t turn up and one or two of the players looked a bit shell-shocked after a fast start..
How’s your recent form been heading into the match at Plainmoor?
The form book says we’ve lost once this year. Not the prettiest football at times, but in the main, it’s been enough to get points. We (as for a number of years) seem better away from home as home sides (perhaps except us) like to ‘play’. We’ll take some pressure and exploit that, and if given the chance can put a collective foot on the gas… At Weston on the Tuesday after they’d beaten you, we took the lead – they could have equalised, we were a bit fortunate with the second but again they could have scored, then for a short period we ran the game entirely…
What’s been your highlights from the season so far?
There have been some good performances and some good trips. We have to be pleased with beating Woking home and away, Welling away we should have won, but there have also been a few battles where under pressure we have coped well – Bath away a recent example and that could well have been three points rather than one. Bath is also the best trip of the year in terms of the city, the pubs, the Electric Bear and it’s a good ground to watch at – we had a bloody awful record there for years but more recently have done quite well, so it makes for a good day!
Which Stones players should we be looking out for on Saturday and why?
Similar to my answer last time. There are some decent young players in the side who can all make a difference on their day, but it won’t be about individuals, it’ll be a team performance on the day. The squad is a bit thin now with injuries, and a few of the lads have been suffering illness recently too, but their spirit is to go out and battle whatever…more so now than when you visited the Vale…
You sit just below the play-off positions, do you think promotion is a possibility and could the club adjust to the National League?
I don’t think it’s a great league, so there are probably three or four clubs that would like to think the last couple of play-off places are there for the taking – Concord would be in the slot without the points deduction, Braintree would be better placed without the money deduction! (long may it continue….). We’ll have a chance until it’s sealed or mathematically impossible. Then we’ll look to perform perhaps three times on the road (hopefully once at Bath) and nick the promotion slot. Can we handle the National League, No of course not, but we’d give it a bloody good shot, though it’s a different league from the one we won in the 1984-85 season….
Will you bring many down to Plainmoor this weekend, and what’s your favourite terrace chants?
You publish this on Thursday don’t you? (Friday – Dom). Well, look around the town, some of the Wealdstone weekenders will have arrived with plenty more coming on the Friday and Saturday. There may be a fair bit of blue in the pubs from Exeter, Newton Abbot, Totnes, Paignton…and that will lubricate the vocal chords.
Chants and songs dependant on how bad Friday night is and how early the session starts on Saturday. The Mighty Stones will get an airing as will ‘I Don’t Care’, and ‘If I had the wings of a Sparrow’ will probably get rolled out. Most you’ll know though, perhaps with a few regional variations…
Which opposition teams and players have impressed you most this season in the NLS?
You were decent at our place and though I haven’t watched every side, I’ve not seen anyone better – indeed, many a Stones fan was on to their Bookie after that game – quite a few of us have you guys at 10 or 12/1 for the title. We’ll take that and winning the play-offs please.
Tell us a bit more about the book you have co-written and are there more in the pipeline?
And sometimes, the dog was busy! Is the biography of Fergus Moore. Now 47 and Player-Manager of Edgware Town FC in the Spartan South Midlands league. He was released by Brentford as an 18-year-old and dropped into non-league. 29 years and around 20 clubs later, he still trains, runs plays……and bloody loves it. It really is his reason for getting up. The book charts some of the things he’s seen players and managers he’s played with and for, (Wealdstone in three separate spells, National League with Boreham Wood etc.) from park pitches to Anfield (once!).
There are so many books on the Gerrard’s, Beckham’s, Rooney’s, Messi’s – no doubt Hudson-Odoi has started on his (first) biography, but this is about all those people most of us on the terraces would love to be, playing the game they love so much. It certainly isn’t about the money as Ferg hasn’t been paid at all in many cases and not for the last few years at any rate!
It’s been very well reviewed – lots online and 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 @Amazonuk, its available online at most good bookshops, at Amazon on paper or kindle https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0956662137?pf_rd_p=330fbd82-d4fe-42e5-9c16-d4b886747c64&pf_rd_r=RCTZ9HJ5N0HAN7T0TFR9 and if you want a signed copy, www.wfcmegastore.co.uk or www.ebay.co.uk will sort you out. It’d be a great read for your holiday on the beach. (Check out our book competion below)
It’s the fourth book I’ve written (Two specifically about Wealdstone and one other, the biography of our former Manager, Gordon Bartlett, who was with the club for 22 years) and at least three are still on Amazon if you have a look…. Are there any more? I love to write, it keeps the brain active, so despite currently researching the pre-history of Wealdstone FC 1887 – 1899 and gathering match reports, details etc, I’m always one idea from the next book… (There are a few simmering in the background – maybe a football novel or the story of a late Victorian groundhopper..)
The Wealdstone Raider is your most famous fan, tell us about him?
Ha, what’s to say. That first video was probably a bit cringeworthy, but look at what he has become. Gordon (for that is his name) has done a great deal of charity work, appeared on TV, adverts, in Boxing Rings, all sorts, yet is still pretty much the same bloke that has been coming to Wealdstone for years. Watching how he handles crowds of kids when he appears at an away game – just incredible, and his patience when all he wants to do is watch the match, again, amazing.
He won’t be down this weekend I gather as he’s doing a charity boxing event with frank Bruno (at least, that’s what it said on Twitter). No doubt in a few weeks he’ll be back off to Ibiza and Majorca for another ‘Weekender PA’ but I’m 100% certain he’ll be back at The Stones when time allows…
And finally, give us a match prediction for Saturday – can the Stones cause an upset at Plainmoor?
Can they? Of course. Will they? Ask me at 5pm, though I’ll be looking for the next beer by then… Having watched you guys a few times, I actually thought your pitch may have been your biggest opponent to overcome this year, but the winter has been kind and the lodgers moved on, come Saturday at 3pm, it really will depend on which Wealdstone turns up and what atmosphere the travelling fans can create. Hold on to your kiss me quick hats, it could be a fun afternoon. – Cheers Roger looking forward to a cracking atmosphere this Saturday, always a pleasure and good luck to the Stones for the rest of the season. Dom