Roger discusses the Stones
EXPECTATIONS FOR 22-23
A point and/or a place better than last seasons finish would have satisfied most I think. 20th May have been an acceptable ‘worst case’. Most of all, we’re going to enjoy it.
GOOD START TO THE SEASON
110%. Better than most expected I think and winning at Oldham was special. The best of it is, I don’t think we are in a false position.
Two draws perhaps doesn’t look great, but every team in this league is a decent opponent, there are no pushovers. Perhaps we’re still gelling with new players in the side, but there are more positives than negatives in the matches so far.
The summer signings are settling in very well I think. There were some raised eyebrows when McAvoy went back to Fulham, Okimo signed for the Cuckoos and Tavares left for Dagenham….a week or two before the season started it looked like we’d have one at the back, one at the front and eight in midfield. At best an average pre-season in terms of results, but they don’t matter. It was shape, effort and minutes aiming to get it right for the first few games. I think we’ve achieved that with half a dozen new faces involved…..
I’ve said before, it’s about the squad and the spirit, but the core of the side is incredibly important. Cookie marshals the back line, Charles and Kretchmar in front of him are solid and work bloody hard, then there’s Brownie showing and offering the out ball. It makes the team a difficult unit to beat.
THE MANAGEMENT TEAM
The management group are great. Each has their role, Rachel on strength and fitness, Brett looking after the kit and equipment, Jase looking after the keepers, Michael as physio and Craig adding depth to the coaching. They’re all part of the team and they work incredibly hard. That takes some of the pressure off Stu and Matt, so they get to focus on the preparation, shape and tactics. More important, if the game is going away from us, they can make changes in shape or personnel to right the ship, and they’re not afraid to do it.
It’ll be pretty much what it’s been all season. The odd injury has seen people step up, but the personnel will all know what’s required and the system for the day. I’m sure there will be a tweak or two after Maidstone away on Tuesday because we’re at home, but no major surgery required!
STRENGTHS OF THE STONES
Unity, effort, passion. They understand what’s required, and they want to play the game, every one of them.
The Gulls will be allowed to visit the clubhouse before the game, it’s big enough and friendly enough and the beer is ok. For the aficionados there’s the Hop and Vine craft beer specialist in Ruislip High St. that’s decent and there will be a few friendly Stones in there as well, as there will in Moons (Weatherspoons) by Ruislip Manor Station. As for food, we have new match day catering which is proving very popular – there’s a Burger Waggon just outside the clubhouse and another in the ‘away’ end as well as a couple of other outlets for in the ground.
Tight and tactical start – you guys won’t want to give us anything. If we can keep the ball moving, I hope we’ll win it, but no freebies, there may not be more than a goal in it either way….