I have been chasing our ever-popular Club captain Dan Webb to write a blog giving his views on the season so far. I must thank him for making the effort and I think you will agree it is a very good read and he has been very honest in accepting criticism of the team’s performances and giving good insight in to what happens behind the scenes. He also shows a good sense of humour and we may now have a rival for Brett’s blog. Roy.
So after the Leiston game was called off Burkey gave us our first night off for a long time. I assume he did this so I could write this article for Roy but more likely so those who were injured could recover and go and see the physio… including our injured physio! Get well soon Sam.
If I could sum up this season in one word, it would be… Mediocre. We’ve struggled with several injuries and player turnaround hasn’t been great but unfortunately that’s the nature of non-league and players come and go. Some even come back again… they always come back!
Some would say it all started to go downhill when I found myself wearing number 9 against Welwyn Garden City in the Southern League Cup game. That unsurprisingly lasted just eight minutes, by which time we were 2-0 down and I went back to centre-half where I belong… letting in a further 3 goals. Bad times!
From then on, we picked up points here and there in the league but never really got going – penalty misses didn’t help but we’ll come on to them later. We were unlucky on our big day out at Maidstone (FA Cup) and you could say the same against Bedfont Sports in the FA Trophy replay.
It was no coincidence that the return of Belly (Ben Walster) and Camel (Lewis Rolfe) brought us a change in form and a couple of clean sheets. Although sometimes it seems they’re competing for most cards received, their hearts are in it and more often than not they will give us a performance.
All that aside, you have to ask how a team which has convincingly beaten Stourbridge away, Peterborough Sports away and Bromsgrove Sporting away… can only be 17th in the league. On our day, we can beat anybody in that league but this year, we just haven’t clicked enough as a team and the inconsistency reflects our league position.
I can imagine that as a supporter you never know which Hitchin side will turn up, particularly this season.
The management make us work in training and we’re given everything we need in terms of instruction and tactics on match days, but they can only do so much. As players we must take that on board and take responsibility for being given the shirt. I’m not singling out any players because it’s all of us, I’ve made several mistakes that I was either told not to do or was warned about before the game but yet still it happened. i.e. don’t get bullied by the Rushall Olympic striker.
The lads prepare themselves physically for every game but if the right mindset and willingness to put those instructions into practice isn’t there, then as we’ve found many times this year, you are chasing games from the start and valuable points are lost.
Talking of mindset, let’s talk about Penalties.
It’s an unbelievable record isn’t it, maybe we used up all our luck with penalties last year when MJ saved so many.
Before the Bromsgrove game we all wondered who should take the next penalty? We left that to Burkey to decide but only three players had a 100% record I believe – Layne, Jake & Harry Draper. Harry, as you know, currently only has one working leg. That said, I’d still fancy him scoring over the likes of Greeny, LB or myself! Anyway Burkey chose Layne and he made it two out of two.
I’ve heard people ask where we’d be if we scored them all but who knows. I can’t give you one reason for why so many have not hit the back of the net, some were badly taken, others were good saves but I think now it’s about mentality. I’d rather not discuss it in too much detail, just in case some of the lads learn how to read and it gets into their heads.
I thought I’d give you some exclusive insights to a few of the players…
After MJ moved on in the summer, it was always going to be difficult to replace him. But we knew Chaz was more than capable of doing so and I think he’s justified that with his performances, making many vital saves often keeping us in the game. Chaz is a true professional and probably the nicest bloke in the squad, you cannot dislike Chaz!
At the beginning of the season, he was travelling more than 2 hours just to get to training! He now travels from Wycombe, which is still some trek considering the goalkeepers just stretch in the corner while Parks and Digger make the rest of us run until we’re sick.
My mate Josh (Egghead), he’s been at the club longer than I have I think, based on more than one spell though, as he abandoned us for St. Neots one year. Like I said, they always come back! On a serious note, he’s a solid part of the squad, can always be relied on for a performance and can easily slot into most positions.
He’s on the player’s committee with myself and Greeny. Josh pretty much runs it himself to be fair but he’s a school teacher, so pretending he’s in charge comes naturally to him. He’s brilliant at issuing and collecting all the fines, checking players have the correct kit and making sure they have clean boots at every game. He’s made us a fortune! Though he’s getting married this year and needs a hip replacement, so I think I might have to audit the books come end of April.
LB, or “LBiniho” as he’s ironically called in the dressing room. Another good lad who joined us this season, stepping up from Baldock Town and in my opinion he has earned and secured his place in the centre of midfield. He’s a grafter, he’ll run all day and throw himself into any challenge which is exactly the type of player we love to have on the pitch.
Off the pitch he’s a good laugh, loves to sing and very confidently considers himself to be a bit of a ladies man, which again is ironic.
Just this week we had training scheduled for Monday night, but LB was nowhere to be seen. Assuming he was just in McDonalds again chatting up girls, one of the lads messaged him and it turns out he was in fact at home, in the bath! Josh has now updated the fines list to include “forgetting to go to training”.
That’ll do for now but on behalf of all the players, I’d like to thank you for your loyal support this season so far and for the remaining games to come. Hopefully we can put in some performances for you and have a consistent finish to the season.