Ladies and gentleman, welcome to #FordFocus! Club: Guildford City. Mission: Reach the Football League. Method: “Searching the Stats!” We are in the September of Season Three, and we have won the league in both of the first two seasons. Today, six games into the new season, we sit top of the Ryman Premier with pretty much the same eleven that took the field in my first ever match. Oh, and if you can name the song and artist in the title, I’ll send you a free copy of “Johnny Cooper, Championship Manager” via email – comment below!
My methods are finally making sense, the entire philosophy of a club from top to bottom. I am very, very confident that we will be promoted again this season and that I am laying down a structure that means we can continue to grow. We are stable, we are solid and we are heading in the right direction.
Now watch me go and lose the first game of today’s update – a match away at Tonbridge!
Six games is a little too early to judge the new signings, so I shan’t. Only the lad who joined us on loan, Brucey, is getting a regular game at this stage but that is fine. We are likely to need everyone this season as we only have a squad of nineteen players, to be honest one or two more than I would like to have.
We didn’t need to change anything for the trip, the boys were in good shape and playing well. We looked to continue that form in the thirteenth minute, Wardy slipping the ball to Ossie with his back to goal. He span and shot, but the ball hit the post. He got it right later, scoring from another short corner, the ball pinging around left, right and centre before Ossie stabbed it home. The boy is a natural goal scorer, despite his stats. Seven minutes before half time he got another, cutting in side and finishing with his weaker left foot. On the stroke of the break they got one back, their lad out jumping Nicky and heading past Browny. That slackness led to a kicking and they responded very well, Brucey making it 3-1 within a minute of the restart. We were moving the ball now, confidence flowing. A cracking move led to Reecey pulling his left foot back and firing it like an arrow past their ‘keeper. 4-1! Absolute quality, god we can be good. By Ryman Premier standards that is! We still led Canvey Island by a point, those boys were still unbeaten. We had won the last five, the last four of which by the 4-1 margin.
It’s not everyday you get a call from an Italian legend. Roberto Donadoni, manager at Reading, was on the phone to me moaning about Southy not getting any game time in goal. I politely told him to keep his nose out. We were off to Bognor at the weekend, the chairman turned down my request to stay at Butlins on the Friday night. Bognor were down in tenth and I wondered whether it would be a fifth 4-1 win in a row? I noticed they had a lad that I played cricket against regularly up front for them, Ollie Pearce. They may have won the cricket league that year, but I’m going to win the football league.
The movement for first goal was incredibly, the front three moving all over the place, both lateral midfielders taking defenders away and Josh Blackburn stepping into the space and shooting us ahead. Another patient move saw Eddie have his shot saved but Reecey was there to tap in the rebound. Before half time we had a short corner, worked it to Reecey who chipped it up to the back post. Crispy met it with a firm header, 3-0! Ollie Pearce pulled one back just before the whistle but Ossie made it 4-1 straight from kick off. Five goals in the first half, and it was 4-1 again! Early in the second half Browny had a mare, dropping a simple cross and it was followed up. Again, we went up the other end and scored immediately, Wardy! Ten minutes later Big D played a ball in behind them and Ossie set off in chase. He drew the ‘keeper out, left the defender on his behind and slid it home. 6-2! The goals came to an end there, and our run of 4-1’s had come to an end, but I didn’t mind a 6-2.
The FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round draw was very kind to us, giving us a home game against Merstham. It’s going to be at the end of the month, so you’ll read about it today. I would love to get the to First Round Proper. Henners put in a transfer request as he hasn’t been getting any time out on the grass. Reluctantly I agreed, he is a good lad and he deserves to be playing. It’ll cost someone £2k though. Or a sensible loan deal. Shepton Mallet offered us the latter and I accepted – Henners will go and get a month under his belt.
Saturday saw Hendon come down to the Spectrum. No Henners meant we were down on subs again, but we’re used to that at Guildford. Why have more players than you need? With us being in stunning form and everyone hitting their KPI’s I kept the team unchanged. My two main KPI issues that I was monitoring was Wardy’s passing totals and completion rates and Nicky Schroder’s passing totals. If they didn’t step it up today I planned to have a chat.
Reecey nearly put us ahead after eleven minutes. He ran on to a defence splitting pass from Eddie and his first time, outside of the boot effort with his trusty left peg clipped the bar and went over. It was the big lad who did get the opener though, this time putting his left peg through the ball over the top from Blakey. Half time came and went and we started the second half in control. Another lovely build-up released Ossie. He shot, the ‘keeper saved and Eddie followed up to squeeze it home from the angle. My word, our third was a thing of actual beauty. We patiently kept moving the ball between the lines, then Joshy played the perfect pass out wide to Eddie who had drifted off his man. He nipped it inside to Ossie who drew two men in, cut back and then just rolled it home with his left foot. Incredible, a goal that would grace a World Cup let alone the Ryman Prem. I parked the bus after that goal, I wanted a clean sheet and got it. 3-0 City, a big win against the team that started the day in fifth.
We had a quick turnaround for the game with Corinthian Casuals. I like Corinthian Casuals, up until last season I was playing for Corinthian Guildford on a Sunday, created with the same Corinthian spirit. I used to get fined double if I got booked for dissent. It could be expensive. Anyway, lovely chaps as they might be and all that, they are 20th so I was expecting to batter them.
Here are the highlights of the match. Yep, that’s not a typo. None. Not one! 0-0 without a single thing to tell you. Brilliant! I went ballistic with them after the game and I hope we play better in the cup. Still top though, still top.
Ah, the FA Cup. Biggest regret of my playing time was never playing in the greatest competition in the world. I’d have loved to have had just a minute on the pitch in a qualifying round. Therefore the match against Merstham is massive to me. We have history in the cup, the furthest we’ve been was the 2nd Round Proper as an amateur side back in the day. Despite us failing to break Corinthian’s spirit I named the same side again. I couldn’t believe we’d fail to score two games running.
It took as a while to create anything and, in fact, it needed a wayward pass from their right back to put Ossie through. He took it calmly and we led. Joshy was starting to pull the strings now, and fed Eddie who made it 2-0. Any chance of them coming back died in the second half when they went down to ten men. 560 people saw us move into the next round. That’s five times our usual gate, where did they all come from?
The final game in September was a trip to Leiston. Wardy was out with a dead leg so it meant a first start for Tommy Smith, signed using my recruitment methods. We went one behind to a thunderous strike from the edge of the area after 20. We picked ourselves up quickly, Smithy floating one to the far post, Joshy playing it back and Brucey levelling the game. When I first started this journey, Daisy hammered in six pre-season goals playing up front. Then he got injured and has hardly been a regular since. Well he stepped off the bench today to fire us ahead! It was a lovely finish, 2-1. We held on and finished the month unbeaten and top of the table. The main down side of the game was both Brucey and Smithy coming off injured. Bruce is out for 8 weeks, Tommy Smith for three months.
Let’s round up a bit of Prem, Championship and Europe. That Brendan isn’t all that deluded, his Champions sit top of the league again after six games, unbeaten. Spurs sit bottom and this fact cost the Welsh Mourinho his job, Kit Symons sacked. Speaking of Jose, he is in charge of Germany now. Great.
Zizou lost the confidence of the players at Villa Park. That just doesn’t sound right, does it? He has gone too with Villa down in 18th. Brighton lead the way at the top with Fulham and Derby in chase.
Actually, forget the Champions League update, they’ve only played a couple of games and the group stages are dull.
I think that’s it for today folks, we keep moving forwards!
Go on Guildford!