The View from the Bar
At last! The football season’s back, so we can all stop fretting about the country going to pot and the impending climate disaster and start enjoying life again. Or being grumpy for different reasons, at the very least.
I didn’t get to see much of our pre-season action, but there was a definite gloom palpable around the place when it was confirmed that John McKie had decided to try his luck with Hamble this year. John’s been a fantastic player – and all-round clubman – at Westwood over the past few years and I’d say we owe him a massive debt of thanks, not least for the way he stepped into the managerial hot-seat for the second half of last season and managed to help turn our form around and keep us in the Prem. It’s easy to forget how much of a lost cause things looked at the turn of the year. Hamble are due to visit Westwood on October 5th, and I’m sure the Westwood faithful can be relied upon to give him a warm welcome on his return (not least the chaps from Country Corner, who rarely miss an opportunity to pass on their best wishes…)
But it’s a new era here, and it’s not off to a bad start either. To my shame, I must admit I didn’t hold out much hope for our trip to Portchester on Wednesday evening (don’t think we’ve ever picked up so much as a point there before), and my first Facebook check on our progress didn’t boost the optimism levels when I saw we’d fallen behind in the fourth minute. But hope springs eternal and Dave’s updates retained a relentlessly positive tone. I was pretty much doing cartwheels when news came through Of Callum Chase’s equaliser (a draw at Portchester would be a great result, after all) so I’ll leave it to your imagination what I was like when news filtered through of Ji Nash’s late winner (although I should apologise to anyone passing by my house who may have been startled by the whooping around 9.15pm). Not a bad start for Steve Rutter, all in all, and I’ll take this opportunity to welcome him back to the club and wish him all the best for his time here.
Back to the weather, if you’re reading this today then the game has obviously survived the near-apocalyptic winds being forecast and, thankfully, Lymington have made it over in spite of the sometimes tardy ferry services. It would be remiss of me to wonder if they may be feeling a little green after the crossing, of course. In more conciliatory tones, I was gutted to hear about the vandalism Lymington have recently suffered at their Southampton Road ground. It’s hard enough work keeping our clubs going at this level without having to deal with rubbish like that.
Speaking of Portchester, I randomly bumped into their manager Mick Caitlin at a Plastic Mermaids show in Portsmouth back in May. A thoroughly nice chap (with excellent taste in music, I might add), and he had plenty of good things to say about Cowes, not least an appreciation of the performance in the 3-3 draw (and the 199 crowd who witnessed it) that ultimately assured our Premier Division survival towards the end of last season. I kinda hope they do okay this year (although I wouldn’t be grumbling if we managed to secure a first ever double over them).
I can’t believe I’ve made it this far down the page without any reference to WEMBLEY!!! Yes, of course, the famous road starts here. Quite how far down that road we’ll get remains to be seen, but it would be nice to have a bit of a stroll down it, I must say. The winners today will have a trip to either Hellenic League Binfield or Wessex One side U.S. Portsmouth in the next round in a fortnight’s time. I’m sure the best wishes of all involved today will go with whoever it is taking on that challenge.
So yes, it’s good to be back. Let the fun commence… Enjoy the game.