The View from the Bar
It was great to see Justin (and family) up here on Tuesday night, and I even managed to cajole him into a brief reprise as the host of this column. Over to you, Justin…
The view from the (Northern) bar… (with better fish and chips and a bit cheaper)
Well… that was a different Tuesday night. To say I’m not really a Westwood regular these days would be a slight understatement, but as soon as we were able to tie in hotel availability, fixtures etc., I was slightly more giddy than my 10 year old lad whose birthday is on Saturday. (So you’d better get your bums in gear lads I need another win…).!!
Despite the result, I reckon the whole show after all these years remains in good hands. Don’t know what the crowd was but the stand seemed decently crowded with a fair few on the terrace. Plenty of step 5 and 4 clubs up here get next to nothing in midweek. I was perhaps lucky to watch and be involved with the club during a golden period where we went toe to toe with the likes of North Ferriby in the FA Vase, and the Island could (if tribal loyalties had ever allowed) have fielded a combined home-bred side good enough for the Southern Premier at least. (And, as Mr Collard has previously alluded to in his notes, had a good bit of – perhaps not always so decorous – fun at the same time with a great bunch of lads…) I remember taking drunken issue with our very own Martin Ivory several times over this who suggested all the best players at the time on the Island should go to Newport as they were, to be fair, the premier side.
And still, over the years, with a side comprised of (to my knowledge) unpaid local players, we have continued in the main to punch above our weight. My local side has never really been competitive even at step 5 without a fair smattering of lads being bussed in from 30-40 miles away. All the guys currently playing and keeping our heads above water in a very strong division should be very proud. After my move north, I began to take football perhaps more seriously than I had down there and still only topped out in the West Yorkshire league for the mighty Whitkirk Wanderers. Likewise, the committee, which had and will still have a sense of purpose in driving the ship where in many cases now it’s a case of doing what the wealthy owner tells you to before he moves you 10 miles out of town to an industrial estate. The likes of Leo, Winnie, Alan, Pete, etc are gold dust. I reckon Tony Gibbs is in around his 35th year of service to the club as we both joined as relative ‘nippers’. The likes of Dave Draper, who wasn’t at the club during my time, (rookie…!!) have carried on the fabulous work and it was good to put a face to the name after so many social media posts.
So, if you get my drift, it was good to come ‘home’ for once. Much as I was brought up in North London, I’m not a millionaire (Arsenal) or someone who goes 10 miles round the North Circular outside the borough to a shiny new pointless stadium when the old one was perfectly okay (Barnet). Westwood is the place, and has been since my first game (Warsash in 1983, Sam Bradley with the winner- proving that despite a few too many pints both home and away over the years, the grey matter is still in some sort of shape…) So, Cowes it is. A proper club in every way. ‘A raaaht good saaahd oop the rerrrd’ as they say up our way – (check Hull/Bridlington lingo if you’re not sure). UTY.