I REMEMBER ALL THE EARLY DAYS!

From Steve, 1st Team Manager

“I REMEMBER ALL THE EARLY DAYS TRYING TO THINK OF THE RIGHT THINGS TO SAY I DIDN’T WANT YOU TO THINK THAT I WAS LIKE THE REST WHO THINK THEY OWN YOU JUST BECAUSE YOU’VE LAID WITH THEM IT DIDN’T MATTER, REALLY DIDN’T MATTER OH, IT DIDN’T MATTER, NOW WE ARE TOGETHER

THERE ARE CRYSTAL HEARTS JUST WAITING TO BE SMASHED AND OUT TO BREAK THEM ARE THE ONES WHO NEVER LAST TOO SOON TODAY AND GONE TOMORROW AND TAKING WITH THEM JUST ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE OF YOU

THERE ARE THOSE WHO THINK IT’S SMART THINKING THAT THEY’VE STOLE YOUR LOVE AND BROKE YOUR HEART TOO MUCH TOO SOON AND GONE TOMORROW WELL MY LOVE DOESN’T NEED TO LEND OR STEAL OR BORROW.”

(‘It Didn’t Matter’ by the Style Council).

Hi Readers, OK, no report last week (when we lost) and a report this week (when we won). OK, I know I am pretty shallow person, stop going on about it! 😊 OK, I will roll the two reports into this report.

Maybe it just shows how weird I am, but I enjoyed last weeks’ 2-0 defeat to Atherton Town more than this weeks’ 7-4 [yes, 7-4] win over Radcliffe Juniors. Last week was an enthralling game between two decent teams, whereas this week was two poor teams trying to outdo each other in who could defend the worst. For me, it is all about progress, development and learning – that should never stop. The coaches and the team learnt a lot last week against a robust, well organised and cute Atherton Town team. Today, we learnt very little. In defeat we moved forward, in victory we stepped backwards.

Last week saw us pitted against Atherton Town – mid table, but far better than their position suggests. Not the greatest football team, but an extremely well organised, disciplined, hard working and effective team. Much to admire with ATFC. They outworked us, out thought us and outsmarted us. Not by a long way, but far enough to get a deserved win. ATFC worked at a rate that we need to aspire to. They probably committed twice the number of fouls that we did, but we ended up with 3 x’s the bookings. I mean that in an entirely complementary way, to be clear. Smart players. The ATFC #9 was a real star: I’m not sure whether I enjoyed watching him play or listen to him talk! A clever player who made every use of his talent, and a person who was the real referee of the game. He spent every moment of the game trying to agitate his opponents; trying to influence the referee or trying to wind up the Uppermill bench. If only we could find a player like him!

ATFC were superbly coached, and it showed in a disciplined and committed display. No complaints with the 2-0 result. What did we learn? Play with more intensity – on and off the ball. Play the referee – don’t answer back; don’t shout and bawl like kids. Stick to what you are good at, and keep doing it. Retain possession and put the ball in sensible areas of the pitch that will hurt the opposition.

Today’s game: we raced into a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes (and that was uber flattering to us); 3-2 after 24 minutes; 4-2 after 30 minutes; 4-4 at half time. It was pub team football from both teams. I hold myself responsible for that shambles. Half time required calm, not aggression. Instructions were duly carried out and we won the second half 3-0 (7-4 win at FT). An ugly match, and very little to crow about. That said, we had 3 stand out performers: Ben Ford, Jack Churchill and Flynn Bradley. The 3 of them were creative, hard working, unselfish, and displayed an exemplary attitude. It was also great to have Sam Cunliffe and Tommy Bunn back on the pitch, after long injuries. Picking out the bones from today, one good and one bad aspect. In terms of good (apart from the individual efforts of Ben, Jack and Flynn) I was impressed with the attitude and the preparation pre-game. Last week, we let ourselves down badly. Attitude, in my view, was disrespectful and immature. This week, we were fully attentive and maybe that helped us into a 3-0 lead(?). In terms of bad, how many times do I have to remind players of things before I conclude that some players are not good enough for what we are asking of them. I will never ask a player to do something he is not capable of – that would be grossly unfair. But, if a player needs constant reminding of the basics, we cannot move on. Not sure how I/we solve that.

I felt for the Radcliffe manager today. He seems a really good guy. He had that ‘why do I bother’ look about him. Keep going mate: if we stop, it all stops.

As an aside, we spent the majority of Tuesday’s training session on throw ins. Boring? Yes. Indulgent? Yes. But, we were far better today at retaining possession, so maybe it was worth it.

As a final comment, I quoted Carlo Ancelotti today: ‘players don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.’ I care a lot (probably too much) and care more than I know (care more than the football knowledge I actually have). We cannot see today as acceptable: we prepared well, but we executed badly. Anyway, we move on. Thanks for reading. (A like or a comment wouldn’t go amiss).

Steve

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