Issue Stuck in the middle with them

As told by Ron Beaumont

I know it’s hard to believe, but we’re not all obsessed. Personally a summer without football is, unlike many clubs, easily managed. But time passes and the prospect of a new season is finally stirring the brain cells if not yet quickening the pulse.

The thing is, unless you keep up to date with the almost daily off-pitch activity – often more rumour than truth – and can spare the time and cash for pre-season friendlies – neither of which I do – then the opening game can come as something of a shock to the system.

There are changes every season and this is certainly no exception. Some big money players have moved on, possibly for bigger money but no great loss there. Some big hearted players have been lured elsewhere, a cause for some sadness but in a short career life you wish them well. Some have stayed but don’t know how long they will be around. (Being a City supporter is not a week-to-week option so I hope that being a City player is not seen in that way for too long.) So that leaves the committed, and gestures such as accepting reduced terms whilst offering full effort is something to be admired and be grateful for.

Then there’s the new-comers. Eagerness to impress should come as standard. A lack of experience can be more than compensated by enthusiasm and a willingness to learn, (the opposite was true for too many last season), and putting names and numbers to new faces is all part of the new season’s fun.

The chant of “Who are yer?” may not exactly resound around V.P. in the coming weeks but the question will certainly be asked about our own team. The new kit will add to the confusion but hopefully it will put an end to the pathetic and pigmentally-challenged “Come on you Yellows!” (“Come on you Clarets!” has other connotations for those of us suffering from the taunts of neighbours just over the border, so we’ll see what replaces it.)

So with new signing Michael Flynn joining this week we’re all set then? The hope is that we have a midfield balance of muscle, mobility, motivation and magic. Sometimes you get most of these in one player but, at this level especially, these qualities have to be spread around more.

I find it easier to come to terms with teams that beat us by out-playing us than watching teams out-muscle us, out number us or plainly out-desiring us. This has to be the worst memory of last season and last season is where those failings should remain.

We have the qualities we need in our new-season’s squad albeit thinly stretched. I may be in a minority but I think Lee Bullock can once again be the player he was when he first came and go a long way to filling a somewhat soft centre. The question is does Lee Bullock believe he can be that player? Self-belief is critical.

I think Joe Colbeck has an “engine” as good as any and, contract issues aside, will take fewer wrong options to become more than just an attacking force, if the self-belief is there with him.

New signings will surely have the motivation that the ground, crowd and level of football must inspire in them. So that leaves the magic!

Last season we borrowed it mainly in the shape of Dean Furman and the incisiveness of Nicky Law, both magical on their day and well on the way to being the players we need. Now they are well on their way full stop.

Perhaps the right captain can make man management on the pitch provide a kind of magic that we have lacked. The who and how of this position is perhaps more important than the number on the shirt and will only become clear once the real games start. If it goes well then the team clicks to benefit all. If not the harsh realities of last season’s slump may return to haunt us.

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right will, hopefully this season, be restricted to the blokes I sit with.