One of the most difficult things for our Manager Jan Lewicki and his assistant Marky Thompson to deal with, apart from our ridiculous, unpredictable and probably insane Chairmon, is consistency of team selection. In an ideal world every player would train and play every week.
At our level, things like shift work, family commitments, tattoos and mates’ stag do’s all get in the way of picking a consistent eleven week in week out. These things have a bigger effect that even injuries do most of the time. In recent weeks we’ve went on a bit of a bad run and having to chop and change teams while trying to let some new players bed in.
Trying to stay true to the club’s ideal of playing players who have trained is difficult. Our record goalscorer and future West Bromwich Albion striker, Richie McQuade, often works miles from home in digs or long shifts that mean not getting home in time to train. Our Aston Villa supporting right back Rab Martin (who’s actually bostin and never mentions 1982), works shifts that mean he can never train or play midweek. Both are capable of making a contribution to the team that tends to outweigh their inability to train. It’s a difficult job for Jan and Marky to keep all the players happy but it’s one they do very well.
Over recent weeks while the Chairmon was on a tour of The Hawthorns, the team were chucking away a 3-0 lead to the division’s bottom club, Hardgate. The next week, while playing well, a lack of creativity in the last third saw us crash to a 2-0 defeat against Westwood who are up there with us battling for promotion or the title itself. Then came two games against teams called “Villa”…. I dow wannna talk abarrrit!
It was very important we turn things around and our management team demanded a full turn out at training for everyone who was able to – work or family being the only reasons accepted for not making it. At the moment we are training in Castlemilk High School and using the gym there to keep us fit over the winter. Training was circuits and basketball this week in preparation for what was a must win game.
Come Saturday, Jan and Mark had the boys motivated to make amends for the last game against Hardgate – the biggest motivation being our team night out. There was no way, Jan explained, that we’d be going out to celebrate the way we should at Christmas without a victory. One nil would have been fine but the boys went out and produced a record breaking 11-0 win in awful conditions. (YES THAT’s 11-0!)
Even when we are shit, there’s one thing The Tally have always done better than anyone else in the world of football and that’s party. Our nights out are legendary and include such incidents as losing the team strips on the way back from Stirling after a friendly against Cambusbarron Rovers.
I am not sure where the rest went after Armstrong’s along the road decided we’d had enough (but bizarrely didn’t get us to leave – guess we were just too happy and friendly for a Glasgow pub). Myself and our guest The Tipton Town Chairmon Mr Danks, finished the evening putting the world to rights with a quiet drink and wondering just how it was that such a collection of crackpots had got together to play football in a park.
It was extremely flattering that our friend from a club which plays at a much higher standard than we do had so much praise for our management team and players and also that our players demonstrated their love for The Black Country – where virtually none of them have been – to him.
We’re on a break until the 11th of January now with perhaps one friendly in between times and a few training sessions. When we come back Jan and Marky will be focused on keeping spirits up and pushing us on to try and finish as high up the table as we can. It’s the kind of team spirit we had on Saturday both on the park and in the pubs that’s going to get us over the line.
Til the next Tale from the Tally……