So we started this project in the middle of June. To put things in perspective, we had no players. We recruited quickly and circumstances meant that players would be coming here for reasons other than money. At this level that makes it very tough. But they know we would give them good coaching and try to give them the tools to make them the best they can be. We had to relabel the club. Know what we are and where we are. Were a pathway club. A club where we have a great platform to showcase what you can do. As it transpired loads of young guys turned up and we had to cut that number down quickly which of course is never nice.
By the time we showed up with a squad to play well established Marlow we had been together a few weeks and never played as a team. The game proved we had chosen a really good hungry bunch of young men as they took the lead quickly followed by a quick reminder that younger inexperienced lads easily switch off as they conceded at the other end in that classic window of risk.
Sky Sports came to play us a real show of support and we mixed it with a cardio vascular work out for players not playing to try and create some fatigue although the Sky lads weren’t convinced we worked them hard enough. Actually the Sky Sports lads were excellent. Of course there was a difference in overall fitness but they didn’t disgrace themselves one bit and we also managed to get the lads on the pitch for only their second game ever.
Hendon were next up and as we walked in with the mixed footballs and casual clothes as we await delivery of our new training and coaches kit, Hendon looked every bit the part. They have a number of staff and clearly everything is established and in place there. But I believe in these young players. I’m confident they will be OK and can win games and step up. I was delighted with the way they went about their business against a proper good outfit in Hendon.
This was a real test of what is to come and an example of why the fans need to really support these young guys because they proved they can not only defend stoutly in games but create countless chances and caused them a lot of problems. In the second half we did concede more possession and the changes perhaps showed greater strength in depth for Hendon. But the fact that we had carved out several decent chances and maybe should have had a penalty it was a really good run out again as we continue with the learning.
This was Hendon’s 4th competitive friendly. Marlow had already had 4 friendlies. This was the second ‘competitive’ game of our lives, for a young team. All things considered then, it makes for an exciting future. We’ve got good balance, strong defenders, an excellent goal keeper, pace and power and players that can terrify defenders. 5 weeks ago we didn’t even have a football!
If your local, please come and watch us!
Read Tony's full blog here.