Sunday, April 30, 2017

Dorking Wanderers 0 (win 5-4 on penalties) Corinthian Casuals 0

A well organised yet strangely subdued affair in front of 967 mostly neutral supporters.

Chris Boulter, Mu Man and Josh Gallagher represented the Tanners on the field. Off the field the Tanners were well represented by many familiar faces, even an ex manager who had masterminded an embarrassingly easy play off win over Dulwich 6 years earlier.

The first half was dire, but flew by as yet another informal fans' forum developed in the little stand behind the goal. It was similar to the previous three forums in that no one knew any solid facts (or were hiding them behind secret agendas). Words were muttered whilst carefully checking who was around you......leases, car parks, lux, shares, BlueGold, roofs, toilets, etc etc. 

Finally, we bored ourselves stupid with these conversations and moved onto discussing the poor quality of the game, and how badly it needed some magic in the form of a Kadell Daniel  or a Jerome Frederico. 

Casuals had by far the better of the 2nd half but spurned numerous chances, much to the annoyance of the increasingly foul mouthed Casuals supporters who must have been on loan from Chelsea. It was a difficult decision to stay for extra time and witness another 30 minutes of dross. Penalties were a welcome relief. Dorking prevailed and the pitch was swamped by at least two of their celebrating supporters.

That just left the run to the car park to beat the queue of traffic, and thoughts returned back to the mystery announcement due on Tuesday, or maybe Wednesday, or maybe....oh for God's sake!!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Voting update

Following the recent Fans’ Forum  I submitted a letter (signed by 15 members) requesting more time between hearing the business case of River Lane and deciding on how to vote.  I am pleased to say that this has been agreed, and I include the following instructions from the club below.

"The Members’ Meeting to be held on Tuesday 9th May 2017 will provide the opportunity for members to hear the relevant information about the proposed move to River Lane and listen to the answers to questions put from the floor.

If the members are in favour of the move to River Lane, then work on this major project will need to begin with the minimum delay. However we can understand that it would be helpful for some members to have more time to consider the matters discussed, but we are not able to hold a further meeting.

The Board have therefore decided that a further period of one  week can be provided before voting. Voting slips will be offered to members at the meeting in the secret ballot and can be taken on the night, but for those who need further time, it will be acceptable for them to submit votes by post to reach my address (as Membership Secretary) by Tuesday 16th May 2017. (Details will be shown on the voting slips.)

For those unable to attend the meeting (of whom I believe you were one) I can post a voting slip on request, for return to me as explained above.

We hope that this will address the concerns of you and the other signatories to your letter. When publicising this letter please could you take the opportunity to confirm that only members will be allowed to attend the Members’ Meeting, in accordance with normal practice."

I believe this provides fans with the opportunity to hear both the case for River Lane and for staying at Fetcham Grove to be heard more fairly.  In order for fans to follow developments more clearly a Facebook page has been create:

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Fans' Forum - Part Two

Colin Ward summarises the meeting very well here.  Despite his high praise I was a little disappointed as my proposed call to arms lacked any weight as I still awaiting any official damage report regarding Fetcham Grove.

The meeting was positive, attended by over 30 supporters, and the overall message from those in attendance was we have been in a worse situation; and tell us what is wrong and we would try and fix it.  There was life in the old girl yet.

With that in mind, one of the outputs of the meeting was a letter to the Board requesting that the 9 May meeting be used for information, a chance to lay out all the facts, and hold a subsequent meeting (or period) to vote.  This was signed by 15 members, which exceeded the 10 required under the 2000 constitution.  I was told that this may not be relevant under the 2013 constitution but I believe the request to be reasonable for the Board to consider in their meeting this week.

While everyone in the meeting was in favour of exploring ways to remain at Fetcham Grove I did speak to members who felt the game was up; Fetcham Grove had been allowed to decline too far.  The one area that unites both camps is seeing both the proposal and the reasons as to why our current ground is beyond repair.

Tomorrow night may give further insight into this as Laurence and Gerald host a Q&A session in the bar at 7pm...

Tanners 3 - 2 Harlow

Both teams played their part in what could have been a dull end of season non-event.  Harlow had missed out on the play-offs and Leatherhead had missed out on relegation (barring a 20-0 loss).

In the first half, the visitors had more of an edge about them.  Just after the 15 minute mark, a ball into the box was handled and a penalty awarded which was coolly dispatched.  We had our chances, and a diabolical short corner routine, but the first half ended 1-0.

The second half brought new vigour into Leatherhead and we looked to take the advantage.  The strike that levelled it at 1-1 was either goal or fluke of the season which came from a short corner (which pains me to say), as Jerome lofted a ball into the area that beat everyone and found the back of the net.

Harlow struck back with 15 minutes to go from a well directed header which sent their 'keeper into a bout of smug celebration directed... a celebration that went on to haunt him.

First of all Nana was played in and lashed in a powerful shot into the bottom corner. 2-2.  Not so smug.  Then as we play the last minute of injury time a shot hit the hand of a defender which played in Jerry.  While he was deemed onside due to this second phase of play he must have believed he was way off (as did the defence) such was the nonchalance of his strike.  It went under the now devastated 'keeper to end our season with a 3-2 win.

Leatherhead marched off the pitch full of hugs and selfies (but no punches) and somewhere a WhatsApp group is created called "Ex-Levred" with perhaps 7-8 participants.  I doubt we will see such a talented bunch that ended our season for a long time.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Fans' forum - part 2

Now that the hard work on the pitch is almost over, our thoughts turn to affairs off of it and the important decision that lies ahead.
A group of supporters have come together to explore the feasibility of remaining at Fetcham Grove.  This is not to simply oppose or block such a move but in order that all of the costs, benefits, risks and opportunities are understood when making such an important decision.
Therefore we are hosting a supporter led meeting tomorrow, before the Harlow game, at 2pm in Leatherhead Cricket Club for all fans / members.  This is just to gage opinion and to outline what we believe we need to do over the next two weeks.
I am reliably told the bar will be open and we look forward to seeing you there.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Fans' Forum

So what did we learn?  First of all there were two elephants that were physically absent from the room but their presence felt.  Their absence meant they could not be discussed.

The plans for River Lane will be shown on 9 May.  It sounds wonderful, with £400,000 being invested.  Although it was not clear as to who would have to pay this back (Leatherhead FC, Leatherhead Youth etc.) or whether it would be a gift / donation.

What needs to be done at Fetcham Grove to stay there?  This for me was the biggest gap in procedures, the complete lack of information on this front to know what our options are.  What we are voting for.  By all accounts we need a new Board Room (no estimate provided but I am guessing £2k to £5k) and the flood lights (short term fix £6k and a long term fix £60k).  These are urgent and will be addressed before ground grading, so in many ways are not relevant to the decision as that commitment will be met and should be considered a "sunk cost".

Other work needs doing.  Club house roof (no indication how urgent), electrics (as with the roof), dressing rooms (first stated as serious, then played down), referees dressing room (initially sounded as if the ground grading depended on it, then appeared less serious), leaking roof in stand (no indication of how bad or cost to fix), the toilet block and just a feeling that Fetcham Grove was beyond repair. 

It was even suggested we could see for ourselves, just take a look around and see what needs repairing... but we can do this with almost any non-league ground; it is part of the charm.  Who hasn't laughed at the bowed roof at Walton & Hersham, enjoyed finding which radiators are warm at Harrow Borough or wondered what all that concrete is for at Wingate & Finchley?

Lastly, a thorny issue of who should be allowed to attend the meeting.  First of all, the opportunity for fans to hear the formal River Lane proposal is currently not an option.  Only members can attend and then subsequently vote.  Then, who are the members?  It was pointed out that a number of season tickets have been given to people (press officers etc.), should these be able to vote is something still being decided upon the Board.  It should be clear as the email clearly stated "It is only fully paid up members of Leatherhead Football Club as at 31 March 2017 that may attend the meeting".

Passion was running high and it could not have been a pleasant experience for the Board who called this meeting, but from the feedback I have received more information is needed...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Met Police 0 - 1 Tanners

The blood and guts (I'm referring only to the game here!) of Saturday was replaced with a completely different affair yesterday.  A win would almost certainly keep us up, while the hosts seemed initially happy for a draw so a chess like match was played out.

I was worried that perhaps we had left it all on the pitch at Fetcham Grove but a surprisingly large travelling contingent was there to rally us into the game.  Our goal came from a deft looping header from Moore, beating the stranded 'keeper.  This then caused a surge in 3/4g activity as we focussed on results elsewhere.

Second half and The Met applied the most of the pressure and had a good shout for a penalty waved away.  This may have then played on the mind of the ref who promptly awarded any decision to the home side; including having Luke Moore in a headlock and using Nana as a step ladder.

Despite being camped in our half we held firm, and rode our luck occasionally to secure the precious three points.  Technically it isn't over... but it would have to be a very bad day in someone's office for this to materialise.

The fight to stay up is over, for some fans the fight for Fetcham Grove goes on...

Monday, April 17, 2017

Travelling Tanners

Time to focus on Leatherhead again.  There is a danger we put so much into the win on Saturday that we've left nothing in the tank for today.  However, today is an even bigger game.

The Met Police just sit three points ahead of us. Come 5pm we are either both safe or we have a new relegation team to buddy up with.

Kick off at 3pm.  See you there.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Tanners 3 - 2 The World's Greatest

Anyone with the slightest piece of self-awareness would have sensed the viral video of them singing was creating a monkey for their own back, but that isn't Glenn Tamplin.  What is so great about the video is that you can see not everyone buys into this vision (the 'keeper for one which is a shame he bore the brunt of the teasing).  Therefore, the next game could prove too much for them... and that is how it turned out...

It didn't start that way though.  Billericay have assembled some names and it appeared we were in awe of them for the first five minute but a personal battle emanating from the left back position allowed us to grow in confidence.  The Lip's player of the season, Danny Murphy, started dishing out uncompromising and so confidence started spreading throughout the team.

Soon Kadell was in on the act, making their highly paid players look stupid as he danced around them.  On 8 minutes he worked some space and fired a shot that dipped over the 'keeper and found the top left corner.  The mountain was beginning to crumble.

Four minutes later, Billericay conceded a penalty through sheer arrogance.  Kadell was on the ball in the box and their No6 just ran straight through him, probably believing the ref would never give a decision against THEM.  He was wrong but they were saved when Luke Moore fired his spot kick against the post.

Billericay levelled through the only area they were better than us, upfront in the air.  A long corner found a player on the far post who headed back across goal and it was bundled in.  1-1 at half time.

Second half and Billericay needed a reaction, but it came too late.  Take Konchesky for one.  Ex-Premier league, playing a few levels beneath him, clearly happy to take the money.  Meanwhile we were simply better man for man and went on to build a healthy lead.  Jerome was unlucky when he struck the post from a break away move but Moone, who danced through three hapless tackles, made no mistake.  Firing into the bottom right.  Then Nana broke away and found the inside of the post.  3-1.

Billericay did make it interesting when they bundled in a second and the ref was desperate for an equaliser and allowed 9 minutes of extra time (after signally 6) but the whistle came to much celebration.

We were revelling in it, I admit with "You're not singing any more!" which was the least the guests deserved but then it turned sour.  A supporter offered his hand to O'Hara, someone who was on Celebrity Big Brother so must love the attention, and withdrew it as it was accepted.  It was childish, but there was a perfectly good reason for this.  It was a 14 year old boy who was guilty of only watching too much SoccerAM.  The scenes that followed can now be seen on national media.

Despite our heroics and table position, we sit only 1 (and a half) points outside the relegation zone so we need to do it all again.  Close your eyes Leatherhead, you are the mountain.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Billericay are coming

A big day in Leatherhead's history tomorrow.  Off of the pitch we discuss the future of the club and learn more about the proposed move.

On the pitch we have quite the tall order.  We have to take on the mountains, tall trees and fast winds of Billericay.  They are looking to pounce on a play-off spot having won the League Cup.  Three points is likely to keep us out of the relegation zone.

Chat off at 12.30.  Kick off at 3pm.  See you there!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Fans' forum

A Fans' Forum has been organised where Richard Brady will be available before the Billericay game in the Running Horse from 12.30 to openly discuss matters with himself and the other Directors.

This is open to all fans not just members.  I hope as many of you as possible take up the opportunity to attend so you can arrive at the May meeting adequately informed to vote.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Leiston 1 - 0 Tanners

On returning from this trip my wife asked me the inevitable question; was it worth going?  Sadly, I don't think it was...

OK, it was a new ground and the locals were welcoming but it was not a ground I would remember other than the extended no-mans land at each end of the pitch and the annoying net behind one goal.  The tea queue was a disaster and, we lost.

The first 15 minutes we gave a good account of ourselves and it was difficult to see who was looking to finish in the play-off places.  Nana bought a foul early on; nipping in front a the defender and waiting to be struck from behind.  He then later did the same trip in the box, but the contact was minimal and the ref played on BUT Nana's card was marked and he failed to get a foul for the remainder of the game.

From then on it became a stalemate.  Each club probing but seemingly happy with a point until a breakaway move saw their striker through on goal and he beat Wells into the bottom left corner.

This now leaves us with three games and the visit of Billericay on Saturday...

Friday, April 07, 2017

Travelling Tanners

While Leatherhead's board announce plans to sell their soul off the pitch, the team will endeavour to make a 6 hour round trip and get three points at high flying Leiston.

We sit just outside the relegation spots and three points would go a long way to making us safe.

Kick off at 3pm.  Directions can be found here.  See you there (?).

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Dulwich 1 - 1 Tanners

We would have taken a point before the game and certainly, judging by the comparison in emotions between supporters at the final whistle, we are happy with it now.

Going to Dulwich is not easy.  Logistically it is challenging; off the pitch, they come in number; and on it they are a handful.  We were going to have to be on the top of our game to get anything out of it... and we were.

The back four worked hard to keep their attacks to a minimum and our forwards looked threatening when we were allowed to break.

The real downside to the game was our corners.  Three came and went in utter disarray.  We insist on these short routines that need more work in practice.  I can understand why they opted for this, the Dulwich defenders were massive, but a bit of variety wouldn't go a miss.  I would have more respect had they passed it back to Wells from the corner.  It certainly would have spared Murphy a near yellow card for being forced into a rash tackle as they broke from such a set piece.

First half was end to end and I think we gave a pretty good account of ourselves.  The second half was much the same, except our hosts began turning the screw.
So it was a relief that eased the pressure by scoring a goal.  Dulwich decided to be clever at the back (where have we seen that before?) and promptly gave it away to Nana.  One on one with the 'keeper, he coolly slotted it into the far corner.  Three points would go a long way to keeping us up.

Dulwich pressed and got their equaliser through one of the strikes that can either end up in the fresh produce aisle in Sainsbury's or break the net.  Wells did everything according to the textbook on goalkeeping, a good punch sending it high and wide, but the volley came back with interest - rattling the bar as it shot in.

The ref somehow managed to find four minutes of extra time for us to sweat through but we held firm.  The final whistle blew to cheers from the handful of supporters who made the trip at our end... deathly silence at theirs.

On to Leiston Saturday then....

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Travelling Tanners

Wall blah blah... cheats blah blah... wall blah blah.  That's the Dulwich pre-match update written for them.

Leatherhead travel to Dulwich at a rather crucial time.  With our goal difference as it is we have effective a half point advantage over Ks and Burgess Hill.  To expect to stay in the league on goal difference is precarious to say the least so we need something special.

Dulwich sit just one point outside the play-offs and so would be looking at a win tonight to propel them into the knock-out stage and inevitable disappointment.

Directions can be found here.  Kick off at 7.45.  See you there.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Tenants 1 - 2 Landlords

Probably one of the worst games of the season but with one of the best results.

This was the first game in charge for the unlikeable, uncouth, former pub side manager of Billericay, Craig Edwards. He had called his new side to the ground an hour early to allow extra time to shout, swear, and threaten them.

K's are having a nightmare of late. They have lost their last 7 games and accumulated just 2 points from the last 11 games. With Craig's expletives doubtless ringing in their ears, K's started the game like startled chickens who had just spotted a fox entering the coop.......running around all over the place like their live's depended on it. 

The Tanners looked confused, reluctant to join in, hoping we could play total football instead. But we were left with no choice other than to get stuck in and play like a Sam Allardyce side rather than a Jimmy Bullard one. We got to half time goalless without too much alarm except for the length of the tea bar queue staffed by a solitary lady.

It looked likely that this game would be won with one scrappy goal. In fact it was won by 2 scrappy goals to 1 scrappy goal with our scrappy goals from the immense Jerry Jerry and the impact sub Nana. Jubilant scenes followed the final whistle after a very nervous last 5 minutes.

There isn't much time to enjoy our 3 point cushion which could very quickly evaporate as we travel to Dulwich on Tuesday. They normally run us ragged at their place in front of a 1,000 or more urban bohemians looking on smugly.

Travel Tip: Go to McDonalds before the game if you are hungry as the burgers are £8.50.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Travelling Tanners

With rumours of a side near the bottom due to drop three points, this game is massive.

Ks away is already a game to look forward too (stewards aside) but now it shifts up a gear.

Kick off at 3pm. Good luck fellas.