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!